When visiting Valencia, you absolutely must try some of the local dishes!
One of the most well known Spanish dishes in the world is La Paella. But did you know that it originally comes from Valencia? Many of Valencia’s visitors ask themselves the same question: Where do you find some good paella? When you ask a Valencian, they’ll tell you it’s at their mother’s place on a Sunday afternoon. But even if you don´t have the luxury of enjoying a Valencian mother´s home-cooked meal, it’s quite easy to find restaurants in Valencia with fantastic paellas. But which one of these is the best?
Before starting the quest, we’ll have to define some concepts: the authentic Valencian paella is composed of arroz bomba (a type of rice), sautéed tomato, saffron, chicken, rabbit and green beans. You can also add snails and artichokes, and finish it off with a bit of rosemary. And that’s it. No shrimps, blue mussels, sweet pepper or any other things that the guíris (typical non-Spanish tourists in Spain) love taking pictures of. On top of that, a buena paella valenciana is cooked with firewood. According to the experts, when the firewood is taken from an organge tree, we can really speak of an authentic gourmet food.
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Malvarrosa beach is one of the tourists’ favorite spots to eat paella without even leaving Valencia city. There are dozens of restaurants here whose main dish is the paella valenciana. And yeah, you can get some decent paellas there for sure, but they are far from being the best in the region. If you prefer eating at the sea, you should try L’Estimat, La Marcelina, La Rosa or La Pepica, which are all close to each other on Paseo de Neptuno.
Although it is a known fact that the best paellas are only to be found outside Valencia City, there is one famous exception: Casa Roberto, a classic. Your expectations will be far surpassed by their wonderful classic paella, and might even encounter some celebrities making their way through Valencia there.
The horchata is the sweetest and most famous drink you will find in Valencia, iced or liquid. It is the Queen of Spain’s summertime favorite. The horchata (“tiger-nut milk”) is a characteristic drink originating from Valencia. It is processed with water, sugar and tiger-nuts. Historically tiger-nuts are linked to Ancient Egypt, and many remnants of tiger-nuts have been discovered inside the pharaohs’ gravesite temples, as a part of their grave furniture. Also Arabs have used tiger-nuts to complement almonds in their desserts.
A good horchata must always be accompanied by some fartóns, another typical Valencian product. It´s a long biscuit with a wafer-thin layer of crystallized sugar, which you dip into your horchata.
The horchata is an ideal summertime drink, although it should be enjoyed throughout the whole year. As it contains a whole lot of minerals and vitamins, including phosphorus, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin E, it is also pretty healthy. On top of that, it helps with digestion and has no lactose, gluten or caffeine in it, which is why it’s also a healthy option for children, pregnant women and seniors.
When visiting Valencia, you should definitely try the Casa de l’Orxata (Horchateria & Biogelateria) in the Mercado de Colón. It is located right in the heart of city, and is an important cultural heritage spot inside one of the most relevant Modernist buildings in Valencia.
No matter what season you plan to visit Valencia, don´t miss out on the wonderful local cuisine!
Valencia is only a 4-hour RENFE train ride from Barcelona. If you are planning to stay in the Catalan capital, we highly recommend Valencia as a weekend trip! Check out some of our apartments near Sants train station if you would like to make the commute to Valencia even shorter!