As I was traveling solo, I found it difficult to find a restaurant in Valencia that would accommodate my quest for delicious paella, but the wonderful Restaurante Navarro came through at the last minute.
Beautiful space, gracious service and amazing paella. I snagged the reservation the day before ,which was very lucky.
For paella in the city itself do consider Quique Dacosta’s Llisa Negra. We had a great rice dish there during Fallas. The rice dishes are cooked over orange wood and vine shoots in an open kitchen. Chic place.
There´s also Navarro, that Pedro recommends and Lavoe Arroz y Mar, recommended by the El País food critic.
For paella outside of the center, I’d go to Casa Carmela, from 1922.
For the best grilled meats, go to Askua, or its sibling, run by the sons, in Madrid, Askuabarra.
For Sunday night dining, we head to Ricard Cameron’s casual spot, Canalla Bistró in the Russafa district, and we too love his Central Bar in the Mercat Central.
If you have a car, you can head to El Palmar and the (perhaps aptly named for this forum) Arroceria Maribel (30 minutes south on the Albufuera). We prefer it to Casa Carmela (though we haven’t tried Quinque Dacosta’s place that Maribel referenced). It seems that the chef may have been at our previous favorite in the nearby El Saler, Casa Carmina before it closed during the pandemic.
In addition to Casa Montana in Cabanyal, an out of the way low key place we really like is Patapuerca Taberna Iberico, which sources fantastic cheeses, jamon, cecina and wines from around the country. They also have a handful of fantastic guiso based tapas (wild boar rib, pork shank) and very good cured seafood (get the eel).
All of the Camarena places tend to be good with Canalla Bistro and Central in the gran Mercado the best of the bunch.
For high end, we enjoyed Fierro (strong Argentine elements in many dishes), but our favorite is Toshi (Japanese approach and presentation of Valencia ingredients and flavors).
El Mundo Metrópoli published a list today of 10 places to have good rice dishes this summer, 3 from the Valencia community----Llisa Negra, Casa Carmela and one new to me–Ca’Pepico in Alquería de Roca, a village to the north of the capital. I’m putting this last one on my list.
I’ve been to Ca’Pepico and we really enjoyed it. The croquetas are some of the best we’ve had in the region. Excellent service, almost all locals. Call them to book your rice ahead of time and ask what seasonal specials they may have available.
Thanks so much for the confirmation of Ca’Pepico. Now I will definitely put it at the top of my dining list for the countryside. I’ll try to get there between the first of May and the end of August, hoping they’ll have clòtxinas.
Another that today came into my radar–TAVELLA in Beniferri, known as “el templo de las brasas”.
I will say that at Ca’Pepico we had the Paella Valenciana and it wasn’t the best version we have had from a flavor standpoint (although the cooking of the rice itself was top notch). We were won over by the genuine warmth of the service and the quality of the croquetas and seafood dishes. I would order a seafood rice next time. Other tables seemed to be focusing on seafood rices that looked very good.
It’s also worth noting that for those without a car, you can a take regional train (not the valencia metro) to Ca’Pepico in about 20 min, in contrast to the Albufuera town rice places, where your only option is a 45 min bus or 40 euro taxi/rideshare.
I haven’t found any particular place to be superior. A nice option is the Mercado de colon, a nice space (not a real market like the grand Mercado) where the ground floor has many eateries, many of which have horchata and/or fartons.
By the way is the Albufera National Park a must see? I was initially planning to go for an arroz meloso (they do one with carabineros) at Duna Saler and then to the park after but it is a bit of a schlepp and a costly cab ride out there which also eats into the other eating and sights closer to town.