7 must food experiences in Valencia, Spain

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7 must food experiences in Valencia, Spain

Daria Gushchenkova, who runs a delicious food tour in Valencia, Spain, shares some mouth-watering ideas on how to have authentic food experiences in this city. Valencia, considered Europe’s garden, is a land of reputable quality produce and is paella’s birthplace!

I had the pleasure to meet Daria via her delicious IG feed, and since then she has become my gastronomic partner to discover Valencia’s best food! Follow our gastronomic dates on our stories on IG @paradisecollector and @delicious_valencia

“Spain was always my preferred destination, and I was very excited when I finally moved to Valencia in 2010. One of the things that make me genuinely happy is travelling the country and discovering all of its cultural diversity and, of course, its food. From its Southern bull’s tail stew and gazpacho, to the elaborate pintxos in the North. I’m in love with Spain!”


1. Rustic Food Experience – Eel Stew On The Lake

A plate of all i pebre. Image source: dasoaz

All i pebre [prounounced as “eye-e-peh-breh”] literally means “garlic & pepper”.

This is a humble Valencian sauce made from just 2 ingredients: roasted in olive oil garlic and spicy powdered paprika pepper. On Lake Albufera this sauce is traditionally used to accompany cooked eel (and most often than not – potatoes).

This simple yet delicious dish was born, just like the world famous paella, on the shores of Lake Albufera. So no wonder that foodies will seek the most authentic all i pebre in one of the villages surrounding the lake: El Saler, El Palmar, Silla, Catarroja, Sollana, Sueca.

All i pebre can be found at some restaurants in the city, too. But why not take a short ride and enjoy a rustic food experience by the lake?

All i pebre

All i pebre

2. The Ultimate Foodie Experience – Tour The Central Market

Spanish cured ham stall at the market. Irresistible!

No food experience in Valencia would be complete without a visit to the Central Market. This is where Spanish moms get their fresh ingredients to cook up a family feast (an everyday kinda thing!).

If you love food, you absolutely must visit the market. It is the largest one in Europe that’s filled to the brim with choice!

There are all kinds of ingredients – this is the best example of products used in the cuisine of Valencia. Tonnes of fruit and vegetables from the nearby gardens and orchards. Cured ham, cheeses… A huge fresh seafood section! Local wines and beers from all over the world…

And! An amazing tapas bar, where fresh produce is transformed into delicious small plates. At Central Bar you can enjoy a different breakfast or lunch every day!

Opening hours: Monday-Saturday, from 7 am until 3 pm. Closed on Sunday and bank holidays.

Central Market in Valencia

Central Market in Valencia

3.  An Authentic Tapas Experience – An Insider’s Food Tour

Guests on my Hidden Gems, Wine & Tapas Tour.

When you visit a foreign country, one of the challenges is without a doubt coming across an authentic food experience.

Popular destinations’ old towns are usually plagued with tourist-oriented restaurants, and Valencia is no exception. For an optimal food experience look for places frequented by locals!

One of the reasons to take my tapas tour is that I take guests on a 3.5 hour walking and eating adventure off the beaten track. Meaning that we visit multiple locally loved tapas & wine bars that the vast majority of tourists never set their foot in. Furthermore, the tour includes a full dinner with dessert AND a history tour…

And I keep groups really small for a tailor-made, intimate food experience.

Delicious Valencia food tour

4. Enjoy Fresh Seafood At A Tiny Bar

Yummy sardines at Tasca Angel.

Tasca Angel is a locally loved low-priced bar that mostly focuses on seafood.

There are few tables, so if you arrive during the rush hour, be prepared to stand (and wait in line).

Seafood lovers should order sepia a la plancha (grilled sepia squid). This is a very popular tapas dish in Valencia. Also, sardinas (sardines) are the house specialty.

Opening hours: Monday-Saturday 10:30AM–3PM, 7:30–11:30PM. Closed on Sunday and bank holidays.



5. Taste Piping Hot Pumpkin Fritters

Valencia’s most traditional sweet snack being freshly made –  “buñuelos de calabaza”. 

Arguably the best pumpkin fritters in town are cooked up at Horchatería Fabian.

Arrive by 6 pm to watch the lady fry them in a big bowl full of hot oil. At this hour you can get them fresh and piping hot.

Dip buñuelos in hot chocolate like locals do, and you might just call yourself a Valencian!

Opening hours vary throughout the year. 



6. A Unique Paella Experience – In A Country House

Eat rice in a “barraca” – at La Genuina Restaurant.

Needless to say, paella is an obligatory food experience in Valencia. And what better way to try it combined with a little cultural tour. So why not have it in a traditional Valencia thatched house barraca!

Located just outside of the city, this is one of very few traditional houses still standing. The rice dishes served here are amazingly delicious.

Paella de marisco

Paella de marisco

Order the typical tapas dish esgarraet for starters. For mains order the original paella – paella valenciana

Another great rice dish at la Genuina is arróz meloso de pato – rice with duck in broth.

Rice dishes are traditionally eaten for lunch. Make sure to make a reservation in advance.

Opening hours: lunch time every day except Sunday.

la-genuina-restaurant7.  An Ultimate Orxata Experience

A glass of tiger nut drink horchata and typical pastry “fartón”.

The typical Valencia’s drink horchata / orxata  is made of tiger nuts – a crop that covers vast fields in Alboraya (just north of Valencia).

Avoid touristy places like Santa Catalina if you are ok with skipping sugar-laden horchata. (Pop in to Santa Catalina though for the traditional painted ceramics that cover the walls).

The authentic local tiger nut drink is naturally sweet and doesn’t require additional sweeteners. If you want to try the real deal head to Casa de Orxata at Mercado Colón (Columbus Market) and ask for horchata natural sin azucar.

One of the foodie things to do in Valencia is to visit the little town of Alboraya, see the tiger nut fields and taste horchata at one of the traditional places such as Horchateria Daniel (open from 4pm until 10pm).

orxata orchata

orxata orchata

And if you would like to learn more about Valencia’s culture and taste the best local tapas (such as the Iberian ham made of free range acorn-fed pigs), join Daria on her food tour in Valencia! You get a 10% off with the code TRAVELLIVE