Best Restaurants in Valencia Spain – How & Where to Eat in Valencia Spain

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The best restaurants in Valencia Spain: where are they? In this post, I’ll list up some of our favorite restaurants in Valencia so you can try them for yourselves when you visit. We hope that this Valencia food guide will help. If you’re looking for where to eat in Valencia Spain, then read on!

Best Restaurants in Valencia Spain

_tasting menu Best Restaurants in Valencia Spain - Where to Eat in Valencia

The food in Spain is delicious, and the food in Valencia is some of the best. Surrounded by farmland and the sea, Valencia has some of the freshest ingredients to work with. Seafood, meats & charcuterie, fresh fruit & vegetables…the best restaurants in Valencia use them all. Heck, even average restaurants in Spain are great. But that’s not what this list is. This post is to tell you about some of the best restaurants in Valencia Spain.

We lived in Valencia for two years. Our kids went to local schools and our son played 3rd-division soccer. We love so much about the city, and the restaurants in Valencia make it even better. The level of food in Valencia is outstanding. In fact, you don’t have to go to the most expensive restaurants in Valencia to have an exceptional meal. Our list of Valencia restaurants should prove that. Sure, there are a few fairly fancy places on our list, but most of them are affordable and approachable.

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Eating in Valencia & Eating in Spain

_al fresco dining Best Restaurants in Valencia Spain - Where to Eat in Valencia

Before we talk about the best restaurants in Valencia, let me clarify a few things. First of all, this list of great Valencia restaurants is far from complete. Valencia has a ridiculous amount of great dining options, and these are just a few that I can suggest.

Secondly, this list is subjective. These are Valencian restaurants that we would recommend. There are much fancier (and more expensive) places that are undoubtedly good. But my purpose is to propose places where a traveling family might consider.

In addition, I’ve stuck mainly to Valencian and Mediterranean food. If you want sushi, pizza or burgers, there is a Valencia restaurant for you, as well. There are loads of great restaurants in Valencia that serve non-Spanish cuisine. You can find Turkish (from fine dining to kebab stands). There is plenty of Italian (from white tablecloths to pizza trucks. There are half a dozen Japanese places (from sushi to ramen). And if you want Chinese, head to the city blocks west of the train station and you’ll find everything Valencia’s small Chinatown has to offer.

Finally, I want to share some of my limited knowledge of Spanish dining culture and how that plays out in Valencia. We only lived there for two years, but here are a few things I think you should know.

Tips on Eating in Spain

  • People eat five times a day, with lunch (comida) being the largest of the five.
  • Meal times may be significantly different than what you’re accustomed to. For example, don’t show up at a restaurant at 7 pm and expect them to be ready to serve you. In fact, don’t even expect them to be open yet!
  • Lunch is the best time to eat in Valencia and the best value. Look for signboards listing out the day’s Menu del Dia in chalk. This is a set menu at a fixed price. It usually includes several choices of starters and/or salads, main dishes, plus dessert and/or coffee. Prices and quality vary, but the Menu del Dia is the best way to try lots of the best restaurants in Valencia.
  • Keep in mind that lunch may be later than you’re used to (most people eat around 2 pm or so). In addition, lunches can last a loooong time. In fact, it can even be hard to get your bill if you’re in a hurry.

More Tips on Spain Dining Culture

  • There may not be an English menu…or English speakers, for that matter. Unlike Barcelona and Madrid, English is harder to come by in Valencia.
  • In our experience, service in restaurants in Valencia is fairly hands-off compared to North America. Even in the best Valencia restaurants, the staff may greet you with a smile. In most places, they will give you good service, but it won’t be cloying or overly attentive.
  • Tips are not required in Spain. You can leave one, but the wait staff is not expecting it.
  • Lots of eating in Spain is al fresco, and most people want to sit outside, anyway. That said, there is no smoking indoors in restaurants in Spain. That means all the smokers will be at the outdoor tables.

Want more info on eating times in Spain? This was just part of our initial culture shock in Spain.

Where to Eat in Valencia Spain – Best Restaurants in Valencia Spain

So here’s our list of favorite restaurants in Valencia Spain. I’ve divided them into a few sections for easier perusal. Keep in mind that some there is some overlap here. For instance, a place I’ve listed as best for lunch may also be great at dinnertime, as well.

Best Lunch / Best Menu del Dia in Valencia Spain

As I mentioned above, recommend trying the best restaurants in Valencia Spain during lunch time. There you’ll find the menu del dia, a set menu at a fixed price. It usually includes several choices of starters and/or salads, main dishes, plus dessert and/or coffee. Prices and quality vary, but the Menu del Dia is the best way to try lots of the best restaurants in Valencia.

Trece

_trece Best Restaurants in Valencia Spain - Where to Eat in Valencia

We stumbled onto this place when my parents were visiting and couldn’t believe our luck. Their weekend Menu del Dia was fantastic. Last time we visited, the calamari, truffle croquettes and mini lamb burgers went great with a glass of Spanish red.

Trece makes our list of best restaurants in Valencia thanks to reasonable prices and a generous Menu del Dia. There were English speakers on staff when we last visited.

Mythos Vlc.

_Mythos VLc Best Restaurants in Valencia Spain - Where to Eat in Valencia

Great al fresco dining in L’Eixample, my favorite neighborhood in Valencia. Generous lunch sets, and good service. Excellent desserts and salads, as well.

They serve paella as well, but we’ve only had the Menu del Dia at lunch or tapas at dinner time. Both are worth your time. Mythos makes our list of best restaurants in Valencia thanks to value.

Central Bar by Ricard Camarena

_central bal ricard camarena Best Restaurants in Valencia Spain - Where to Eat in Valencia

Located inside Valencia’s extraordinary Central Market, this unassuming stand is actually run by Michelin-starred chef Ricard Camarena.

I suggest the patatas bravas and hearty Spanish bocadillos: sandwiches on crusty bread. If you’re looking for something more elegant/exotic?  Then try the anchovies/passion fruit ceviche or acorn-fed ham plate.

Lambrusqueria

_lambrusqueria 2 Best Restaurants in Valencia Spain - Where to Eat in Valencia

In the mood for Italian? Lambrusqueria serves up a tantalizing array of salads, charcuterie and pasta dishes.

Unlike many places with a set menu written on the board, Lambrusqueria asks your preferences and then starts serving it up. Good tiramisu, as well.

Casel La

_Casel La Best Restaurants in Valencia Spain - Where to Eat in Valencia

This place makes our list of best restaurants in Valencia thanks to an excellent menu, good service, and a varied Menu del Dia.

We especially liked the goat cheese salad and the Iberico pork medallions, but the menu changes regularly.

Rincon de Roberto

_rincon Best Restaurants in Valencia Spain - Where to Eat in Valencia

We stumbled onto this place during the last Fallas festival and really enjoyed it. This is Valencian food: esgarraet (salted cod and marinated red peppers), grilled octopus and artichoke hearts. Pasta and rice dishes as well.

We especially enjoyed the salmon on toast. Rincon de Roberto made our list of best lists in Valencia because it felt the most local of just about anywhere we ate. Could just be coincidence, but the food was Valencian and everyone around us was speaking Valencian, not Castellano (Iberian Spanish).

Best Paella in Valencia

Valencia with kids. Where to eat in valencia. Julen's Paella

Out of all the food in Valencia, this may be the most contentious item for me to claim what is the “best in Valencia.” After all, Valencia is the home of paella, and real Valencians (not short-time residents like me) truly know Paella in Spain.

I’m no expert on paella in Valencia, but my Valencian friends taught me a few things worth sharing:

About Paella in Valencia Spain
  • Paella is a lunch thing. If you see a restaurant serving paella for dinner, then they are likely catering to tourists. Doesn’t mean it’s bad. Just saying…
  • Paella comes in many tasty forms, but “true paella” comes in basically one style: with chicken, maybe rabbit or duck, green flat beans, and lima beans. Snails sometimes, too, but optional. Anything with shrimp, fish or other sea creatures may be delicious, but it’s not “true” paella to a Valencian. “That’s just seafood and rice,” they’ll say.
  • Real paella takes time, so don’t be surprised if your waiter tells you won’t get your paella for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • The area south of Valencia known as Al Bufera is where most of the country’s paella rice is grown. It’s also a nature reserve worth visiting. Towns like El Saler and El Palmar hug the Mediterranean and the reserve where the rice fields grow their special grains. Look here for some of the best paella in Valencia Spain.
  • It’s not the toppings that make a good paella. It’s the rice. This special strain of Valencian rice soaks up the flavors and fats and is the real star of the dish. Some paellas look burned around the edges, but that crunchy/chewy rice is my favorite part. Same for many locals.

With that out of the way, let me tell you about restaurants in Valencia Spain where we enjoyed paella.

El Rek

_el rek Best Restaurants in Valencia Spain - Where to Eat in Valencia

Located south of the Al Bufera rice fields in El Palmar, El Rek is on the banks of a river with a nice view of the countryside. If you want to visit the area where the actual rice for paella is grown, then this is one of the best restaurants in Valencia.

La Pepica

_la pepica Best Restaurants in Valencia Spain - Where to Eat in Valencia

Located next to the beach, La Pepica is said to be where Ernest Hemmingway first tried Valencia’s most famous dish. This place is large and sprawling and great for a long afternoon meal. If you’re looking for paella with a view of the Mediterranean, then this is the best restaurant in Valencia Spain for you.

Restaurante Navarro

_Restaurante Navarro Best Restaurants in Valencia Spain - Where to Eat in Valencia

Located smack in the middle of downtown, this is one of the best restaurants in Valencia on many fronts. The service is exceptional. The food (paella and otherwise) is top-notch. And if you like sangria, look out. I highly recommend you make a reservation if possible. They can communicate in English.

Best Restaurants in Valencia for Dinner & Tapas

Night has fallen and now you’re looking for the best restaurants in Valencia for a bite. We’ve got you covered. Here are some of our favorite Valencia Spain restaurants.

La Tasqueta del Mercat

_tasqueta_mercat Best Restaurants in Valencia Spain - Where to Eat in Valencia

This may be my new favorite restaurant in Valencia. Located steps away from the Russafa Market, La Tasqueta del Mercat has only two set menus available for dinner. They are essentially the same (one regular, one deluxe) and they are exceptional.

Our 9-course tasting menu (22 euros) included the following:

  • tuna tartar with citrus peanut cream.
  • cod fritters
  • lamb mini-kebab
  • mushroom and truffle croquettes
  • steak tartar with pippara foam

This bizarre, eclectic mix was amazing. If your kids are adventurous eaters, then I highly recommend this as one of the best restaurants in Valencia Spain.

La Pilareta

_la pilareta Best Restaurants in Valencia Spain - Where to Eat in Valencia

Located on a side corner of one of the liveliest areas of Valencia’s old town, La Pilareta has been famous in town for a long time. Their mussels are great, as are their tapas.

Service can be brusque, but in my experience, it’s nothing personal. Just how they operate. We think the food is worth it.

La Oficina Bar

_Bar La Officina 2 Best Restaurants in Valencia Spain - Where to Eat in Valencia

This is a local place with prices to match. Good set meals and rice dishes (including paella sometimes). Also decent tapas, but no English menu.

Casa Montana

_Casa Montana Best Restaurants in Valencia Spain - Where to Eat in Valencia

Located a short walk from the beach, Casa Montana is not the easiest place to find. But it’s worth the effort. Everything is outstanding. Exceptional selection of cheeses, hams, fish, sausages and more eclectic items like stewed leeks. Try the marinated tuna, as well.

Orio

_orio Best Restaurants in Valencia Spain - Where to Eat in Valencia

A great place for dinner or a small bite, Orio serves Basque-style tapas called pintxos, which are wedges of crusty bread with varied toppings.

You serve yourself at Orio, and the bill is calculated by the number of toothpicks on your plate. (Each tapa has a toothpick through it). It’s a great way to try lots of things. Out of all the best restaurants in Valencia Spain, we’ve probably eaten here more than anywhere else. Why? Because of the eating style — self-serve, small items instead of big entrees — means we can step in for a quick bite of a full meal. It’s also a favorite when we’ve had guests visiting.

I must admit that service isn’t great and the drinks are overpriced, but we love this place and keep coming back.

Two Chain Restaurants in Valencia Spain

If you want something quick and cheap, here are two of our favorite chain restaurants in Valencia. No, they’re not the best restaurants in Spain, but they’re cheap, popular, and dependable for what they deliver.

Lizarran

_Lizarran Best Restaurants in Valencia Spain - Where to Eat in Valencia

Here you’ll find pintxos and other tapas, as well as cold beer and ice cream. There are at least half a dozen outlets in Valencia alone, and you’ll find them across Spain.

Cervecería 100 Montaditos

_Cervecería 100 Montaditos Best Restaurants in Valencia Spain - Where to Eat in Valencia

You’ll find these all over Valencia. Here you’ll find small sandwiches, chips, fries and other snacks for cheap. Beer, sodas, and sangria as well. NOt high-quality grub, but cheap and much better than typical fast food.

Best Sweet Shops in Valencia Spain

Ok so these aren’ t the kind of restaurants in Valencia where you’ll find a 4-course meal, but we’ve included them here for their excellent dessert options. After you eat at the best restaurants in Valencia, you’ll need some dessert, right?

Sure, you’re going to find plenty of churros and fartons around town to munch on, but let me tell you about my favorite restaurants in Valencia Spain for sweets.

Dulce de Leche

_Dulce de Leche Best Restaurants in Valencia Spain - Where to Eat in Valencia

Located in Russafa (my favorite neighborhood), Dulce de Leche has great brunch options. That said, once you see all the freshly-made cakes, pies, tarts and other sweets, your desire for a sandwich may disappear.

Xoco & Vero Chocolateria

_chocolate Best Restaurants in Valencia Spain - Where to Eat in Valencia

This is just a simple chocolate shop near the Mercado Centro and La Lonja UNESCO Heritage site, but we were regular customers. My girl wanted to stop by any time were in the area. They have a large variety of chocolate bars and other great souvenir-worthy products — all artisanal.

Do You Know And Great Restaurants in Valencia Spain?

_al fresco Best Restaurants in Valencia Spain - Where to Eat in Valencia

Our list of the best restaurants in Valencia is far from complete. What’s missing? What great Valencia restaurants would you add to the list? What do you think of the Valencia restaurants we chose? From fine dining to greasy kebab stands, there are still many more Valencia restaurants we want to add, but it will have to wait until we next update this post. Help us make this the best list of Valencia restaurants on the web!

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means, at no extra cost to you,  we might receive a small commission if you make a purchase or book a table or room using those links. My opinions are my own and I only recommend places/services that I believe will genuinely help you find the best places to eat in Valencia Spain. Do you know any good restaurants in Valencia Spain? We’ll keep this list of restaurants in Valencia restaurants updated, so any tips are always appreciated. 

Comments

  1. Damn, my mouth is watering. Bookmarking this for our Europe trip next year!

  2. 5 times a day Jason? Sounds like a Hobbit’s eating schedule here in New Zealand LOL. I am in! 😉

    I do enjoy Spanish culture. From frequent meals to a more laid back vibe, I sense a focus on enjoyment of the moment and just living, unlike the sometimes frantic NE US, where I grew up. We need to rest, recharge and enjoy life and Spaniards have that down cold.

    Excellent eatery review.

    Ryan

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