Are you interested to know what and where to eat in València? Well, you’re in the right place…and if you’re going to or are in València now, you’re in an even better place!
València oozes with sumptuous food and drink produced from the locally grown crops of the region – it is a culinary delight. Local dishes include fartons; soft, sweet sugar-glazed cakes dipped in horchata; the local drink made from tiger nuts and Valèncian paella. Fancy a refreshing alcoholic tipple? Order an Agua de València cocktail which was first created in Café Madrid in 1959. It’s made with champagne or cava, fresh (Valèncian) orange juice, vodka and/or gin. Check out El Altaseis for an evening sample (or two!).
Paella originated in Spain and many believe it’s Spain’s national dish. Actually, it originated from the area around the Albufera lagoon, just outside of València and so really is València’s local dish. Despite many takes on the paella, the original Valèncian recipe consists of white rice, green beans, chicken, duck and rabbit, white beans and snails. Make you sure find some!
Every day, we wiled away the afternoons in little squares enjoying three course menú del día (menu of the day) and drinking glasses of wine. While the long balmy evenings were spent wandering between different tapas bars, sampling the Rioja and a few of their tapas dishes before moving on to the next.
We really loved eating in València and are excited to share some of our favourite foods and restaurants we discovered in this beautiful city so here’s what and where eat in València
The pace of València is relaxed and so we opted for rather more sedate, chilled long lunches rather than our normal smash and grab situation. Spanish food culture is such that lunch is the most important meal of the day and generally is larger, often multi-coursed. Choosing the menú del día (menu of the day) is a great way to experience the culture, amazing food and relaxed ambience all in one sitting. Some lazy long lunch places we found and liked are below.
Set to the back of a little square in the heart of the old town is Cafe Infanta with their outside tables sitting in the shade of some trees. This was our debut ‘long lazy lunch’ in the city and we loved it. It was €14.95 for the menú del día; three courses including a drink and bread.
Maria Mendiles is another alfresco lunch spot but a little more budgety and a little less long and lazy compared to others we’d eaten at. Plus, we were surrounded by a few more English voices…
€9.95 for the menú del día including three courses, a drink, bread and coffee.
What a little local gem! Cafe Museu is set next to the Centre del Carme and is very much a local bar that offers occasional food, mainly at lunchtimes. They cook a huge pan of amazingly tasty paella on Sundays and offer it for €5.80 a portion.
The Castilla y León vino tinto (red wine) for €2.50 a glass is light, smooth and moorish. It’s great to sit there of an afternoon or for pre-dinner drinks.
Restaurants on the way to Es Saler beach
Restaurante Genuina – seemingly a little local restaurant a few roads back from Playa can Pinedo. The menu and local reviews looked great.
Alquería de la Mar – this is a highly popular restaurant with a gorgeous shaded terrace – book in advance!
Arroceria L’Estibador – set on Playa de la Dunas de Pinedo, beautiful views into the ocean…and the nudist beach. We managed to squeeze onto a table early Saturday lunch time but would recommend booking in advance.
Taberna El Olivo
We luckily stumbled upon Taberna El Olivo ambling through Barrio del Carmen on our first day. Enjoy incredibly tasty and local tapas while sat under an olive tree.
We couldn’t get enough of the place and came here for tapas and drinks three times during our four night stay, returning not only for the great food but the electric atmosphere and friendly staff. Every time we visited, the restaurant was busy and buzzing with locals.
The Rioja was incredibly smooth and at €2.20 a glass, it was hard to turn down. Our two favourite dishes were morcilla de burgos and carne con padron, both of which were ordered again after just one bite.
If we’re lucky enough to return to València, this is the first place we’ll be making a bee-line for.
Take this as a heads up from us – late on a Saturday night in the summertime in the old town is not the best time to be on the prowl for dinner without a reservation. We’re sometimes a little too confident for our own good and thought we’d be able to squeeze in somewhere.
We walked to a bunch of places we’d spotted and earmarked during the day and they were all full. After 45 minutes of ambling around with growling tummies we took a random left down an alley we’d not been before and struck GOLD! We’d discovered iO, a little restaurant set in a low-lit square and as we turned the corner a couple left a table – boom, we’re in!
The food was incredible and very reasonably priced. After ordering two dishes – beef carpaccio with grilled aubergine and pork sausages in honey – somehow at 11pm we thought we needed two more. This time, salad “Tutti-plen” and king prawns coconut coated and filo wrapped. Of course desert was required just before midnight and is something we still salivate over – chocolate brownie with caramel ice-cream and warm chocolate. The wine was sensational, the atmosphere buzzy and service fantastic. Do not even take time to consider it. Just. Do. It.
We hope you love eating in València as much as we did – let us know if you find any hidden gems or food you loved!