Updated: Sep 27, 2019
Finally, I present you with a top 5 list of my favourite eats in Valencia over my short 3-day stay there recently. Spain is hands down one of my favourite countries to visit, simply because of the food culture. I think I ate my weight and more as I had around 3-4 meals per day - but how can you not with all the tapas, pinchos and paella restaurants everywhere?!
1. Casa Montaña
Good for: Tapas
Tel: +34 963 67 23 14
Address: Carrer de Josep Benlliure, 69, 46011 València, Spain
Casa Montana was the very last restaurant we visited on a whim before heading to the airport, but it turned out to be our favourite all-round culinary experience from the entire trip. Despite not having any of Valencia's famed paellas here, Casa Montana instead offers traditional small dishes that each arrive more delicious than the last! Pictured above are just a few of the dishes we had, including perfectly brined Valencia Olives, Padron Peppers seasoned only with big flaky sea salt, Patatas Bravas like I've never had them before - simply potatoes with a garlic-mayo aioli and ketchup and SO good, and crispy fried sardines with freshly squeezed lemon. Be sure to order the marinated tuna and the fresh, cold tomato sopa (soup) as well. Trust me, you won't regret it. Also, make a reservation so you can sit at one of the tables in the back of the restaurant. Otherwise, you'll end up at the crowded bar at the front.
2. Restaurante Navarro
Good for: Paella
Tel: +34 963 52 96 23
Address: Carrer de l'Arquebisbe Mayoral, 5, 46002 València, Spain
I booked this restaurant way in advance thanks to a recommendation by someone on TripAdvisor, and I'm glad I did! The restaurant filled up pretty much as soon as it opened at 1:30pm for lunch (and that's amazing considering there are 2 floors of indoor seating + terrace space), and we settled into our terrace seats for the famous Paella Valencia (by pre-order only!). The traditional one is made with the intriguing ingredients of rabbit, chicken, snails and vegetables, and I was stoked to give it a try! Verdict was very good - the paella was boldly flavoured, the meat & snails complementary, and the texture of the rice perfect - but I would have loved more crunchy burnt bits at the bottom.
3. Raco del Turia Good for: Paella
Tel: +34 963 95 15 25
Address: Carrer de Ciscar, 10, 46005 València, Spain
This restaurant was recommended by The Westin's helpful concierge for our first night in Valencia. We wanted somewhere we could go that very night with good paella and without a reservation - and family-run restaurant Raco del Turia was it. We ordered the seafood paella (pictured above) and it was one of the best things I'd ever eaten! I remember thinking it odd that there would be cod as one of the paella ingredients, but it worked out really well. Apparently, cod is a very common ingredient in Valencian recipes. The paella itself is a very thin layer on a big pan, so the al-dente rice was the perfect amount for just us two.
Good for: Pinchos Bar (open 24 hrs)
Tel: +34 963 91 06 68 Address: Carrer de Sant Vicent Màrtir, 6, 46002 València, Spain
My brother and I ate so much on this trip that we almost got sick towards the end - mostly due to the abundance of open-air pinchos & tapas bars practically lined up along the streets. It's so hard to resist going in when you see people eating such good-looking food in plain view. We really liked Sagardi, which displayed a bar of small bites or "pinchos", many of which were savoury variations of meats and vegetables on crusty bread. It's basically like a buffet, but you get charged by the number of toothpicks that are left on your plate at the end. Servers also come around with 'hot' dishes prepared fresh from the kitchen, like the famous tortilla de patatas (medium-rare potato omelette). All in all, a relaxing place to while away an afternoon and people watch!
5. Jamon Del Medio
Good for: Quick coffee/wine & tapas
Tel: +34 963 44 98 85
Address: Avenida Navarro Reverter 6, 46004 Valencia, Spain
I love it when you accidentally stumble upon a total gem of an eatery- but then again it's not so hard in the culinary treasure trove that is Spain. My brother and I stopped for one of our all-too-frequent coffee breaks at the first place we thought would probably serve up some good jamon & coffee (I know, weird combo but we dug it) - which turned out to be Jamon Del Medio. Quintessential European set-up, with the larger part of the restaurant being set up under a tent in the open air. I ordered huevos rotos (of course, how could I not if I see it on the menu!) and this incredibly meaty octopus with paprika & potato. The huevos rotos were indulgent perfection, with a nice layer of savoury potatoes underneath the egg. The octopus was smoky, tender and the potatoes nicely crisp. We didn't even end up getting jamon.
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