On Lanzarote, one of the Spanish Canary Islands, a restaurant has found an ingenious and dramatic source of sustainable cooking heat: they grill over a volcano. If this prompts images of a lava spewing disaster zone rather than a casual dining experience, fear not. The volcano, which last erupted in 1824, gently bubbles away six feet below the ground of El Diablo, cooking traditional Canarian fare at a steady 400 degrees Celsius.
Photo © Wikimedia user amargeddon6
The grilling takes place on a circular rack placed over a large floor-level pit. At first glance the pit resembles a traditional well – until one peers down to see jagged volcanic rock and a pool of bubbling, smouldering liquid below.
El Diablo opened its doors in 1970, a project of late artist and architect César Manrique in collaboration with architects Eduardo Caceres and Jesus Soto. The quirky stone and glass walled building sits on volcanic rock within Timanfaya National Park. Diners are invited to enjoy not only the spectacle of volcano seared cuisine, but also dramatic views of black lava fields, and an eccentric interior which includes a live tree growing through the center of the dining room.
While the Montañas del Fuego, or Fire Mountains, on which the restaurant sits are believed to have been formed from a volcanic eruption, Manrique faced unusual problems in constructing the restaurant on the picturesque, naturally heated location. With volcanic heat so close to the surface, Manrique was unable to dig foundations for the structure, and instead laid nine layers of basalt rock to support the restaurant.
The restaurant is open for tours of the volcano grill, and for 50 euros you can enjoy a three course meal of volcanically seared specialties.
Lead image © Wikimedia User KaHe