The Casa Romantica restaurant was an institution in the Agaete Valley for years before closing down in the 1990s. It's now reopened after an extensive refurbishment and with a brand new menu.
The food is a cut above the standard 'papas con mojo and ropa vieja' you get in most Gran Canaria country restaurants. It's right on the line between cookery and cuisine; accessible yet elevated. All dishes made with local produce, much of it from the Agaete Valley and Puerto de las Nieves harbour.
We visited on a Wednesday afternoon and chose to sit out on the front terrace because it was warm and sunny. However, the spacious indoor dining rooms, decoared with local art and plenty of plants, would have been just as pleasant. Next door is a museum dedicated to Gran Canaria rural life and its local produce.
The food at Casa Romántica
The welcome glass of Los Berrezales rosé from the bodega just up the road was a lovely welcoming touch. The green almogrote (a pesto of mature goat cheese, coriander and garlic) canapes delicious.
We ordered a light lunch of rabbit gyozas in gravy, onion soup made from local Galdar onions, and baked vegetables with slow-cooked bonito flakes. For dessert an orange and chocolate montage with lemon grass and basil.
Rabbit is a classic Gran Canaria country meat much appreciated by the locals (everybody loves free food). It's not the tastiest meat and is very lean. The rich gravy did the trick in this dish with each ravioli a little parcel of umaminess.
The onion soup, with a cured cheese parcel lurking at the bottom, was rich and tasty, and beautifully presented.
The baked vegetables, cooked slow and topped with big flakes of just-cooked bonito, were superb. The veggies (local tomato, aubergine and leek) jammy and full of flavour, their richness offset by the intense fishiness of the bonito.
The chocolate dessert, a deconstructed mousse with little blobs of citrus and basil jelly, worked well.
Based on what we ate, we'll be going back ASAP to work our way through the rest of the menu, and to try the tasting menu and paired local wines (40 euros per head with wine).
All in all, the Casa Romantica is a welcome return for the Agaete Valley and a recommended stop on a tour around the island. The surrounding are beautiful and the food is quality and made from the best local ingredients.
Alex Says: One of my earliest memories is at the Casa Romántica back in the 1980s. I was there with my mother to photograph their vervet monkeys, at the time probably the only monkeys in Gran Canaria. She got too close to the bars of the cage and one of the monkeys ripped out a big handful of her hair. The monkeys have gone and my mum's hair grew back in the end!
How to get to the Casa Romántica
Located three kilometres up the Valley from Agaete town, you can't really miss the Casa Romántica. It's on the left as you drive up, tucked into it's own little side valley. If you don't drive, a taxi from Agaete town costs a few euros (taxis next to the church).
See the Google Map location.
There is plenty of parking at Casa Romántica. Book if you plan to visit at lunchtime at the weekend.