Potato salad and tortilla are off the menu in Canarian restaurants

Rising potato prices are causing Canary Islands' restaurants to adjust their offerings: "We're now serving dishes with rice or salad as alternatives."

The UK’s embargo on potato exports has set off a cascade of challenges for the restaurant sector in the Canary Islands, leading to inflated prices and restricted availability of this staple food. This has forced local eateries to make significant changes in their offerings, like suspending dishes such as potato salad and potato omelettes, to better utilise the limited supply of potatoes they have for mains and stews. Antonio Hernández, who manages the El Puente chicken rotisserie in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, expressed frustration over the lack of advanced warning from authorities, which could have allowed businesses to prepare for the shortage.

Potato salad and tortilla are off the menu in Canarian restaurants.

The ripple effect of this crisis extends to specialised establishments like El Nervioso in Tenerife. The restaurant, renowned for its ribs served with potatoes and pineapple, has been severely affected. Nena, the manager, reports that the scarcity of potatoes is even more troubling than the inflated costs, pointing out that they may have to consider reducing portion sizes if the situation doesn’t ameliorate soon.

In a bid to keep their kitchens running, some restaurants have started to look beyond the UK for their potato supplies. For instance, Tasca El Aljibe in Santa Cruz de Tenerife has turned to the Egyptian market. However, this hasn’t resolved the issue entirely. Carlos Guedes, the manager, described the situation as “utterly nonsensical,” highlighting how the cost per kilo has soared to four euros from just eighty cents a short while ago.


With potatoes scarce and costly, restaurants are exploring other avenues to fill the gap. Some, like the Hermanos García restaurant in Las Palmas, are offering alternatives like rice and salad to accompany their dishes. The manager, Jorge Rubio, said that rising prices across the board for vegetables force them to be creative and make “twists and turns” in their menu planning to keep prices reasonable for their target audience.

In addition to offering alternative accompaniments, some restaurants have even started using frozen potatoes for frying as a last resort. As the situation remains unresolved, the sector is on edge, hoping for a swift return to normalcy following disruptions caused by a pest that infected an entire shipment.

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