Food for the body, mind, and soul at La Finca del Arte

Sometimes it’s easy to miss what’s just under, or above your nose, Chayofa, just 5 minutes up above Los Cristianos, is a lovely village that I have barely scratched the surface of. A Sunday dinner invite proved to be the perfect chance to rise above the heat of the tourist south of Tenerife, and feel the cool air whilst checking out la Finca del Arte, bistro and art gallery.

Set on an old banana plantation, heavily shaded and with a serene peace, La Finca del Arte has a big reputation for good food and artistic expression through sculpture, paintings and live music. Thursday nights are guitar nights with a South American twang, but Sunday afternoons mean live jazz and a barbecue brunch on the leafy terrace that looks down on the large garden with its stage set against Montaña Guaza in the distance.

Holding back my hunger, I explored in the converted barn that houses a large collection of art from local based artists, and also has a stylish restaurant for daily meals from 11am to 10pm. The paintings and sculptures are all for sale, in various sizes from small to where did that wall go. I was fortunate to be introduced to Juan Carlos Martin Diaz, a sculptor, originally from Salamanca, who moved to Tenerife in 1992. As he flicked through his photo collection of his works, I was staggered by the quality and diversity, and pleased to recognise a few familiar sights from my travels, such as the statue of Hermano Pedro in Vilaflor and a fountain from Guimar. Many people have walked by one of his more recent works every day by the old beach of Los Cristianos, the small shrine to the Virgen del Carmen is a scaled down model of a full size statue sunk in the harbour to bless fishermen.

The gallery was no place for my rumbling stomach, so I joined my friends outside and we ordered our food, I could see and smell my meat cooking on the barbecue, and soon dived into my large plate of chicken, sausages, steak and pork ribs, backed up with salad and potatoes. By now the tables were filling up nicely, in the shade and down beyond the bar in the sun drenched garden, as the musicians struck up, keeping a relaxed tempo going as food and drink were enjoyed. Sunday afternoon is also popular with local singers who come along to jam with the house band, it’s pretty well open mike to all.

Wandering round, fully stuffed, I found some partly hidden sculptures as well as a current banana plantation struggling along next door. Even a short drive up from Los Cristianos, the drop in temperature is noticeable and welcome during such a strong heatwave, but the relaxed setting, good food and soothing music, all go to make this a special place to visit. La Finca del Arte is closed on Mondays, otherwise pop in from 11am to 11pm any day. To see what special events are coming up, check the website.