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Hola Valencia’s Top Five: Restaurants

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This was a really difficult list to compile, as we’ve been to a lot of restaurants during our time in Valencia. We tried to get include a good mix, from traditional Valencian to sushi. We operate on a budget, so you won’t find any wallet-smashers on this list (nor, for that matter, anywhere else on our site!) If you’ve not visited any of our top five, wait no longer! Here they are, in no order:

El Albero

One of the first restaurants we discovered in the city, El Albero is a great place for dinner, serving up a huge array of Andalusian tapas. Always busy, the place is small but offers outside seating.

Calle de Ciscar, 12
Our Review of El Albero

Las Cuevas

Extremely popular with Valencians, the windy, dark interior of Las Cuevas does just to its name. They offer an interesting menú of tapas that combines popular favorites with other more unique items. Don’t miss the flaming rum-soaked chorizos!

Calle Samaniego, 9
Our Review of Las Cuevas

Ao Yama

Possibly the best lunchtime deal in the city, Ao Yama is a Japanese sushi restaurant, offering unlimited food for a small price. As long as you keep packing it down, they’ll keep bringing the sushi and other great dishes like chicken in orange sauce and grilled shrimp.

Calle Joaquín Costa, 3
Our Review of Ao Yama

Al-Balansíya

The best Arabian meal in Valencia can be found in the University district, in Al-Balansíya. The plates full of authentic and delicious Arabian food just keep coming in this popular locale. Baba ganoush… chicken tajín… groan.

Paseo de las Facultades, 3
Our Review of Al-Balansíya

La Utielana

Home Cookin From Mama! This restaurant, in the heart of the city, is so popular that you’ll have to take a number before getting your table. Incredible Valencian eats at outrageously good prices, with an open kitchen and a fleet of matronly waitresses attending to your every need. We’ve been back a lot.

Plaza Picadero de Dos Aguas
Our Review of La Utielana

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July 26, 2010 at 12:57 pm Comments (2)

La Bulería – Flamenco & Dinner

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There aren’t a lot of Flamenco joints in Valencia, but those that do exist boast a high level of quality. We recently checked out La Bulería, near the Ciudad de Artes y Ciencas, and had a great time.

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La Bulería provides a classier evening than Radio City or El Duende, and seems to be especially popular among sharply-dressed young adults trying to impress their dates. The comfortable and perfectly-lit dining room is small, which provides every table has an unobstructed view of the stage, and means that reservations are essential.

We sat down at 9pm, and had a wonderful meal… meats and cheese, and a salad to start, followed by an incredible roast cooked in red wine sauce, accompanied by potatoes. Delicious. Once we had polished off the dessert, a generous piece chocolate mousse cake, we lingered over our wine, enjoying the animated vibe in the room, and waited for the show to begin.

We didn’t have to wait long. As soon as everyone was done with their meals, the performers took the stage and put on an awesome show, split into two acts. Very dramatic, and a bit more flamboyant than the flamenco we’ve seen before. Two beautiful dancers joined a singer and guitarist on stage, and their performance simply didn’t have a boring moment. Laughing, smiling and shouting “¡Olé!” at each other, they were clearly having a ball, and that energy carried over into the crowd.

We can definitely recommend La Bulería, especially if you’ve got a new date you’d like to make a splash with. The full dinner and show will set you back €45 per person, though menus start at just €30, which is a decent price for an unforgettable evening.

La Bulería’s Website (in English & Spanish)
Calle Obispo Jaime Pérez 24, 46006
Location on our Valencia Map
963 153 058

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La Flamenca Tapas Bar Valencia


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June 8, 2010 at 1:46 pm Comment (1)

The Glory of the Baroque: San Juan de la Cruz

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A couple weeks ago, we visited the Iglesia de San Martín and were introduced the Glory of the Baroque — Valencia’s incredible effort to restore a number of central churches to their former glory. This past weekend, we had a chance to see a 2nd church given the treatment: San Juan de la Cruz, on C/ Poeta Querol 6.

golden-Maria

It’s hard to imagine, but the newly restored interior of this church — closed for renovation for the last 50 years — is even more remarkable than San Martín. Again, gold and white are the dominant colors. The church’s interior is absolutely resplendent and truly captures the glory of the days of the kingdom.

La Iglesia de San Juan de la Cruz was one of the first Christian churches constructed after James I’s conquest of Valencia. As was often the case, it was built on top of a former mosque. The current form of the church dates from the early 17th century.

The Glory of the Baroque runs until September of this year, and if you’re in Valencia, it’s an absolute must-see.

Location on our Valencia Map

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May 27, 2010 at 6:30 pm Comment (1)

Restaurante Al-Balansíya

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Although it’s difficult to find, Restaurante Al-Balansíya rewards the intrepid with possibly the best Arabic food in Valencia, at very reasonable prices. We enjoyed the menú desgustación “Sherezade” for €20/person on a Saturday afternoon. Let’s see… what all did we get… [gathers deep breath]

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An incredible salad and breads, hummus, baba ganoush, olives, a cinnamon fideo dish, cous-cous, chicken tayin with almonds, a strange lemon drink, two bottles of non-alcoholic wine (this being an Arabic restaurant, there is no alcohol on the menu), a plate of sweet and sticky desserts, and tea to wash it all down.

I was full midway through the meal! But everything was so delicious, I had to continue chowing down.

The decor and ambiance of Al Balansíya rivals the food as the restaurant’s best quality. Arabic tiles and a little fountain greet diners, and you can grab some fennel or black tea to munch on your way out. The staff is friendly, and stays out of the way, except for when piling even more food upon the table.

By the way, did you notice what the name sounds like when pronounced out loud? Balansíya was the Arabic name for Valencia, and this restaurant honors that heritage. We had a great time here, and wholly recommend it to anyone searching for good Arabic food. Don’t forget to make reservations, though! This place is popular.

Restaurante Al-Balansíya
Paseo de las Facultades, 3
46021 Valencia, Spain
96 389 08 24
Location on our Valencia map
http://www.balansiya.com/

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May 10, 2010 at 10:39 am Comments (2)

Casa Botella Taberna – Excellent Cooking in Ruzafa

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Ruzafa is certainly at no loss for great restaurants. Diners can find just about anything here, from decent budget food for the impoverished, to fancy cuisine for the wealthy. Comfortably occupying the middle ground is the Casa Botella Tavern, near the Mercado Ruzafa. Putting a unique spin on traditional rice & stew dishes, it’s an excellent and affordable (€12) menú del día.

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Show up on time! By 15h, you’ll have a hard time finding a table. Casa Botella is both popular and small. The menú del día is a bit different than the traditional two plates of other restaurants. You’ll start with a homemade cream. I chose cream of lentil, with caviar, and it was interesting, in a good way. A fresh salad is brought for the table to share before the main dish, usually a rice dish or stew. I had a rich rice dish with spinach, cod and raisins… delicious. Juergen enjoyed gazpacho manchego.

As its name suggests, Casa Botella is also proud of its small wine list. Drinks aren’t included in the menú del día’s price, so be aware of that. Our waiter was friendly and helpful, and spoke English, which was nice because the dishes were so unique. Enjoy the pictures of our food, and check out the restaurant! We can definitely recommend it.

Casa Botella’s Website
Pintor Salvador Abril, 28
654 849 333
Location on our Valencia Map

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Unique tapas in Valencia

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