7 Delicious Food Experiences In Valencia
Looking for a unique food experience in Valencia? Valencia, being Europe’s garden, is a land of reputable quality produce and is paella’s birthplace. Enjoy an authentic food experience – here are 7 mouth-watering ideas!
This blog post was originally posted on March 22, 2017 and updated on May 5th, 2017.
1. Rustic Food Experience – Eel Stew On The Lake
A plate of all i pebre. Image source: dasoaz
All i pebre [prounounced as “eye-e-peh-breh”] literally means “garlic & pepper”.
This is a humble Valencian sauce made from just 2 ingredients: roasted in olive oil garlic and spicy powdered paprika pepper. On Lake Albufera this sauce is traditionally used to accompany cooked eel (and most often than not – potatoes).
This simple yet delicious dish was born, just like the world famous paella, on the shores of Lake Albufera. So no wonder that foodies will seek the most authentic all i pebre in one of the villages surrounding the lake: El Saler, El Palmar, Silla, Catarroja, Sollana, Sueca.
All i pebre can be found at some restaurants in the city, too. But why not take a short ride and enjoy a rustic food experience by the lake?
2. The Ultimate Foodie Experience – Tour The Central Market
Spanish cured ham stall at the market. Irresistible!
No food experience in Valencia would be complete without a visit to the Central Market. This is where Spanish moms get their fresh ingredients to cook up a family feast (an everyday kinda thing!).
If you love food, you absolutely must visit the market. It is the largest one in Europe that’s filled to the brim with choice!
There are all kinds of ingredients – this is the best example of products used in the cuisine of Valencia. Tonnes of fruit and vegetables from the nearby gardens and orchards. Cured ham, cheeses… A huge fresh seafood section! Local wines and beers from all over the world…
And! An amazing tapas bar, where fresh produce is transformed into delicious small plates. At Central Bar you can enjoy a different breakfast or lunch every day!
Opening hours: Monday-Saturday, from 7 am until 3 pm. Closed on Sunday and bank holidays.
3. An Authentic Tapas Experience – An Insider’s Food Tour
Guests on my Hidden Gems, Wine & Tapas Tour.
When you visit a foreign country, one of the challenges is without a doubt coming across an authentic food experience.
Popular destinations’ old towns are usually plagued with tourist-oriented restaurants, and Valencia is no exception. For an optimal food experience look for places frequented by locals!
One of the reasons to take my tapas tour is that I take guests on a 3.5 hour walking and eating adventure off the beaten track. Meaning that we visit multiple locally loved tapas & wine bars that the vast majority of tourists never set their foot in. Furthermore, the tour includes a full dinner with dessert AND a history tour…
And I keep groups really small for a tailor-made, intimate food experience.
4. Enjoy Fresh Seafood At A Tiny Bar
Yummy sardines at Tasca Angel.
Tasca Angel is a locally loved low-priced bar that mostly focuses on seafood.
There are few tables, so if you arrive during the rush hour, be prepared to stand (and wait in line).
Seafood lovers should order sepia a la plancha (grilled sepia squid). This is a very popular tapas dish in Valencia. Also, sardinas (sardines) are the house specialty.
Opening hours: Monday-Saturday 10:30AM–3PM, 7:30–11:30PM. Closed on Sunday and bank holidays.
5. Taste Piping Hot Pumpkin Fritters
Valencia’s most traditional sweet snack being freshly made – “buñuelos de calabaza”.
Arguably the best pumpkin fritters in town are cooked up at Horchatería Fabian.
Arrive by 6 pm to watch the lady fry them in a big bowl full of hot oil. At this hour you can get them fresh and piping hot.
Dip buñuelos in hot chocolate like locals do, and you might just call yourself a Valencian!
Opening hours vary throughout the year.
6. A Unique Paella Experience – In A Country House
Eat rice in a “barraca” – at La Genuina Restaurant.
Needless to say, paella is an obligatory food experience in Valencia. And what better way to try it combined with a little cultural tour. So why not have it in a traditional Valencia thatched house barraca!
Located just outside of the city, this is one of very few traditional houses still standing. The rice dishes served here are amazingly delicious.
Order the typical tapas dish esgarraet for starters. For mains order the original paella – paella valenciana.
Another great rice dish at la Genuina is arróz meloso de pato – rice with duck in broth.
Rice dishes are traditionally eaten for lunch. Make sure to make a reservation in advance.
Opening hours: lunch time every day except Sunday.
7. An Ultimate Orxata Experience
A glass of tiger nut drink horchata and typical pastry “fartón”.
The typical Valencia’s drink horchata / orxata is made of tiger nuts – a crop that covers vast fields in Alboraya (just north of Valencia).
Avoid touristy places like Santa Catalina if you are ok with skipping sugar-laden horchata. (Pop in to Santa Catalina though for the traditional painted ceramics that cover the walls).
The authentic local tiger nut drink is naturally sweet and doesn’t require additional sweeteners. If you want to try the real deal head to Casa de Orxata at Mercado Colón (Columbus Market) and ask for horchata natural sin azucar.
One of the foodie things to do in Valencia is to visit the little town of Alboraya, see the tiger nut fields and taste horchata at one of the traditional places such as Horchateria Daniel (open from 4pm until 10pm).
If you would like to learn about the local culture and taste mouth-watering tapas such as the Iberian ham made of free range acorn-fed pigs, join my delicious food tour!