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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]


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


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

First Feria de Gastronómica in Valencia

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2009 has been Valencia’s year of “firsts”. The first ATP tennis tournament, US style rodeo, and Oktoberfest were among the highlights.

So now, Valencia presents the very first Feria de Gastronómica. It’s the same concept as the wine fest or the tapas fair. You buy food & beverage stamps which allow you to sample from different stands.

It’s a feast and if you see something you like you can buy larger amounts of it. Mmm, those cheeses … delicious!

Feria Gastronómica runs until this Sunday and it’s located inside Plaza de Toros.

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November 12, 2009 at 7:49 pm Comments (0)

Bar Damas – Alleyway Eating at its Finest

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Blink and you’ll miss it, as you’re walking away from the heavy traffic and commotion of Calle La Paz towards the relative tranquility of the Plaza del Colegio del Patriarca. In fact, even if you do see Bar Damas, tucked away on an nondescript little alley, you’d be forgiven for walking briskly by it. We encourage you, however, not to do so. This tiny bar is one of the area’s highlights — the leisure and comfort of a village pub, in a neighborhood otherwise too busy to rest.

Every morning this bar is packed full with people on their way to work. Everyone seems to know each other, and nobody minds the somewhat grimy ambiance of the alley. In the summer, you’ll be lucky to find a place to sit outside, even though Bar Damas offers no view apart from the brick building just a couple meters away.


As to why it’s so popular… it’s difficult to say! The coffee is extremely good, the breakfasts are cheap, the service is friendly. Maybe it’s the combination which encourages patrons to keep returning. It worked on us.


We recently went for lunch, for the first time. It was as delicious and simple as we expected it to be — paella, arroz del horno (rice from the oven), grilled chicken, wine — all the staples of a basic Valencian diet, present and accounted for. Bar Damas isn’t a restaurant of surprises, but of familiar, comfortable food in cozy surroundings. To find the dining room, you have to go into the bar, towards the back, and up a clandestine flight of stairs. Once on the second floor, you’d wonder whether you’ve walked into the proprietor’s living room, if not for the tables.


The menú del día is €9.50, and includes everything you’d probably expect — two plates, drink, bread, dessert and coffee. It’s an excellent escape for busy people, and highly recommended.

Location on our Valencia Map

Calle De Las Damas
46002 Valencia

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January 15, 2009 at 5:15 pm Comments (0)