Fine dining has become a trend in Lahore with many new restaurants opening to give their customers a true taste of fine dining. Café Tenerife, located on Jail Road, is one fine dining restaurant in Lahore that is worth visiting.

You can choose from a number of seating options. If you want a cozy, smoke free dinner indoors, sitting downstairs would be a good idea. If you’re going with a smoker (or are one yourself!) and want a cozy place while looking out the glass windows, sitting upstairs would suit you. Our personal favourite in this weather, however, is the outdoor seating arrangement that they have. The Spanish island theme of the restaurant, as suggested by its name, ensures that the trees and plants protect you from the noise and dust of the main road while ensuring that the view doesn’t get blocked.

Being a fan of outdoor seating, I prefer going to Tenerife for dinner.  The lighting in the restaurant is inclined more towards the dim side, particularly outside. If you’re sitting close to one of the spotlights near the trees, your pictures might turn out to be good. However, general pictures taken with a cell phone without the use of a flash may not turn out too good. However, the dim lighting adds to the restaurant’s ambience hence it eventually comes off as a plus point.

Coming to the food…

Tenerife offers a wide variety of food. For someone like me, choosing what I want gets slightly confuing. The staff, however, is always there to help you decide. The best thing about this part is that unlike other places, the staff here does not simply recommend the most expensive dish. Instead, you’re told about the ingredients, the flavors and spice levels (more on that later!) about every dish. Here are a few of the dishes that are strongly recommended:

Prawns with Cashew Nuts:

 This dish will make you fall in love with its prawns sitting in a thick sweet and spicy sauce, paired with garlic rice. The thing about Thai food is that it tends to be slightly spicy so if you’re not a fan of very spicy food, make sure you mention this when you place the order.

Mexican chicken:

Two grilled chicken breasts in a spicy Mexican sauce with vegetables and garlic rice is what you will be getting if you order this dish. Although this is recommended, I would advise anyone who does not like spicy food to stay away from this dish. Not only the sauce but the chicken itself tends to be slightly spicy in this dish.

Potato wrapped stuffed chicken:

This is an ideal dish for people like me who prefer their food to be les spicy. Topped onto each other like blocks on a pyramid, the pieces of chicken are stuffed with spinach, cheese, olives and mushrooms. The sauce is a mild sauce which means you don’t have to worry about the spice levels at all.

Steak sandwich:

If you’re in the mood for a sandwich, this is what you should be ordering. While it is offered in both chicken and beef, I personally liked the beef variant better. This sandwich comes with a warning though; you probably won’t be able to finish it! If you want something on the lighter side, you can always opt for their club sandwich which is a blend of chicken, turkey and cheese among other ingredients.

Chef’s special pizza:

While Tenerife is popular for many other things, its thin crust pizzas have failed to get the attention they deserve. Both the pepperoni and Chef’s special pizzas have the perfect thin crust and a generous amount of cheese. The chef’s special pizza might give off a strong seafood smell initially because of the prawns it has, but the smell goes away within minutes of getting the pizza.

Lamb chops:

Never having been a fan of mutton, I’ve always avoided lamb chops. However, tasting the lamb chops a friend ordered made me want more of them. The meat was thoroughly cooked yet it remained soft till the very end. This was also something not too spicy, thus perfect in taste. However, this is yet again a dish that cannot be finished owing to the generous quantity.

What isn’t recommended?

Chicken nine lives is the only dish that is perhaps something that shouldn’t be on the menu. The main problem with the dish is the fact that the spice level of this dish overpowers all the other flavours. If you order the dish without prior instructions to keep the spice level moderate or even low, there’s a high chance you won’t be able to finish it without burning your palette.

Post dinner recommendations…

If you’ve managed to keep space for dessert after the main course, their molten lava cake is something you should definitely try. However, since you may not have space for dessert (particularly if you’ve had the complimentary bread and have had a starter too), opting for some coffee is a wonderful idea. Their cappuccino is highly recommended and a bear or heart on your coffee will put a smile on your face like it did on mine.

Photo credits: Umer Hameed Butt

Overall rating…

The restaurant has a wonderful ambience, a spotless kitchen (guests can request to see the kitchen) and good food. The best thing about this place is that it offers dishes within a wide price range. Many of its dishes are under 1000 Rs, which means that including taxes and drinks, the per head cost can range from between 1000-3000 per head depending on whether you have a full three course meal or if you just opt for a single main course. Mint margaritas have been free on checking in since the restaurant opened up. Overall, this is one place where you get your value for money and end up enjoying a good lunch or dinner.