I dined at El Molino Blanco for nine of the eleven evenings I spent recently in Tenerife (the two 'missing' ones were caused by the business for which I was on the island in the first place). Why always the same one? Because, once an ideal situation is experienced, why would one wish to look elsewhere?
Quite possibly because I dined alone and had become an (albeit temporary) regular, the owner, Russel (only one 'l', apparently), spent some time chatting to me. He was quite open about the fact that he was looking for feedback and critiques, having taken over the restaurant recently (last September, I believe) and needed to know just what could be improved. I found this difficult to credit since I thought that just about everything was pretty-near perfect as it was. He told me about this site (and this will be the first time I've done anything like this) and that there were some adverse comments on it that he found difficult to understand since there'd been no complaints at the time. One of the things that quite clearly 'bugged' him was comments from those who'd dined there before he took over, basically complaining that there were no longer free meals and/or drinks. He told me that this had been a regular occurrence because the food had been quite poor and that the first things he'd done were to upgrade the kitchen, change the chefs and buy the best raw materials he could. I can certainly vouch for the latter - the quality of the steaks I ate was superb (and no, I'm not unaccustomed to eating well. I've stayed at, and eaten in, some rather decent hotels and restaurants - The Royal Garden in Kensington [which also had a violinist at your table]; I don't recall The Skean Dhu in Aberdeen as being too shabby; and dining in Dubai and Abu Dhabi could be absolutely superb. I also ate once in a 'Chinese' Chinese restaurant in Kuala Belait in Brunei, but that was strictly for the experience! Overall, a quarter century of travelling has shown me just how good food can be).
Anyway, after being told about some apparent dissatisfaction, I paid more attention than I otherwise would to the other customers. From what I observed, the staff were friendly, helpful and efficient to everyone and not just to me. I couldn't help but notice that all plates were empty when taken from the tables which couldn't be merely a case of, "at this price, I'm leaving nothing!" since, if food is inedible, cost is not an issue. The surroundings are nothing less than delightful and there's live music every evening (and I mean 'music', not karaoke or muzak) to which the clientele clearly enjoy dancing (although I thought a would-be Gypsy Queen's display alongside the Hungarian violinist somewhat bizzare!). Many customers (but especially Russian ones, from what I saw) enjoy taking a tour around the establishment with their cameras. There was always laughter to be heard, and I remember talking to three thirty-something UK ladies as they departed, each clutching their rose (every lady is presented with one by the singer) who obviously thought they'd just spent one of the most enjoyable nights of their lives.
So. Pros: just about everything. Cons: (and this is quibbling) the 'Magret of Duck' wasn't cooked in the manner that I'd have done it (but I could have always have asked first) - it was so bad, in fact, that, after removing the fat, I was able only to eat all the meat (and that was the only time that there was anything on my plate when it was taken away). Because my experience was compressed into a short span, I couldn't but notice that the vegetables were the same every night. However, they were certainly fresh and freshly prepared (and still a little 'al dente' in fact). As Russel explained to me, vegetables with meals aren't a regular item in the Canaries and what they are depends on what is available. Another minor quibble would be that there was little description of each dish apart from its name (but the staff could always tell me what to expect). I mentioned this and was informed that a new menu is being prepared, with minor additions and subtractions, and that there would be descriptions of the dishes.
Recommendations? I can say, quite honestly, that I enjoyed everything I had (including that duck!). Amongst many main courses, the steak is superb - but so are the various fish dishes!; desserts? - the pancake is delicious (filled with a cranberry and cream purée) and I had the strawberries twice (but with a dash of Cointreau and without the green peppers, which didn't seem to trouble the staff at all). My main recommendation would be to ignore the adverse criticisms on this site and sample the place for yourselves. I never went in the afternoon, but I've checked the website and they're open from one pm and there's a 20% discount until five pm (it says there). So, if you're unsure, I would suggest trying it out one afternoon near the beginning of your trip. If you're even a little like me, you'll want to visit it more than once, rather than go on your final evening 'as a treat' and then wish you'd gone more than once. From what I saw, booking in advance would definitely seem to be a good idea - I doubt that anyone was ever turned away but those who'd booked obviously had a preference to be close to the stage and dance floor. Price? Well, you get what you pay for, and all that - and I've certainly paid more for very much less (and I'm not known to be uncomplaining if I feel the situation merits it) but I never felt that the price was exorbitant. Everything about EL Molino Blanco suggests it's aimed at adults (it's definitely not any sort of McDonalds!) but all the children I saw there (and there were several) seemed to be content (and blessedly quiet!).
Reading back the above, I could be accused of being rather 'gushing' but, after seeing what others had written, I felt someone should endeavour to set straight the record. Was I bribed? If all-round excellence can be considered as bribery, then I was 'bribed' - and there again, I was given a (rather large) Amoretto 'on the house' on my final two visits!
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