Although the Canary Islands ( fly the Spanish flag, their remote location, some 1700km from the mainland, has ensured that the cuisine holds some pleasant surprises for foodies. The use of locally grown ingredients and recipes that have been passed down through generations means that you’ll find dishes to enjoy on all seven islands that you won’t find anywhere else.

Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the Canaries offer numerous opportunities to savour fresh fish, including vieja which can only be found in the surrounding shallow waters of the Atlantic Ocean. High mountains and green valleys are a good source of pork, goat and rabbit meat which are perfect for hearty stews, while the rich volcanic soil and year-round warm climate are perfect for growing vegetables and tropical fruit of exceptional quality.


There are many dishes that are common to all the Canary Islands but are unique to them. Perhaps the most typical, and one that is quite simply delicious, is mojo. This sauce can be served with a large number of dishes, but the most popular is papas arrugadas – wrinkled potatoes. Small potatoes are boiled in very salty water in their jackets. Mojo comes in two highly contrasting flavours which are easily distinguished by their colour. Basic mojo is made by combining olive oil, salt garlic and cumin. Mojo picón gets its red hue and distinctive bite from the addition of red peppers and chillies, while its green counterpart, mojo verde, is infused with puréed fresh coriander leaves. Both sauces are traditionally served with papas arrugadas, but they also make a welcome flavour boost when drizzled on fish or char-grilled meat.


Inherited from the Guanches – the islands’ indigenous race – gofio is a flour-like substance made by roasting ground maize and wheat. Its nutty flavour is delightful. Once the flour is mixed with water or milk it can be rolled into balls or cylinders and baked to make a type of bread. Gofio is a versatile ingredient that is often added to soups, stews, sauces and even desserts. It’s an important part of the locals’ diet, so make sure you try it.

All these dishes are readily available in most restaurants. In La Bellota Mesón del Valle ( in Tenerife you’ll find traditional Canary Island flavours served with a modern twist.

Across on Gran Canaria one of the best places to enjoy high-end local cuisine is Restaurante Nelson ( The coastal setting and elegant interior are where to tuck into a bowl of gofio balls served with a rich seafood broth. Continue the meal with roast pork knuckle served with papas and a selection of mojo sauces.

On Lanzarote, the cosy restaurant Casa Roja ( sits on the water’s edge in the pretty town of Puerto del Carmen. Make sure you try the seaweed and tomato salad, black paella with squid ink and grilled vieja which comes served with a selection of mojo sauces on the side.