The Spanish Restaurant That Harnesses Volcanic Heat To Cook Food

There is no shortage of incredible food around the globe. One of traveling's greatest gifts is indulging in unique restaurant experiences in different parts of the world. The Canary Islands' El Diablo restaurant turns up the heat to new levels as it uses an actual volcano (as in, real lava) to cook its guests' meals.

If this sounds like an experience you can't afford to miss, be prepared for a bit of traveling. El Diablo is located on Lanzarote and has a picture-perfect view of Timanfaya National Park, according to Atlas Obscura. Lanzarote is a part of the Canary Islands, which are technically off the coast of Africa, though Spain has ownership of the region; it takes at least two hours to fly from Spain to the island. 

Once there, however, El Diablo is a must-try, though some customers argue it's more for the experience than for the food. Eating a meal cooked over molten lava is certainly a bucket list item, but how does El Diablo do it? And is there any danger in dining so close to a volcano?

How El Diablo's volcanic cooking actually works

Before your imagination runs away from you, you should know how the process works. No, nobody is lowered into the volcano to cook with the lava. Rather, Atlas Obscura reports that the restaurant built a massive grill over the top of the volcano's opening; the grill sits about six feet above actual lava. The distance allows the 750-degree lava to create perfectly grilled meats, and the restaurant was built around the grill. It operates the same as any traditional eatery, despite having a very unique cooking process.

According to Easy Reserve, the restaurant was founded back in 1970 by Cesar Manarique and was designed by architects Eduardo Caceres and Jesus Soto. It's been open to the public ever since, though it's far from the only volcano on the island. Lanzarote actually boasts about 200 volcanoes, all between 300 years young and millions of years old, per the UK's Lanzarote website.

Is it safe to eat at El Diablo?

A restaurant that's built into a volcano might inevitably beg the question: Could the volcano erupt? Technically, yes, it still could erupt, though it's been nearly 200 years since this last happened. Atlas Obscura reports that the volcano's last eruption happened in 1824, and it's been sitting dormant ever since, as are more of the island's volcanoes. With that said, the odds of El Diablo's volcano erupting again are quite small. And, surprisingly, the Canary Islands volcanoes are used for other production methods, too, including a volcanic winery.

The restaurant's online reviews indicate that the experience is worth it, but the food receives mixed reactions. The restaurant has 3.5 stars on TripAdvisor, which indicated an average rating, with many reviews boasting about the view but adding comments describing the food as "average," "alright," or even "questionable." Of course, it could be worth eating average food to be able to tell your friends that it was cooked over molten lava.