Whether you’re in the mood for tapas, bocadillos, or a full, multi-course menu, there are a million restaurants to choose from in Valencia. And if your time in the city is short, it’s better not to run the risk of picking the wrong place. Don’t trust TripAdvisor, which is appallingly off-the-mark in this city; for a classic Valencian meal, any of these should fit the bill.
The sun was beating hard upon our necks, and our shirts were soaked with sweat. It was Sunday afternoon in the middle of the oppressive Valencian summer, and we were walking through the horta nord of Alboraya, learning about chufa: the tiny tuber which is the principal ingredient in horchata.
A humble meal originally from the rice fields of Valencia, paella has become the most emblematic dish of Spanish cuisine, and is now served in restaurants across the world. But for our money, the best is still made in the Comunidad Valenciana. We visited La Matandeta, a popular restaurant near the Albufera, to learn how the perfect paella is made.
Agua de Valencia was invented last night by your alcoholic uncle, who raided your kitchen and poured all the liquor he could find into his orange juice. “Just some OJ,” he said, stumbling out to join you on the terrace. But you know your uncle, so you took a sip from his glass when he wasn’t looking. Woah, that’s not just orange juice! And actually, it’s kind of delicious.
Throughout Fallas, the smell of smoke and gunpowder is unavoidable on the streets of Valencia, but another odor is almost as prominent: that of greasy, deep-fried goodness. On seemingly every other corner, there’s a stand selling buñuelos. A sweet, delicious, artery-clogging nightmare, buñuelos are Valencia’s favorite festival snack, and are even more sinful when dipped into cups of thick, rich, hot chocolate.