Although in recent years it has spread to other islands, the guachinches are originally from the north of Tenerife. They are family-run places where home-produced wine and some dishes of the local gastronomy are sold.
The important thing is the wine
The really important thing in the guachinches is the wine. In fact, these were born out of the need to provide an outlet for the wine produced by families in the north of the island. For this purpose, a special opening permit is granted for the sale of artisan-produced wine and some food dishes to accompany it.
That is why the authentic guachinches open only during certain months of the year, when the wine runs out, they close and reopen the following year.
The guachinche experience
Although the important thing is the wine, the complete experience is to get to them and enjoy the peculiar environments in which they are located. Many of them are the lower parts of private homes or farms. The tables and chairs are recycled, so you can sit on a bench made of boards and blocks and an old industrial cable reel as a table.
Don’t expect the treatment of a restaurant, this does not mean that the treatment is bad, on the contrary. It is close, familiar and one of the best contacts you can have with the local culture and gastronomy.
The “guachinche” fashion
In recent years there has been a proliferation of restaurants that use the name “guachinche” but are not really restaurants. They are actually restaurants or grills that serve typical food of the island, but they are not guachinche. So if you find a place that looks like a restaurant that uses the name guachinche but looks like a restaurant, it is not a guachinche.
Keys to differentiate between a guachinche from a restaurant
Wine: the wine is local or at least from the area. The guachinches are usually signposted with handmade signs on which you can read “Wine for sale” and arrows as directions.
The glass: in the guachinches they will never give you a glass for the wine. It is rather a small glass that is also often used for coffee.
Drinks and dessert: In addition to wine, the authentic guachinche can only sell water and at most 7-up. You won’t find desserts either, as this is not allowed due to the type of activity.
Plates: They usually have few plates available, no more than 6. In fact, there are some that specialize in specific dishes, such as salted fish or jareas.
Location: The real ones are in garages, vegetable gardens, old cellars or areas fitted out with reeds or other recycled materials. Sometimes it is not easy to reach them if you do not know their exact location.
Although the dishes vary, we recommend some dishes that are common to find and that will surely not leave you indifferent:
Salted fish: salted boiled fish served with mojos or with oil and green pepper. Usually accompanied by wrinkled potatoes.
Carne fiesta: fried or sautéed pork with adobo or garlic and served with french fries and lemon.
Ropa vieja: chickpea stew with sofrito, beef and chicken. It is served with french fries, although they can also be integrated in the dish. In some places it is slightly spicy.
Jareas: it is not so common to find them but if you have the opportunity to try them, do not hesitate. It is fish that has been previously salted and dried and then grilled. It is served with mojo and wrinkled potatoes.
Escaldón: gofio mixed with broth and served with mojo, cheese and red or white onion. The broth depends on the place, but it is usually vegetable broth and white meat or pork rinds are added.
Pineapple stew: Although it may not seem like it is a summer dish, but we extend it all year round because it is delicious! It is chicken, salted pork ribs, onion and pineapple millo (corn on the cob) stew. It is accompanied by stewed potatoes and green mojo or coriander mojo. It is undoubtedly one of the
of Tenerife’s gastronomy.
If you visit the island and want to visit one of these native guachinches you have to go to the north of Tenerife, specifically to La Matanza, La Victoria, Santa Ursula or La Orotava, these are the municipalities where the guachinches originate. You can always count on the locals to advise you on their favorite.
If you can’t visit one of the real ones because of dates, you can go to other restaurants where they also serve local wine and typical food that is also very good, so you have an excuse to return to the island.