It’s difficult to have a bad meal in Valencia, even if you tried. The city benefits from its location on the Mediterranean Sea and fertile land in the surrounding countryside, which is reflected in the quality of food.
Chefs at restaurants in Valencia have easy an access to fresh seafood, rice varieties, vegetables, and citrus fruits – core ingredients in traditional dishes, such as the world-famous paella (rice stew with meat and beans). The region also produces wines with their own Designation of Origin.
Whether you want casual or upscale dining, the city doesn’t disappoint. Here are five of the best restaurants in Valencia, serving up outstanding regional and fusion cuisine – some at Michelin level.
The waterfront restaurant in Las Arenas Beach has been making paella since 1898 and was a favorite hangout of Ernest Hemingway during his stay in Valencia. Other famous guests include Orson Welles and the Spanish Royal Family.
La Pepica maintains a throwback feel today, with traditional blue and white tiles, old photos on the walls, and simple wooden tables in the spacious dining hall. You will be teased by the scent of fresh seafood the moment you walk in and pass the open kitchen.
Besides traditional paella, sample ensalada valenciana (a mix of lettuce, tomatoes, onions and olives, sprinkled with vinegar and olive oil) and granizado de limón for dessert (Spanish iced lemonade, particularly common in Valencia).
For a taste of modern Mediterranean cuisine, head to RiFF in the trendy Ruzafa district. Run by German chef and long-time Valencia resident Bernd Knöller, the restaurant has earned one Michelin star.
Knöller’s innovative dishes are based on seasonal ingredients and change frequently. You can order à la carte or choose from two tasting menus, with or without wine pairing. The list is overseen by an expert sommelier and features mostly Spanish and German wines.
ALMA DEL TEMPLE
This below-ground, Michelin-recommended restaurant is noted not only for its upscale Mediterranean fare, but also a spectacular interior design.
Alma Del Temple sits on the foundation of the Arab wall that encircled Valencia in the 12th century. A Gothic arch from the 15th century leads to the main dining area, and a glass ceiling allows natural light into the wall room. The restaurant has been named among the world’s most beautiful ones by the renowned art book publisher Taschen.
Alma’s dishes combine influences from Spain, Italy, and France. There are two tasting and cocktail menus, plus an extensive list of local wines. For dessert, try the mango soup and finish off with Agua de Valencia (cava, orange juice, vodka and gin).
One of Valencia’s better-known gastro-bars, Cannala Bistro in Ruzafa serves up eclectic tapas in a hip atmosphere. It belongs to local chef Ricardo Camarena, who owns four restaurants in the city and has won a Michelin star three times.
The menu is a fusion of Spanish, American, and Asian dishes. In one seating, you can sample Valencian oysters, Mexican pork tacos, New York-style pastrami sandwiches, a Thai chicken salad, and Japanese pancakes. Sharing menus are available, making Cannala a great spot for casual date nights or outings with friends.
Located in the city center, award-winning Kimpira (Japanese for “golden peace”) specializes in vegetarian and vegan fare. Dishes are prepared according to the slow food philosophy, using organic ingredients and vegetables from the restaurant’s garden.
Breakfast and lunch are available six days a week Sunday through Friday, with dinner on Saturdays. Kimpira’s fusion menu features soups, burgers, pasta, and desserts sweetened with rice molasses. Try the signature Kimpiburger served with rice cheese on a buckwheat bun, and choose from a selection of organic Valencian wines.
About the Author (Author Profile)Pola Henderson is a travel writer, city explorer, expat, and event host. Traveling has been a part of her life since she was three. Pola grew up in Krakow, lived in Chicago for many years and is currently based in Paris, where she teaches Business English.
Sites That Link to this Post
- 10 Reasons to Visit Valencia, Spain - Jetting Around | June 10, 2016
- City Guide: Valencia, Spain - Jetting Around | June 13, 2016