Europe Spring 2024: Valencia wine bars (+ one brew pub)

by | Jun 18, 2024 | Food & Drink, International Travel, Travel

La Patrona
We had an hour to kill before our apartment was available and this was one of the only Russafa wine bars open in the later afternoon. It was warm in the sun so we grabbed a table outside and ordered two glasses each. Eric: blac de engueara + gewurztraminer; Me: Elias mora + Rioja tempranillo. Our drinks came with Castelvetrano olives – my favorite!

Bodega Albarizas
While exploring north of the Turia, we passed this attractive place and decided to grab a drink. Eric had the Peñacortada chardonnay and mersequeua, while I had a glass of the Ribiera del Duero. The toast menu looked reasonable and varied so we got a stilton and fig (E) and a foie gras with sherry and membrillo for me. Very nice! We enjoyed our experience so much that we returned later in the trip and sat just inside the door. On the second visit we opted for a more substantial meal, so in addition to the complimentary crispy toasts topped with freshly sliced chorizo that came with our wine, we also ordered a stilton and fig toast (again), soprassada toast, a gilda and the blood sausage (morcilla) with chips. For wine, Eric had a Godello and then switched it up with a glass of the 1927 px sherry (celery like a dorado, brown sugar and figgy sweetness). I had a glass of Rioja and the Quadis blend. We also got a bottle of their Reserve Cava to go.

Bukowski
This beer bar was right around the corner from our place and we managed to get over there twice. Our first visit we spent chatting with an older Canadian lady who lived in Germany and was exploring places to retire. This bar was rarely crowded when it was open, except on Wednesday nights when they hosted a meetup. Beers tried: Drunken Bros. Black & Deep Russian Imperial Stout and Yakka Yakkator Doppelbok (me) and Ork Milk Shake Gose Sour and Taronja Mecànica brut sour (Eric). I liked that all the beers were available in half pours and were served with a good-sized bowl of corn nuts.

ViveVino Natural Winebar
One of the places in Russafa that we visited on our 2022 trip, we decided to give it a try again. They focus on natural wines (hence the name of the place) which isn’t our jam normally but the staff and people watching outside are a draw. This time, we watched a large group prep for the Fiesta de San Vicente Ferrer and enjoyed the ensuing processional – complete with costumes and a small band. We each tried two wines, Eric got a white from Mallorca (unfiltered with a cider like brownish color, strong apple cider, med acidity, light smoke and salt on finish) and a Vermintino (spritzy! Ripe red apple, light acidity.) I tried a Tempranillo that I really enjoyed (dried cherries with hint of spice) and a red from whole cluster pressing (bit of stewed fruit and funk on the nose with some subtle spritz. Plum, fig, and bubblegum.) No tapas came with our wine, possibly because I ordered the mixed olives off the menu.

Vinorte Wine Bar
Wanting to explore a different area of town, we stopped in at this small place in La Roqueta. The weather was pleasant so we sat outside but didn’t find the wine list very compelling. Eric opted for the available rosé (ok, more butter than expected, some cherry and leather, toast) while I got the cava available by the glass (quite light). We got a small bowl of potato chips with our wines. We felt the prices here were too high for the quality and wouldn’t return.

Vidrio Vacío de Novi Sad
Due to location and friendliness of the owners (Tanya is incredibly open and hilarious), this small bar became our ‘local’ for this trip. We visited three times, sitting both outside (twice) and inside (once). Their food menu is limited but everything we tried was tasty, the ajvar (Serbian red pepper dip) being a stand-out. While sweeter than we expected, it had a lovely spice to it and it was a good intro to the condiment ahead of our trip to Croatia. We also tried the hummus with roasted tomatoes and hummus with artichokes on two occasions, along with the homemade meatballs which had a nice sear on outside and a tasty red sauce.
Wines we tried: Prégadeu Rosé cava (bottle) – Good bubbles, medium acidity, hay, some stone, light currant and cranberry, fairly dry finish.
Eric: Verdejo, Ostatu (white rioja) and Inurrieta Intacta Sauvignon Blanc Blanco Semidulce (surprising, tropical notes, fairly light, very pleasant)
Leandra: Ribera del Duero, Volver tempranillo

Ubik Café
We also visited this café three times, not to eat, but for afternoon drinks on our way to/from Parc Central. I was so impressed with the smoked imperial stout that I got it all three times! Eric switched it up with a fancy ginger ale, a La Fantastica tonic (quite bitter!) and a Sotavento rueda (nice, grassy and good acidity). On our first visit, all the outdoor tables were taken but we got a seat right in the front window inside which was perfect. The almond and chocolate chip cookies were tasty for 0.80€ each. The indoor space was very cozy with hundreds of books lining the walls. We were able to grab an outdoor table on our two subsequent visits.

The Wine Gallery
We attempted to visit this place for dinner one evening, but after we grabbed seats we were told it was drinks only as the kitchen was closed. So, we returned the following Wednesday around 6:45pm for an aperitivo. Even though their posted hours said they opened at 6pm, they were still accepting deliveries and organizing the restaurant when we walked in. We choose an indoor spot by the window, cozy with real candles and lots of cool art on the wall (hence the name). The outdoor tables are more crowded and very close to street traffic including buses, which got considerably busier after 7:30p. We got the wine list and settled on our choices before being told they were out of what we picked. After a few more missing wines, I finally let the server pick a red for me. Eric managed to find a white they had, yay! I also ordered their gilda tapa which was more substantial than expected based on the price.
Eric: Canada Paris merseguera – mineral, light hay and pear. clean finish. Not enough acidity though; Cima Bella godello – baked apple, a little citrus. Smooth texture, medium acidity. Pleasant!
Me: Roig de Picuela 2023 – garnacha tintotera (carbonic maceration) – deep purple red, lots of fruit but thin finish; Viejo Mundo (Ribiero Del Douro) – more of a traditional tempranillo, I liked this one better.

Cafe de las Horas
Famous for their Agua de Valencia and ornate interior, we had to stop in and check it out. They have waitstaff blocking the entrance so people can’t just wander in and take photos which was a plus. We were sat in the back near the storage area but it gave us a nice view of the bar area and the decor. Along with the agua de valencia (very refreshing, served with crushed ice) we ordered olives and a generous serrano ham plate.

Bar Oliví
Located right up the street from the apartment we had in 2022, this small place was another revisit. Luckily we found seats right inside the door on a Tuesday evening and although the place was bustling, it was never too crowded. Eric got the Rueda and I had a Rioja tempranillo, which came with olives. We had a bit of time before our dinner resy, so we split a glass of cava (Valencian) that was served with peanuts.

Cantina Matiz
After my cooking class in the Old Town, we stopped in for a glass of wine. At the insistence of the owner, she poured me a taste of one of her faves, a 2013 Valencia bobal with lots of barrel aging. I could see the appeal but it just wasn’t my style, so I got the Rioja tempranillo instead. Eric was happy with his Godello. We had been here previously when the flies were nuisance outside but they were absent on this visit.

Tagged with: Spain | Valencia | Valencia 2024 | wine

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)