How To Eat Like a Local In Valencia
The local way of eating in Valencia is different from other parts of Spain. That’s one of the cool things about this country – the regional diversity ! Learn about the typical eating habits in this post and how to eat like a local in Valencia.
1. Have breakfast like a local
Café solo – black coffee in Valencia
Get the first shot of energy with a café solo (a shot of black coffee) or cortado, to explore the sights of the beautiful capital of Valencia or its nearby pueblos. Sit at the bar and watch how locals drink their morning coffee with a newspaper in hand.
2. Valencia’s traditional breakfast – at 10.00 am.
Olives, beer and wine – part of the traditional breakfast. Image credit: ericmonasterio
Head to one of the breakfast “temples” for the traditional Valencian breakfast almuerzo.
Get your bread roll with a stuffing of your choice, and a small glass of red (that’s how locals do it!). Or if you need another dose of caffeine – go for a café del tiempo, which is how an espresso with ice is called in the region. Otherwise, in colder months, order a carajillo or a cremaet (both have alcohol in them, and will be sure to keep you warm for a while).
Note that olives and peanuts are usually served for free along with your breakfast in this area.
Where to have the traditional Valencian breakfast:
Puerta del Mar – near the Old Town
La Pascuala – near Malvarrosa beach
Rausell – western part of the city
Bar Sena – behind the bullfighting ring
Bar Ricardo – northern part of the city
3. Have your “menú del día” like working locals do (Mon-Fri)
Seafood rice at Chamizo Restaurant in Moraira.
Working locals get a fixed price lunch menú del día at a nearby restaurant during their lunch break.
Where to eat the local menú del día in Valencia:
Menú del día is a low cost lunch consisting of 2 courses, a dessert and a drink. It’s served as of 1.30 pm until 4.00 pm, normally you can choose your the appetizer, the main dish and the dessert (or coffee) from a short list. The price ranges from 10.00 EUR to 15.00 EUR, sometimes more.
La Tasqueta del Mercat – in Ruzafa
Delicat – in the old quarter
La Murciana – Malvarrosa beach
Oslo – Vegetarian, in the city center
Habitual – in the city center, inside Mercado de Colón
Sunday is a paella day in Valencia. But if you are on vacation, why not eat a different rice every day! Try arròs a banda (seafood based rice), arròs del senyoret (the seafood is peeled and chopped up, so you don’t need to do any work), arròs negre (a black rice with squid ink) or fideuà (Valencian noodles with seafood).
4. It’s 6.00 pm – time for a sweet snack – merienda.
Horchata and fartóns.
What do Valencians eat as a snack in the afternoon?
Any sort of sweet pastry! Try the locally loved horchata with fartóns (tigernut drink with sponge like pastry to soak up the deliciousness of the horchata), coca cristina (a large and flat almond cookie) with a coffee, coca de llanda (sponge cake), buñuelos (pumpkin fritters) with hot chocolate, or any other sweet goods from the numerous local bakeries.
5. A late dinner – head to a restaurant where locals go
Dinner is eaten late in Spain. In Valencia, in warmer months dinner doesnt start until 10.00pm. Traditionally people eat tapas for dinner (numerous small portions of different dishes shared among a group of people).
If you are curious to know why this shifted schedule, get insight in my post on the late breakfast almuerzo.
Where to eat tapas for dinner in Valencia:
A platter of Iberian acorn fed ham.
Please avoid restaurants that display their food photography at the entrance. If a place is empty at 9.30 pm that usually means that it’s not very good. Try choosing a restaurant frequented by locals.
Vuelve Carolina – near the Old Town
Origen Clandestino – Mexican influence, in the Old Town
Casa Montaña – a classic spot from 1836, near the Malvarrosa beach
Coloniales Huerta – south of the city center. Superb contemporary tapas.
El Rojo – a very informal place, cheap montaditos (open faced sandwiches), beer and wine – in Ruzafa
6. Valencians go for drinks after dinner on weekends
A server pouring vermouth at Cervecería Acuarium.
There are several neighborhoods replete with bars, so that you can bar hop as long as you physically can: Cánovas, Ruzafa, El Carme, Juan Llorens areas…
Where to have drinks in Valencia:
Birra & Blues – craft beers, in the Old Town and also near the Patacona beach.
Cervecería Acuarium – classic cocktails, in the city center. Decor unchanged since 1957.
Doce Gin Club – south of the city center.
La Catrina – a rock and drinks bar in Ruzafa.
If you want to eat dinner like a local, join my tapas & wine tour in Valencia. On this guided walking tour we dont only have tasty local tapas and alcoholic beverages, but talk about the life in Valencia. You will also get advice on what to visit in Valencia depending on your interests. Make you reservation online.