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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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January 25, 2010 at 2:26 pm Comments (0)

Valencia’s Open Restaurant Week

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… is going on right now! Sorry about the late posting.

From June 15th until Sunday the 21st, 52 of Valencia’s best restaurants are offering great menu deals, as part of a city-sponsored event called VLC Cuina Oberta. There’s a lot of information and a map on their official website.

Each restaurant offers a lunch menu for €18 and dinner for €30. At most of the participating restaurants, this is a great deal. (At others, perhaps not — Al Pomodoro is great, and we can highly recommend going, but it’s not generally a pricey establishment; their normal midweek menú del día is a lot cheaper than €18!)

So, if there’s a restaurant you’ve been avoiding because of its price tag, this is the week to take the plunge. You have to make reservations in advance, specifically stating that you’re interested in the VLC Cuina Oberta menu.

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June 18, 2009 at 6:00 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.

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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.

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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.

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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)