A taste of traditions and times gone by at Guachinche Bibi
With so many wine and dine options available across Tenerife, it’s nice to go back to your roots and have a taste of the island’s heritage.
“Guachinche” is the name given to traditional restaurants in the Canary Islands which usually specialise in barbecued meat and simple home-made produce and wine. Often, the term is used to apply to those establishments which only operate for a few months of the year and might well be set up in the front rooms or garages of family homes.
This isn’t the case with Guachinche Donde Bibi which has big, spacious and permament premises, one in the south at Las Zocas, San Miguel de Abona and the other in the north, in El Tablero, Santa Cruz.
What you will find, however, are unpretentious dishes extolling the virtues of unfussy cuisine and at incredible prices. It’s hard to believe but from Monday to Friday, you can enjoy chicken and chips for just two euros!
This is the whole essence of a guachinche. Presenting the diner with a plate of food which wouldn’t have gone amiss in the original days of the guachinches, the first race of the Canary Islands.
This includes huge rations of meat, whether pork chops, beef or chicken, tossed salads, Canary potatoes or chips, chunks of bread and mojo sauces. Throw in some traditional desserts and delicacies from across the archipelago, such as La Palma honey, and you really do feel you have gone back in time.
Today’s guachinche restaurants do, of course, have to be spotless and such is the case at Bibi.
We popped in to the San Miguel restaurant to enjoy a sample of what they have to offer and found a massive open-plan dining room full of booths with benches or large tables with chairs. We sat next to one booth which would have catered for at least a dozen people and had a central spinning circle to make the sharing of food a pleasure.
This would be an ideal place for a big party to come to as the total bill would not cost a fortune. We also spotted high chairs so all ages are welcome and catered for.
There’s also a small stage area for traditional Spanish singers though we ate our meal to the background of traditional taped music.
On our visit, the diners were most Spanish but Bibi attracts all nationalities, including those who would like to try a different experience for a change.
You might be advised to take a little Spanish/English dictionary with you so you can understand the items on the menu. There were dishes we had never heard of, despite being in Tenerife for nine years, such as fabada, garbanzas and chistorras (rich bean stew, chickpeas and a type of sausage). It’s a Spanish lesson in itself!
Other choices are easier to understand, such as ensa-lada (salad), salchicas (sausages), pollo (chicken), pulpo (octopus), carne fiesta (meat feast) and atun a la plancha (tuna). Only one of the dishes is more than ten euros ( the barbecue mix for 14 euros); otherwise, everything ranges from 1.50 euros upwards.
You can mix and match, with full or half portions, have bits and pieces to share, tapas style, or have your own full plate. The special of the day of pork chops is 7.50 euros.
A litre of house wine is just eight euros and a large beer 2.10 euros so what you save on the food, you won’t get stung for on the drinks.
We started with “queso asado con mojo y miel” (five euros) which is goat’s cheese drizzled with La Pala honey and topped with green mojo sauce. This was delicious.
My dining partner chose the massive portion of chicken and chips, with salad, for six euros whilst I had the ten euro pork chop option. You get a huge helping of meat so it’s great for big appetites. You do get knives and forks but picking up your meat to tear away at the bone would not be out of place.
We had already spotted the home-made desserts in a display cabinet so finished off with a quessilo with cream and more Palma honey (tasting similar to a creme caramel).
To work off the excesses, we had a look round the premises and found a separate bar area with a pool table and darts board and outside, another very large, more open room to enjoy the sun under shade. This has a children’s play area in it.
There is a very large car-park so no problem with finding a space and the ladies and gents’ facilities are also spacious and well-kept.
The staff are very pleasant, though little English is spoken, and the service quick and attentive.
This is a restaurant to come to if you want to spread your horizons, perhaps visit the nearby town of San Miguel and to say you have tried the other side of Tenerife away from the commercialised areas.
The Las Zocas restaurant is about ten minutes from Las Chafiras. You just drive up the hill towards San Miguel de Abona and watch out for the old Motocross premises on your right hand side. Bibi is about three minutes from this, again on the right, as you turn sharp into Las Zocas at a little junction and sharp right again.
Do see their Facebook site for directions to Bibi 1 or Bibi 2.
GUACHINCHE BIBI I
Cruce los cuatro caminos, C/ Capuchina, 2B, El Tablero
For reservations call: 922 076 000 / 661 659 111
GUACHINCHE BIBI II
At El romar Castle, Ctra Los Abrigos 173, Las Zocas
For reservations call: 922 103 015