The Most Traditional & Popular Tapas In Valencia
If Valencia is truly famous for anything, it’s for the paella. But if you feel like delving deeper into the traditional gastronomy in Valencia, taste the following most popular traditional shareable dishes… Always accompanied by a cool glass of Spanish wine or beer!
This article was first published May 5th, 2016 and updated with new content on April 24th, 2017.
First of all, if there were only one tapas dish truly indigenous to Valencia, that would be esgarraet. Yet nowadays you cannot easily find it, even in Valencia!
The Valencian word egarraet means “pulled apart with fingers”. It depicts a dish of narrow strips of baked red bell pepper and salt cod. Seasoned with olive oil and garlic.
The most traditional tapas dish is beautifully salty and sweet at the same time. The sweet red pepper balances out the saltiness of the cod. Esgarraet is simply delicious as a toast topping!
The story goes that in the pre-revolution Russia, a French Chef working in Moscow created a mysteriously tasty salad. It consisted of a meat component (deer at the time) and boiled vegetables. But the dressing was a secret (it basically was a mixture mayonnaise and Dijon mustard).
Olivier salad, as it was named at the time after the Chef, was a smashing hit. And it is still a New Year’s Eve’s table staple in Russia.
How it made its way to Spain and became so popular is unclear. But it quickly became one of the traditional Spanish tapas. It is omnipresent all over Spain, including Valencia.
Some establishments pride themeselves in serving their own take on ensaladilla rusa.
Where to eat a great ensaladilla rusa: Central Bar in the Central Market.
Titaina is a dish typical of the Cabanyal district (former fishermens village in Valencia). It’s a mix of roasted veggies such as tomatoes, red and green bell peppers, pine nuts, garlic and salted tuna belly.
The Maritime Holy Week of Valencia is celebrated on another level in Cabanyal. And this traditional tapas dish is considered to be a typical eats during the holiday.
Roasted potatoes under red spicy sauce and aioli (garlic sauce). Perhaps the most popular and famous tapas in the whole country. Cheap and tasty.
Sepia & Chipirones
Sepia (cuttlefish) is one of the most traditional tapas dishes in Valencia. It’s grilled, cut into small pieces and seasoned with olive oil, salt and parsley. Also battered sepia is very popular. Try it on my delicious evening food tour!
Another seafood tapas widely spread in Valencia is chipirones. It is a smaller type of squid, usually served whole grilled.
Clòtxinas / Clóchinas
These smaller mussels grow at the fish factory in the port of Valencia. Due to their small size clòtxinas taste somewhat sweeter than the regular mussel from Galicia or Catalonia.
Once they are scrubbed clean, people cook them for a few minutes in a covered pan. Lemon wedges, black pepper, garlic and smoked paprika add to the flavor of clóchinas.
This is another of the most traditional tapas in Valencia, and is only available from April through August.
The purple hued beauties below are tellinas. They only need a couple of minutes to be cooked.
Where to try clóchinas in Valencia: Bar La Pilareta.
Ajo Arriero & Brandada
Ajo arriero is typical of Northern and North-Eastern parts of Spain and of Utiel-Requena area of the Valencian Community.
It is a paste of mashed potatoes, olive oil, garlic and salt cod.
Another take on this dish is brandada de bacalao. It’s broiled, so there is a delicious crispy layer on top (pictured above).
Where to try ajo arriero & brandada: Casa Montaña
Boquerones en vinagre & other salty delicacies
Anchovy fillets marinated in vinegar first and dressed with olive oil are ones of the popular traditional tapas. If you don’t dislike vinegar, give theses Omega-3 powerhouses a try!
Salted and pickled delicacies in general are called salazones: olives, salted tuna belly mojama, pickled mini aubergines etc.
Buñuelos de bacalao
Buñuelo is a fritter – a piece of wheat dough fried in olive oil. Buñuelos de bacalao have cod in them. They are cousins to the croqueta de bacalao, which has a thicker texture.
(Do not confuse with buñuelos de calabaza, which are made with fresh pumpkin and are a sweet snack).
Another delicious round shaped fritter is croqueta. It has creamy bechamel sauce inside.
Typical flavors for croquettes are cod (bacalao), Spanish ham (jamón), mushrooms (boletus), chicken (pollo) etc.
Where to eat buñuelos de bacalao & croquetas de jamón: Bar Vermúdez
It usually means piquillo peppers with a tender fish or meat based paste filling.
Where to eat pimiento relleno: Bar Che
Spanish tortilla is simply an egg and potato thick omelette.
It can have various fillings – from onions to artichokes, to chorizo.
It is one of the most popular traditional tapas dishes in Spain and in Valencia. Since sometimes it can be a little too dry, make sure your tortilla is a little runny on the inside.
Where to eat tortilla in Valencia: Bar Alhambra
Spanish cured ham
Last but not least, jamón is the king of the Spanish cuisine. They serve it at almost any bar in Spain.
Where to try the best Iberian cured ham: on my food tours! I serve the best 100% Iberian acorn fed ham that comes from free range black pigs.
During the tour my guests learn about the various types of cured ham, the production process and how to distinguish the different types of Spanish cured ham.
What are your favorite traditional tapas in Valencia and where do you like to enjoy them? Share in comments below. And perhaps you would like to learn more about Valencia’s tapas scene on one of my walking tours? It’s a great way to learn about both the local cuisine and culture!