Man (or woman to be perfectly, politically correct) does not live by ocean waves, verdant forests or dramatic mountains alone, sometimes a bit of glitter and sophistication is no bad thing. Well, don’t take the word sophistication too literally there, this is a tourist resort about which I am about to speak!
I use the expression “bright lights” literally rather than figuratively in this title. Perhaps it was visiting the Safari Center with Cruz Roja a few days before which made me vote for Thai Botanico the other night when friends suggested eating out. First, I love Thai food; second the music and lights had been very nice on the Saturday night; and third Thai Botanico belongs the the Venture Restaurant Group, which owns Bianco and newly renamed Imperial Tai-Pan in the same location and also the delightful 88 Restaurant in La Caleta, and two out of those three are among my favorite restaurants!
Despite always rambling on about how I prefer the countryside or a quiet beach, it’s fun to take a look at other sides of life, it goes without saying. I love variety in just about everything. I’m as passionate about big cities as I am about countrysides, but the stuff in between …… not so much. That said, I can understand the draw of this part of PDLA.
The lights make it feel like perpetual Christmas season, and they’re very pretty, not even that garish really (mind you, remember I come from Blackpool!), and you could preface your dinner with a stroll along the promenade known as “Geranium Walk” (which stretches right from the tip of Los Cristianos to La Caleta in Costa Adeje). It’s surprising how few people do that, and I promise you that we have sunsets here which are to-die-for.
Before Costa Adeje became the upmarket face of Tenerife there was this area, which straddles the “border” between Los Cristianos and Playa de las Americas. As well as numerous perfumerias and “duty free” shops, in the Safari Center and in the neighboring complexes you will find names like Escada, Zara and Timberland – not exactly designer, but definitely good quality brands.
What with the fairy lights, brightly-lit stores and twinkly restaurant signs it’s all very shiny and colorful, and a very pleasant place to shop before or after dinner. Lots of the shops are open very late, and there is always ample parking in the underground car park, which is, as you can imagine, a HUGE plus. It’s not free, but not too bad either.
Precisely across the road from the center’s main entrance (it’s all open and spacious, no doors or anything) the facade of La Pirámide de Arona tempts visitors and locals alike to see the marvellous Carmen Mota ballet. I wrote about that last year and this year’s show is, if anything, even better. Above the theater’s entrance a wide screen titillates with snatches from the spectacle, which I defy you to resist.
At 8, 9 and 10 pm the dramatic strains of Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyeries blast out, and the fountain at the heart of the Safari Center dances in time with the music, which changes from opera to Elvis with a flow as smooth as their choreography. I’ve seen it scores of times, so perhaps the effect is slightly dulled, but I still enjoy it. Mostly I love the atmosphere it creates.
There is no doubt this is the area to wander and choose a restaurant for a good dining experience, and with all there is to choose from, I can only tell you that I return to Tai-Pan time after time, and that’s also going to be true of Thai Botanico now. The food in both is utterly delicious. The other reason to dine in either, or in Bianco, is the service. Venture Group somehow always manage to find top-notch staff, who are helpful, polite and never without a smile. Sad to say, that isn’t true everywhere you go here, regardless of whether you stick to resort areas or local, inland venues, and it really does make a difference to your dining experience, whether it’s a posh hotel or McDonalds.
I can’t stand those restaurant reviews which go into details about “what I had” and “what Fred/my partner/the rest of the group had” – after all, you’re an adult and you can choose from a menu – so let me say, simply, that the menu is varied and ample. I can’t opine about the wine list because on this occasion I didn’t see it. We sat outside on the terrace, despite it being a very cool night. There were those gas terrace heaters dotted around, which were fine, and I wasn’t in the least cold, but I was dressed accordingly – flimsy, holiday clothes aren’t really much use on Tenerife, winter evenings.
I have only one complaint about last week’s meal and that was that they didn’t have sticky rice with mango. I’ve heard so much about this dish and was really hoping to sample it! The menu is, however, authentic, witness this write-up I found on the ‘net today. I vividly remember the restaurant at which the chef worked before, so it’s no surprise now, having read this that the food in Thai Botanico is so good!
To reassure you I will add that this post wasn’t solicited by Venture Group in any way. I didn’t mention anything about writing it when I was there either. In fact, I didn’t even take my camera. The photos were from the previous Saturday, hence no photos of the food, and the interior you can see in the links. And the nice thing is that I can say whatever I want, so I’ll just say that my last meal at Bianco was a little disappointing, so I can’t recommend it as whole-heartedly as I would the others in the group. I’ll certainly give it another try, because everywhere can have a bad night, and the staff there are equally as efficient and pleasant as in the other restaurants. Oh, and the little videos on the website don’t do any of the restaurants justice, for some reason they concentrate more on the models’ smiles than on the wonderful food!