If there is one food rule in the Canary Islands it is "thou shalt not eat on the go". This civilized attitude to lunch gives you a daily opportunity to eat a cheap lunch surrounded by the noise and bustle of Canarian life.
The Spanish working day traditionally includes a three-hour lunch break where almost every shop and business closes. There is nothing to do except go home or go out for lunch. Bars and restaurants draw hungry workers in with a 'menu del dia' or set menu lunch. The menu always includes a soft drink or glass of wine, choice of starter and main course and a coffee or pudding. Even up-market restaurants lay on a decent and very reasonable menu del dia.
Places with a decent menu fill up from 13.00 onwards as groups of workers head out to gossip, argue and eat. Strategy is decided over the soup, budgets approved over coffee. The Spanish multi-task best with a fork in one hand.
Almost every Gran Canarian bar and restaurant offers a menu. Even in tourist-land you will find them in local cafes catering to Spanish workers. Look out for a chalk board propped up by the door or a whiteboard inside listing the day's choices. You will never get a good menu del dia in a restaurant with an eleven-language menu.
A typical menu consists of vegetable soup followed by grilled fish and a creme caramel, almost always for less than 10 euros.