The origins of La Hierbita date back 120 years. So it says on a plaque on its facade in Calle Imeldo Seris.
Its double story mansion with all its flair goes back to the so called Golden era of the Tenerife capital Santa Cruz. By the way, those were also the days when drinking Espresso coffee became the rage.
Indeed, this humble place in town has a history.
Then, more and more steamships that were not big yet in those days came to Tenerife. They were for ever running out of coal for their steam engines. Santa Cruz had it. More and more bananas left for Liverpool, Glasgow and London as a result of these stop overs. British goods and tourists arrived from England. In Santa Cruz, shops and even a bank became part of a new way of life. Before, only an insignificant fishing trade was worth to be mentioned. A Tenerife Bourgeoisie a Middle class settled in the town's central old quarters. Those were La Noria, Las Mimosas the Quartier of luxury properties and the zone of Calle Clavel the quarters of the restaurant of this article. And so it happened that La Hierbita became the first to receive a restaurant business license.
Good local wines and all kinds of other beverages are available. There is also an olden days bar.
All sorts of meat, poultry, seafood, starters and desserts are there to choose from. Depicted below are two dishes a friend and I ordered, as the restaurant name hints at small herbs.
I have this friend who is crazy about Bacalao the classic Cod. I only eat that fish at Taberna Ramón on the Santa Cruz Rambla where they are likely to boil it many times in milk to destroy the extreme salty taste.
Last Christmas in 2016, a friend and I had Carne de Fiesta a Pork dish. It was part of the special on that day. Next year, I will take along my Paprika spice to give to the Chef. I only like Pork seasoned with that and in my case a tiny bit of salt, too. However, a different lunch may be on offer next time. Expect vegetables on the side as simple home cooking, but appetizing.
Both the dry, well matured Cheese as well as the Aubergine starters were divine. An excellent bottle of semi dry white Tajinaste DO La Orotava had been recommended to us. We had an extra plate of grilled vegetables which I would skip next time.
We were served by one of the sons of the owner who was fast and attentive, although the vintage restaurant was packed with people.
All waiters were rushing about like busy bees. At some stage the chef Juan Prieto came to our table.
Please note that almost all restaurants of the Santa Cruz Capital close on main public holidays, except for some in tourist areas, such as la Noria. Corte Ingles and malls that want to sell for Christmas are also exceptions.
Imagine a place to eat where poets start to dream. Displayed are historical keys that could be from the old Santa Cruz castle. A Tamarco the cape of the former Guanche of 500 years ago hangs next to them. An old radio from last century sits on a shelve. A milk can that would be preferred to any plastic is next to it. And there is more, much more.
Street Carnival is also celebrated in the location of the Hierbita. Then, there are occasional Vintage Antique markets the so called Rastrillos Clavel.
Special Thursday and Sunday events round it off, so far.
Not to forget is that Teatro Güimera the oldest Theater of the Canary Islands is just around the corner.
Nevertheless, more needs to be done to bring even more life back into
this neighborhood. What's interesting is that the community is not
asking for financial report.
Needless to say, prices had gone up in summer 2023 due to the massive inflation in Spain and all of Europe. Nevertheless, many guests were still seated having a mid-afternoon lunch there. I was in the company of two friends. They were content with their meals and above all with the attentive waiters. The food was fresh and perfect except for a slightly tough Pechuga de pollo which translates to chicken breast. It was topped with a delicious mushroom sauce, by the way. The quantities were as generous as before. I had grilled half raw fresh Tuna fish that was not cheap but great value for money. It was served with real Wrinkle Potatoes and a piece of red Pepper on the side. Everything was very delicious and so was the grandmother dessert Postre de la Abuela.
The price for the two servings in Summer of 2023 amounted to roughly Euro 25 together with wine of the house as well as bread on the side. There are more economic dishes, though.
The only incidents that disturbed our
lunch party were three Amphibian airplanes. They were flying very low with an ear-shattering noise and returning four times to the
port tanking water while we were eating. They did so in order to extinguish wildfires which may have been near Tacoronte or near the Aguamansa Caldera. These planes of Russian origin were master pieces of engineering and were the only three owned by Spain. They don't need a runway to touch down into water.
Happy? Of course, generous portions of food that breaks no bank satisfied the great hunger of the young.
The huge mansion with doors in two streets doesn't only have nooks and crannies. It also has a first floor seating area that is arranged around an inside patio.
Juan Prieto has been the owner of its family business for many decades. At least four of his children contribute actively, now. Needless to say is that this helps to provide an optimum service.
Tourists who love the ancient restaurant at the antique Casco de Clavel, always also like what the nearby party street by the oldest church of Santa Cruz has in stock.
Hot tip: Anybody who is cash strapped? There is a tiny pedestrian street terrace bar and take-away to the left of the Hierbita Vintage place. The humble set-up serves good Italian home-made food as daily menus at very economical prices. It was closed for summer holidays and opened again at the end of August of 2023.
Hierbita Casa de Comida's Facebook for all events that are coming up at the Zona Clavel here.
Tenerife Christmas eve restaurants that are also open on December 31 find here
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