Europe Spring 2024: Valencia restaurants

by | Jun 14, 2024 | Food & Drink, International Travel, Travel

As one can imagine, we visited a lot of restaurants in the month+ we stayed in Valencia, even if we did eat at home most nights. There were many options right outside our door in Rusafa, and we did venture further out for some special meals in other districts too.

Restaurants

La Finestra
Our first dinner in Valencia and we picked the busiest place in town! It took a minute to get someone’s attention and we were assigned a table with another couple after a short wait. They don’t have a food menu, per se, you just say how many pizzas you want and they bring whatever was freshly made. This was a first for us but apparently a thing in Russafa as we had this ‘surprise’ pizza situation elsewhere. I went up to the bar and ordered us two pizzas, a tostada beer and a glass of wine (which was served in a very small glass). We sipped our drinks until our two pizzas arrived. I chose the mortadella and zucchini one while Eric opted for the ham/bacon and cheese. About 11€ total! Gino Banana is their sister restaurant (and just as busy when we walked by later).

 

Vermudez
This place had great reviews and was absolutely packed when we showed up for our Saturday evening reservations. Unfortunately, we were seated at a high-top table on the edge of a busy thoroughfare and the server activity around us was frenetic, with multiple servers bumping into our chairs. We were asked for our order by two different servers, and one of our dishes took so long to come out I was sure they forgot about us. The wine list had quite a few bottles but had very limited by the glass options, just two whites. On the flipside, our food was mostly good: the albondigas in vermout were delicious (the best meatballs we had on the trip), and the croquettes were creamy and excellent. The only miss was the patatas bravas as they weren’t crispy enough and the sauce was rather bland. When we were ready to head out, we asked for the check four separate times from three different staff members before we were able to pay. Ultimately we left disappointed.

Restaurante Fes
I am so glad we managed to try this place as it’s a well-reviewed, family run place that was closed for a week due to Eid al-Fitr. They don’t have a liquor license so I ordered the traditional mint tea and Eric had a lemon drink. We tried to order just the tajin and hummus to split but the waiter insisted that wasn’t enough food (he was right!) so we added on the bastela. Everything was richly spiced and enjoyable. We were a little surprised that the Tajin de pollo was just chicken with no couscous or other accompaniment but the hummus was healthy serving size and came with very nice bread. The bastela had some lovely spices, just a little sweetness with the meat and almonds – we will definitely be recreating this dish at home. For dessert, we chose a nut and strawberry marmalade and peanut and chocolate sweets from the various display options, and both were outstanding.

Ultramarinos Huerta
We walked past this restaurant a few times and it was always bustling, so we decided to make a reservation. We started with a bottle of sparkling, the Nodus Cava Brut (on the lighter side with some apple and bread notes and mild acidity). It paired especially well with the ham croquettes (creamy but needed more ham) and cheesy chicken cannelloni (rich with extra tasty burnt bits). Leandra ordered an anchovy toast (tasty but toast was very crunchy) and two orders of the artichoke confits — good because we both liked them! We had some cava left, so we ordered a Barcelonata bomba – lightly spicy, nice flavor, better than the other croquettes as our last dish.

Casa Montaña
We really enjoyed this restaurant on our last trip, so we made sure we had reservations to return. As it was Saturday we were planning for a leisurely lunch and ordered a bottle of rosé and the Almendras tostadas (wonderfully salty) while we perused the menu. Eric went with the patatas bravas and a portion of the Longaniza valenciana (sausage). I decided to try their traditional bean stew, habas estofadas, and added an order of the morcilla (blood sausage). We split a photogenic and delicious pastel de mousse de turrón for dessert.

Cultūre
This small place was located very close to our apartment and their 5€ ‘surprise’ pizza + beer/wine/soda drink deal on Wednesdays lured us in twice. On the first visit we sat outside and also ordered a simple arancini, then the pizzas with a glass of wine each. Our first pies were asparagus, mushroom, sausage, and the other had arugula, black olives, sun-dried tomato, and a mildly spicy salami. We were still hungry so we ordered a third, this time with pepperoni, black olives and basil. Eric was intrigued by the pineapple and coconut tiramisu, and it was really good (no espresso, it seems they used coconut cream with chunks of pineapple instead). Altogether this was under $25 — a great deal! On our second visit we stuck with just pizzas: pork, mushroom and asparagus, the other arugula, parmesan and salami. We had the same lovely waitress both times who remembered us and was very pleasant and helpful. A 10€ dinner for two can’t be beat!

Baovan
As a change in cuisine we opted for this fusion place one night for dinner. We started with an order of the lightly crispy gyozas, then two Bao buns, the Peruvian Limeño chicken for me and a General Tso (korean-style chicken, crispy and lots of flavor) for Eric. We still had appetites, so we ordered another round of the gyozas!

Marea Ristorante Italiano
One of several Italian restaurants near our place in Russafa. Sadly, there were out of the suppli, so Eric went for the classic cacio y pepe paired with a Pecorino white wine, while I got the carciofi e guanciale (artichoke cream) with a glass of Montepulciano. The portion sizes were bigger than expected, but we ate all of it! We split the pistachio tiramisu which was also very tasty.

La Majada Quesos
This shop and restaurant is all about the cheese! We started with a bottle of 2019 Pago de Tharsys Millesime Brut Reserve Rosé to split – good acidity and paired nicely with all our cheeses. For the main event, we opted for the 1/2 portion of the Asturiana plate featuring cheeses from the northwest of Spain.
#1 – Afuega El Pitu: had a chewy (pulled?) quality, fresh and some acidity, a little banana
#2 – Caxigon: some tang, creamy
#3- Gamoneu: 3 milks, nicely smoked, lots of different flavors with long finish
#4- Rey Silo Roxu: light pepper and creamy, like a stepped up pimento cheese
#5- Campo Bio: big bold blue, crumbly, some floral and funk but lots of flavor
#6 – Mama Marisa: creamy blue, long lasting

We supplemented the cheese plate with two croquettes, an Iberian ham and Idiazábal cheese – good but we could barely tell them apart. I also tried the hand roasted Cantabrian anchovy filet which was amazing. Our waitress spoke very little English but was enthusiastic and we were able to understand her Spanish enough to get everything ordered thanks to the online menu.

Mangiapane
Not wanting to turn down another opportunity for pizza (ha!), I ordered the Guanciotta – which came with pumpkin pureé, basil, and ham. I wound up taking half of it home – it reheated nicely. Eric opted for the pappardelle with boar ragu and he was pleased with his choice.

JamónJamón Restaurant
Another revisit from our first trip, we enjoyed our second meal here as much as the first. This time we opted for wine by the glass, a Verdejo Bornos rueda for Eric and the Ramon Bilbao Tempranillo for me. We ordered the patatas bravas to start and it was the most unique presentation!

The sauce was spicy and the potatoes were tender – pricey for a simple dish but well executed. For our mains,  Eric got the pork cheek (again!) – lots of flavor, he thought the red wine and pumpkin sauce was a great combo – while I went for the beef tartare, also beautifully plated, and loved it, especially the small pool of egg yolk on top.

La Cantina De Ruzafa
Our only foray into a proper almuerzo on this trip, this place did not disappoint. For 7.50€ you get your choice of several sandwiches plus a drink. I opted for red wine while Eric got a pineapple juice, which came out with unshelled peanuts and a pickle dish. I ordered the Almussafes (sobrasada spread with roasted onions and cheese) and Eric got the Torrentí (bacon, egg omelette, and sobrasada). One of the features of L’Esmorzaret is to finish the meal with a cremaet, a Valencian coffee with cinnamon, orange peel, and a shot of rum, only 1€ extra. The space was lively with lots of groups, and a nice view of the back courtyard with flowers and plants instead of street parking.

Croquetea
This small take-away place in Rusafa had peculiar hours and we always seemed to want to stop in when it was closed. Finally, we made it work and opted for 8 croquettes: traditional jamon (x4), chicken + bacon + leek (x2), pumpkin + gorgonzola (x2),  gorgonzola + nut (x2), blue cheese + dates (x2). The jamon was quite good, but the chicken with bacon and leek was the surprise star.

Bodega Anyora
We headed back to the beach area on our last weekend to try another lunch place in El Cabayal. It was pretty warm and I wasn’t feeling red wine so we split a jug of Tinto de verano which we both enjoyed. Similar to sangria but with the addition of vermouth, it has a pleasant herbal quality. I started with a gilda appetizer (the best of the trip) and we ordered two servings of the croquettes with meat stew – very nice crunch, good flavor. For our mains, Eric got the beef cheek (falling apart tender) and I surprised myself by settling on a dish of bean stew with small octopus pieces and sobrasada sauce. Delish!

Tagged with: food | Spain | Valencia | Valencia 2024

Our Itinerary

2024 Trips

San Diego, CA (Jan)
Sarasota, FL (Feb)
Madrid, Spain (Mar)
Valencia, Spain (Mar+Apr)
Palma, Mallorca (Apr)
Croatia (May)
Long Island, NY (July)
Faroe Islands (Aug)
London, UK (Sept)
Bari, Italy (Sept)
Rome, Italy (Oct)
Frankfurt, Germany (Oct)
Grand Rapids, MI (Nov)

2022 Trips

Florida (Feb)
NC Mountains (Apr)
Washington DC (Apr)
Valencia, Spain (May)
Hilton Head, SC (May)
Pacific NW (Jun)
Long Island (Jul)
Florida (Sept)
Chicago (Sept)
Poland (Sept)
NC Mountains (Nov)
Euro Xmas Markets (Dec)