Food, glorious food is the chief reason folks are after a taste of the good life in Valencia. In recent times, the gourmet reputation of Spain’s third largest city has been elevated by the arrival of smoking hot culinary talent and a street food market, adding an extra dimension to Valencia’s buzzy personality.
A galaxy of Michelin stars has been showered on Valencia’s smarter dining spots, led by trailblazing chefs like Ricard Camarena.
A versatile talent, Camarena swapped music for Michelin stars – he has won three over his five restaurants in Valencia and Madrid. He dropped the trumpet, but is always banging the drum for local produce.
Follow the locals
Before heading off to Camarena’s eponymous restaurant and other dining spots on your culinary trip of Valencia make sure you do your research. For instance, only eat paella, which was invented around here, at lunchtime to avoid looking like a rice rube.
As for the best spot to try the famous dish, Bon Aire restaurant is the place to go. In 2018, it saw off competition from 39 restaurants in 10 countries to win the world’s best paella award.
Another option is Casa Roberto, a traditional joint where (fair warning) the chefs don’t hold back on the snails.
A drink with a twist
If you have a sweet tooth and a juvenile sense of humour, local delicacy fartons are well worth a pop, best dipped in Valencia’s beloved sweet beverage, horchata. You can drink some at Horchatería Daniel, where moustachioed surrealist Salvador Dalí, no less, reputedly liked to slurp the nutty beverage.
If you’re still peckish, swing by Mercado San Valero, Valencia’s first proper street food market. In the hip and trendy Ruzafa neighbourhood, its 10 stalls dish up everything from poke to crepes.
Cobbled floors, modern sleek fittings and a woke programme of outreach projects – and even music gigs – make this a true market leader. The main reason to visit is the food, though, proving once again that Valencia is a city with impeccable taste.