Our week in Valencia was filled with food and drink experiences, from quick snacks to full-on meals.
Bar Oliví is a lovely little wine place with a bar on the right and some additional stools on the left, room for 30 people maybe? This was our first stop of the trip — the moment when we finally had our bags in our room and we felt like we were truly in Spain. And we were definitely ready for some wine!
I started with a Goleta Azul Rueda, followed by Celler del Roure Cullerot (a white blend with flavors of white peach and some salinity). Leandra started with the cava, then opted for the Laya from Almansa (her first try at a Valencian Tempranillo).
A small nut mix came with the first glasses of wine, plus Leandra ordered olives (with a touch of oregano) and the sardines in oil which came with sliced baguettes. 14,50€ all in – that’s the Spain I remember!
We took a short walk around town, past street art and the central market to get our bearings then stopped in at the bright and lively Lia Valencia restaurant for dinner. We couldn’t figure out how to get a by-the-glass menu, so we agreed to split a bottle of lovely rose instead. Here I ordered the Iberican pork, while Leandra couldn’t resist the truffled beef carpaccio. Both were good, and left us too full for dessert unfortunately. (50 €)
On Friday morning we picked up 2 croissants at Alfonso Martinez, a local bakery around the corner, then orange juice, chips, milk at a Carrefour Express. We would return to this bakery a few more times during our stay.
In the afternoon we needed a break from walking, so after resting our feet on a park bench and pulling up Google Maps, I found L’ozzi Wine Lounge — quite chic and very relaxed, we had our choice of seating on a quiet afternoon. Leandra went for a local Tempranillo/Syrah blend, and then a straight Tempranillo, while I ordered the local Blanc de Enguera followed by a grassy Javier Verdejo. Olives (very green!) and nuts for snacks complimented our wines nicely.
On the way back to our room we stopped in at the Baviera wine store for rose, where according to the owner, all the roses were dry! We decided on a 5 € bottle, which was perfectly fine.
For dinner we made reservations at La Riuá. They are known for paella, and we quickly decided to split the traditional version with rabbit and chicken. The butter beans were a nice addition, quite creamy and hearty, and something we decided to try when we got home. Ultimately though, the flavor was good but not amazing, and we were disappointed that the paella lacked burnt bits on the bottom. For wine we paired the paella with a bottle of cava natural. When we were done we simply went to the front counter – they knew which table we were without even asking. We were a bit surprised at the glowing reviews here, as the ambience was not great (the lighting is quite harsh with a blue tint), and the overall service experience was just OK.
On Saturday we tried a different bakery, Granier, and brought back an Ensaïmada for Leandra and a Napolitana de chocolate and a farton for me.
We found ourselves in the Russafa neighborhood on Saturday afternoon, so we stopped at the cozy ViveVino. The servers were quite friendly and brought out a small snack mix with each round. This time I tried a Moscato followed by a Vigiriega from Granada, while Leandra continued her exploration of Valencian Tempranillos (Ull de Llebre).
Later in the evening we sought horchada and fartons at Casa Orxata in the busy Mercat de Colón – glad we tried it, but the horchada wasn’t for me.
On Sunday we explored the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias district, and finding ourselves hungry, we discovered several restaurants were closed. We ended up at the Llebeig Café and focused on their montaditos – open faced sandwiches. The carmelized apple and goat cheese was great, as was the potato and sausage, while the pork and onion was a little sweet. Unfortunately we had to sit inside, and service was a bit slow, but it was decent overall.
Later in the afternoon we stopped for gelato at Gelato Amuri. After a 10 minute wait in line I got the delicious Rocher, and Leandra went for dulce de leche. Both with a complimentary Nutella dipped cookie!
Dinner that evening was at Jamon! Jamon! It’s a small place, and they put a sign on the door that they were full for the night, so we were glad we made reservations earlier that afternoon. This restaurant is in a converted house, and we were seated in the corner of the quieter second floor. We started with a five cheese plate:
sheep cheese with black garlic, aged Manchego cheese (delicious), rosemary goat cheese, Mahón cheese, Menorca, and blue cheese from Castilla (our favorite) — served with pear, grapes, figs and walnuts. Next, Leandra ordered the Galician Beef entrecote with pardon peppers and confit potatoes, while I decided on the Iberian pork cheek in Bobalia red wine on a pumpkin sauce. Both were divine, and everything paired nicely with a local Tempranillo. We left stuffed and happy!
On Monday we made a point to try the famous bocadillos at Kiosko La Pérgola for lunch. I went for the classic tortilla Espanol (potato omelet), while Lenadra got the Bombon (pork with mushrooms, cheese and mayo). Even better – we did takeout so we could eat in the Jardí de Montfort under the bougainvillea vines.
That afternoon we decided to relax a bit, so we grabbed an outdoor table at Beer & Travels and each enjoyed a Belgian Straffe Hendrick quad (for 6€ each), along with loads of people watching.
Before dinner we stopped at Cantina Matiz. I tried an interesting Valencian blend of Sauvignon Blanc/Verdejo from Ciento Volando, and Leandra tried the Ceramic Monastrell. There were too many flies outside in the alleyway, so we sat in the cozy interior instead.
Our final dinner in Valencia was at Boccaccio Restaurante Italiano, which wasn’t that busy with maybe 6 other tables. We started by splitting the brushetta with cherry tomatoes (nice crispy bites). Next, I had the blue cheese filled gnocchi in a parmesan sauce (good, but needed a little more blue cheese) paired with a rose, while Leandra had the spaghetti carbonara paired with a Moltepuciano. Overall, this was a nice change of pace from the Spanish food we had been enjoying all week.