A colourful and flavoured week in a beautiful city where we were encircled by tenths of savours every step of the way — we had a real culinary experience in Valencia, which we won’t forget anytime soon.
During our week in Valencia, we didn’t try out too many restaurants because our friend whom we stayed with, cooked us Spanish meals like empaella, gazpacho, tortilla de patatas and empanadas at home. She works at an Italian restaurant and was at work that week, so we regularly went there to try the food.
When we didn’t visit the restaurant, we stumbled through the city, looking for a real culinary experience in Valencia. Overwhelmed by everything we saw around us, we didn’t really think too much about food. But: When our stomachs started to give us the sign that it was time to eat was usually the time we looked around for food, or when somebody saw a gelateria and we walked out of it with a nice ice cream in our hand.
One thing is clear: We loved every place we’ve eaten at; the service was nice and the food delicious.
The huge market, situated in the historic centre, charms you with its beautiful architecture. With its Art Nouveau style, it’s the most represented building from the 20th century in Valencia.
Mercado Central was built by the architects Alejandro Soler March and Francisco Guardia Vial between 1910 and 1928. They both managed to match their style with the ones from the surrounding buildings.
Around 400 small merchants and over 1.500 people are implicated in the day-to-day-activities.
The building is 8.160 square meters big and divided into two zones: The former is 6.760 square meters big, the latter, the fish market, 1.400 square meters. Here, you can find anything your heart desires. All products are fresh: Starting with meats of all kind, fish – which might still be alive and kicking – to fruits, vegetables, olives and cheeses.
In 1996, Mercado Central became the worlds biggest market, which also benefited from modern, computerised sales and a home-delivery-service. For more information, please visit the official website mercadocentralvalencia.es.
Café y Tapas
Located in the city centre in one of the most important squares of Valencia, this place caught our attention with its little small tables in the window – we loved that we could eat while looking out the window.
The one time we ate at Café y Tapas, we bought three types of pasta, each one served on a small plate. The waitress was nice and we managed to understand each other in a mixture of English and Spanish.
We ate here one evening; we were quite exhausted because we walked around the area looking for some tourist attractions. Walking by Tommy Mel’s, we immediately noticed the old-school interior which seemed like something from the American 50s, very colourful and with a jukebox playing music. The waitress was nice, she obviously spoke English, and we had to choose a burger and ice cream — what else in an American restaurant? The burger was good, the meat – as ordered – cooked medium-rare, and the ice cream with pecan nuts was a creamy delicious dream.
This is the restaurant our friend worked at – we ate quite a few times here. It’s an Italian restaurant, which is beautifully decorated and which gives you a very cheerful sensation.
The residents of the city are very strict when it comes to the preparation time of meals. You can look forward to food being served in record time.
We tried a beef carpaccio, served on rucola with parmesan cheese, bruschetta (toasted bread with olive oil), crostini (a bit smaller than bruschetta), piadina and desserts. Everything was tasty, freshly made and quickly served.
Generally, the atmosphere in the restaurant was welcoming and warm, especially in the evening, when locals came to dine.
Asador Free Wok
This restaurant is situated in Paterna, around five kilometres from Valencia. We visited it one evening with our friends because we were craving Asian food. They’d been visiting this restaurant often because it was close to their home.
As it was an all-you-can-eat restaurant, we didn’t hold back and tried all kinds of food: Salads, seafood, pasta, sushi and desserts. The seafood was superb and we also loved the sushi. The place itself is big and spacious – we had a good time.
This is the place where we ate frozen yoghurt nearly every day. The yoghurt is very dense, it doesn’t melt easily and tastes spectacular with chocolate sauce or dulce de leche. You can choose from a variety of toppings and sauces.
If you can’t make up your mind and you have a week at your disposal as we did, you should try a new combination every day. Of course, don’t forget to eat ice cream in all the other gelateria around town.
La Lonja de la Seda
If you’ve visited Mercado Central, don’t forget to visit La Lonja de la Seda across the street. Don’t be mistaken, you can’t eat here. Still, it’s a place you should check out. The beautiful building is built in the well-known Valencian Gothic style. Also, don’t miss a walk in the beautiful garden filled with orange trees.
La Lonja de la Seda was built between 1482 and 1533 by the two main architects Pere Compte and Joan Ibarra. For centuries, the building has been used as a location for silk trading. That’s why it’s also known as Silk Exchange.
The building consists of three parts:
- The Hall of Contracts is the main hall where merchants would meet and close transactions. It’s a beautiful hall, sustained by massive pillars. In 1407, Taula de Canvis, a municipal bank, had its headquarters here.
- The Tower is a three stories high construction, every one of them connected by a staircase.
- Consulate of the Sea was built in the Renaissance style with a roof from the 15th century, which is a part of the former town hall; it covers the hall and the first floor.
In December 1996, La Lonja de la Seda UNESCO World Heritage.
The entrance fee is two Euros and the tour takes around an hour, including taking pictures and gazing at the beautiful orange trees.
Article image: Cel Lisboa | Unsplash