An important part of holiday planning for me if definitely where are we going to eat, if I had my way, for every meal time. So where should you go when eating in Valencia?
Of course, we sampled the eight-course extravaganza at La Salita on my birthday, but that was just one meal. Plenty of other opportunities to try some fantastic food. Turns out with La Salita, we ate at two Michelin starred restaurants in the space of two days. It’s a hard life but someone needs to do it.
Set in the converted food market of Mercardo Colon, tucked downstairs is chef Ricard Camarena domain. Having a collection of restaurants around this city, this it ventures has the focus on the ingredients from the heritage of the food market.
We started with shared starters for the table, because trying just one starter isn’t good enough.
Roast Carrots, Coconuts and Homemade Smoked Salmon. Lightly charred sweet carrots, ribbons of blush orange salmon and sweet nutty coconut chips for a wonderful contrast of flavours and textures.
Roast Aubergine, Hollandaise Sauce, Feta Cheese and Pine Nuts. Aubergine is my favourite vegetable so have to try it when I see it on the menu. Creamy aubergine, lapped with a coat of hollandaise and salty crumbly cubes of feta. Toasted pine nuts scattered over the top to break up the creaminess. Must try to recreate this divine dish at home.
Pesto Basil Croquette. I’m obsessed with croquettes. Seriously obsessed. One of the serious factors for choosing to visit Spain was for these babies. Think it’s the texture of the crisp outer shell and the creamy middle that makes me so happy. Packing full the vibrancy of fresh basil and creamy cheesy joy in the middle.
For the main course, I went for the Roast and Smoke Angus Ribs, Potato Puree and Black Pepper Sauce. And oh boy, was it good! Meltingly tender beef, rib-sticking rich sauce with silky smooth potato. Those who didn’t order the beef, regretted it after we kindly gave them a taste of ours.
When the dessert menu says, Chocolate Cake XXL, I’m not going to bypass the opportunity try it. We may have needed a few spoons to share the absolute cloud chocolate sponge, filled with a rich chocolate ganache and chocolate brownie as a bed. Complete chocolate overload and I loved it. The best way to finish a fantastic meal.
Again surprised when the bill came, that it was a lot lower than we were expecting for such a quality, Michelin starred meal. For three courses, plenty of good Valencian wine and tip, came to 40 euros each. Which you can’t argue at, at all when it’s so good.
For a more casual lunch but no less fantastic food offering, Trece is set in a side street in the Old Town and a great find on the go with 10 hungry adults and 3 well behaved patient children in tow by my friend, who helped take charge of the lunch stop finding.
A selection of homemade croquettes with the flavours changing daily. The three flavours on offer were jambon Iberico, mushroom and morcilla (Spanish black pudding). I tried all three flavours and they just cemented my absolute love those deep fried beauties. I may have eaten four fairly large croquettes before my main course.
For mains, I went for a burger. I rarely actually order burgers when abroad, it seems a cop-out but when it’s topped with crisp Iberico ham, smoked local cheese and marinated sun blushed tomatoes, I’m all in. Served with patas bravas and the most deliciously smoky tomato sauce and aioli. Juicy burger with charred outer to add a depth to the meat even more.
Finishing this midday feast, was a passionfruit cream pot. Tart passionfruit jus on top of a silken set cream, flavoured with more of the heady passionfruit. Flora and sharp to wake up the consumer.
I was so impressed with the food in Valencia and wish I had longer to explore more of their fantastic food scene.