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Anyone for afternoon tea with Maria? 

Why Bettys would be so proud of this Golf del Sur restaurant.

Whether you live in Tenerife or are here as a visitor, there are times when you just long for a taste of home.

It could be a lovely piece of sponge cake or a delicate sandwich filled with egg mayonnaise, a finger of Scottish shortbread or a home-made scone with whipped cream and jam!

Add to this the chance to enjoy a walk along one of the most natural coastlines of the south of Tenerife, where the water is crystal clear and sparking blue, and you have the ingredients for a fabulous afternoon.

Fortunately, Maria Restaurant at Golf del Sur can offer exactly this and more.

We first discovered this lovely venue a few years ago and along with many other regular diners, it has remained a firm favourite. All nationalities have enjoyed wonderful evenings here, especially as the meat dishes and paella are specialities of the house.

Patricia, who comes from Argentina, has recently been joined by Sarah, who is Scottish, so they provide the perfect combination for some great food and ideas.

One part of their forward-thinking plan has been to open the restaurant in the afternoons so you can pop in for a drink, tea or coffee, cake, tapas or, as in our case, the most divine high tea we have had in years!

Adjectives like “gorgeous”, “mouth-watering” and “just beautiful” spring to mind but perhaps the best accolade was that from a diner who told Sarah: “This high tea is as good as Bettys!”

I can agree with this, having spent nearly 20 years living in Harrogate, North Yorkshire where the famous Bettys cafe is visited by hundreds of thousands of people and is a well-known institution. It’s a long time since I had enjoyed tea and cake in Bettys so it was with great anticipation that we drove down to Golf del Sur to meet up again with Patricia and Sarah for an hour or two on the sunny terrace and some pure indulgence!

Having said that, the high tea for two is just 19 euros in total and for this, you get a freshly-squeezed orange juice, your own pot of coffee or tea (brand of your choice) and an assortment of sandwiches, scones and cakes – all home-made, of course. For an extra two euros each, you can add a glass of cava. This is great value for money as in some other places, you can pay five euros for just two cups of coffee.

Our eyes opened very wide when the tiered tray of treats arrived and it was so tempting to dive right in! We decided to do it the methodical way, first enjoying the triangular sandwiches with crusts cut off and filled with cream cheese and cucumber, egg mayon-naise and ham and cheese. It reminded us of picnics of yesteryear.

Then it was on to the middle section with huge scones, one plain, the other with sultanas, which were soft and succulent inside. We had bowls of jam and cream but still had room for the top tier of gorgeous cakes which included the best tiramisu ever, a beautifully moist carrot cake, apple tart with mango foam and strawberries scattered with meringue pieces. You will find the treats change regularly so you never quite know what to expect.

I have to confess that two solitary little muffins remained but they were not lonely for long. We took them home and devoured them the next day. They were really sensational. Wait until you take a bite and find the surprises inside.

There’s something really different about enjoying tea in this way. You can chat to friends and totally relax and it’s the perfect way to start or end a walk along the coastal path outside. This would also be a great idea for a family treat, perhaps a birthday or anniversary, somewhere to take a friend as a present, a ladies’ club etc.

There are all sorts of combinations you can also try, such as a tea of your choice and a cake or an individual cream tea. Drinks aren’t expensive either. A large Dorada beer or glass of wine is two euros and a cocktail five euros. There is a “Happy Hour” from 5.30pm to 7.30pm should you wish to stay on after your afternoon visit.

One thing which should be stressed about Maria Restaurant and Lounge Bar is that it is accessible to all. Not only is it in a beautiful spot, it is attached to the prestigious Nautico Suite of private apartments and many people passing for the first time wrongly believe it is “out of their league” or that there is a dress code. Neither is true.

The restaurant, inside and out, is very chic with some wonderful table layouts and as mentioned before, a very large terrace from where you can see the ocean and hear the waves crashing on the shore. But it is not imposing or stuffy. Patricia and Sarah guarantee you are very warm and friendly welcome and casual dress is perfectly okay. After all, you wouldn’t go for a walk in a suit, would you?

You can sit inside or out, either in the large restaurant, the bar or lounge area or the little snug, whatever your choice.

It’s testament to the success of Maria that people who discover it return time and time again and the new afternoon openings are a welcome bonus. It also gives you the chance to see what else is going on, such as tempting menus for the evening (I loved the sound of venison with red fruit served with fresh vegetables and mashed potato for 15 euros, the live saxophone music and the regular barbecues).

If you would like any help whatsoever from Patricia or Sarah, do ring them on 922 72 71 87 or see www.mariarestaurantebar.com

The restaurant is closed on a Monday but otherwise opens at 3pm (with the exception of a Tuesday when it opens at 5.30pm).

To find Maria, follow the one-way system through Golf del Sur. Go past the Winter Gardens on your right, keep on past the restaurants and bars on your left and watch out for the Nautico sign on your right just after the S-bends. Turn here and you will see a little access road leading to the restaurant which is at the far end of the Nautico building with parking available. Alternatively, it is five minutes’ walk from the bottom of San Blas square, turn right along the flat side road or sea-front.