Ahhh! The rumble of the tummy!
Valencians eat five times a day Desayuno, Breakfast, early in the morning. Almuerzo, a mid-morning snack - consisting of a filled baguette, a glass of wine or beer, coffee and often a brandy (often mixed into a small strong, black coffee as a carajillo). Comida, lunch at around 2.30pm - 3 courses, bread, wine or beer folowed by more coffee or a carajillo. Merienda, teatime, often a doughnut and milk or more coffee, or Horchata and Fartons (more on this later). and Cena, dinner, eaten at around 22.30 and consisting of much the same as lunch - A healthy mediterranean diet.
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It was raining cats and dogs as I ran up the flooded streets of the Barrio del Carmen to meet a friend at the 'Taberna Española' La Salvaora. I have passed this restaurant countless times over the past year, always mentally making a note to try it out, but so far not being able to fit in a visit. I have heard and read great things about it, friends have told me to go, but this was to be a first visit for both of us. I walked in slightly early (very unusual for me) to find M already there and was met by Blanco, one of the owners, who showed me to where M was sitting. We chatted and then Blanco returned to tell us a little about the place. The walls are lined with pictures of Flamenco stars from the mid nineteenth century to present, many of the latter day ones feature Blanco, a Flamenco afficianado, with the stars. The idea of the place was Tapas and Flamenco, with the emphasis on good Spanish food.
I had very few expectations, I knew that the food and ambience were reportedly good, but beyond that nothing. M and I were in for a rare treat. Blanco's business partner Jaime is Maitre D', A charming animated and talkative guy who was only too pleased to be asked by us to choose our dishes. He chose well.
First came an amuse bouche of 'Morcilla de Burgos' in filo pastry. Followed by a sublime ham from Extramadura, beautifully presented on a square white platter and accompanied by Toast and Tomato. Then came a delicious 'Pulpo a fiera' (boiled and then griddled with pimiento and potato). That was followed by A Foie Mi-Cuit with apple marmalade. Then came a cream of Cigala soup! And it was delicious. For the main course (as if I really needed one) I opted for the Rabo de Buey cooked in Rioja wine, I have never seen a portion so big, M went for the Bacalao which was served looking almost like a terrine. We drank an excellent Enrique Mendoza Reserva Cabernet Syrah from Alicante. Jaime forced us to have a pudding - A chocolate sponge, chocolate Ice cream and a Bailey's mousse, so we had to eat it - and a glass of mistela to round off a near perfect meal. Everything was beautifully prepared and presented, the service was impeccable and the overall ambience of La Salvaora was a delight. The wine list is well priced and the wines all have helpful and well-written descriptions.
La Salvaora is open Tuesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner. At lunch they offer an excellent value 10 euro menu with a choice of two starters and two mains with a dessert. Expect to pay around 30-40 euros per head for an a la carte meal with wine.
M and I staggered off into the still pouring Valencian afternoon ready for siestas in our respective homes, well, after all that work tucking into great food, we felt we deserved it!
Tuesday to Saturday Lunch and Dinner
C/Catalans 19 (Just off C/Caballeros)
Reservations 96 392 1484
Menu del dia 10 euros
I arrived, on a really cold night, with my friend Lolita. For once we were on time for our 10pm booking (neither of us are terribly punctual people) and found a long queue had already formed, though once we had caught the Maitre D's eye were soon seated. We were shown to a table quite close to the front door which unfortunately meant that we had people in the queue standing in front of our table and cold air from outside throughout most of the meal.
We were then presented with the menu and invited to order pre-dinner drinks. The menu is interesting and mercifully short - I always worry when there are two many items on a menu, it's probably irrational but I like to think that they cook those few items well..
Lolita and I decided to share a couple of starters and chose Carpaccio and parmesan and an absolutely delicious Aubergine Parmigiano.
L followed this with a Tagliatelli Funghi Porcini, served piping hot and quite delightful. I was intrigued by the beef slices cooked in Worcester Sauce and was not disappointed, the beef was tender and very tasty, I just wish there had been a few vegetables served with it.
Neither of us are great pudding fans, but in the interests of a full review we asked our waiter for his advice. He chose their sampler plate for us. It was a masterpiece, cubes of chocolate cake decorated with spun sugar and a superb Zabaglioni served in a Martini glass.
Bacco D.O.C. deserves its reputation, it was busy the entire evening when we were there. The service was a little slow, so don't go if you are in a hurry.
Next time I would insist on a table away from the door and the queue, perhaps up in the intimate balcony looking over the other punters in complete privacy.
Diana Jean visits a great new Italian on Malvarrosa
Around 15 Euros for lunch
Thisisvalencia.com regularly attend openings and It seems its only the Italians in this city that know how to promote a new restaurant.
The other Saturday night saw the official opening of a lovely new Italian restaurant on Malvarossa, the vivacious Sheree and her partners put on an extravagant feast for its selected guests
The food was superb and flowed all evening, we were attended by charming staff who kept plying us with new flavours to sample. Huge rounds of tasty parmesan to dig out, decorated the food table, wonderful platters of every cold cut you could dream of, with the best rare cold beef I have tasted for a very long time. Delicious roasted vegetables, lovely salads and super fresh and hot piadinis kept appearing regularly from the kitchen. After the initial buffet was enjoyed we were served plates of risotto, this has never been a favourite of mine but always willing to try anything, this turned out to be quite superb, a delicate cheesy rice and a dish I will certainly be ordering in the future! By now absolutely bursting with food we were offered some lasagne, this was fabulous! Full of flavour and cooked to perfection. The bar was more then generous...
Sheree is from New Zealand and first came to Valencia with the America's Cup.
The uncertainty of the future of the AC and the fact that Sheree found that she really liked VLC decided her to stay here and with her team of partners open this restaurant. Sheree is a charming, full- of-fun lady, who if Saturday was anything to go by will front this restaurant fabulously, making everyone welcome and ensuring a great meal and fun atmosphere.
Obviously with so many people and the tables removed for this event, one couldn´t quite see how the place will look on a normal day but it´s a good size seating 50 in and out, and a a nice room at the back for private dinners and parties. Simply decorated, and pictures imported from Italy, good copies of the famous colourful fun images from Botero. The front has a big terrace with seating and heaters, onto the pavement and overlooking the beautiful frontage of the hotel Las Arenas.
Go try this excellent restaurant.
Open daily lunch and dinner
Eugenio Viñes 105, 46011 Valencia 96 372 77 88
Barbara O'Neill Visits this Valencian well-kept secret.
Around 20 Euros for lunch
A blend of restaurant and museum, it’s named for ‘El Famós’, aka Vicente Navarro, it can be found in an old farmhouse set in the Algirós region of ‘La Huerta’, the agricultural green belt that surrounds Valencia city. It was first opened to the public in the early 19th century by Juan Bautista Navarro Dols, to serve wine and food to labourers working in the surrounding fields, many of them living in the clay-walled, rush-roofed ‘barracas’ of which, sadly, few remain.
The restaurant is situated opposite the 17thC Ermita de Vera, a haunt of artists, many of them famous, drawn to its beautiful light-filled chapel and peaceful atmosphere. Their sketches complete, it must have seemed a natural transition to wander into ‘Famós’ for a glass of wine and a tapita of squid or rabbit. The union of peasant and artist was a comfortable one and the restaurant became a place that offered not only good, traditional food but excellent local wines as well; as it does today.
Noisy and fun, this restaurant is a delight. Still run by the Navarro family, who are both helpful and courteous, the paella, melloso and rabbit, still cooked over orange wood fires, are exceptional. The menu is typical Valencian and if you’re not sure what to order, help is at hand. But leave room for the puddings; all home-made, they are delicious.
As you pass through the door there is a strong sense of the past, a feeling that La Casa Famós has changed little since its inception. The clientele are still a mix of workers and artists but don’t be surprised if you find yourself in the company of doctors, lawyers, journalists or even politicians. The atmosphere is friendly and informal. The white-washed walls are covered with the pictures and canvasses of Vicente, their subjects ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous to the interesting to the sinister, all somehow in keeping with the blue and yellow Valencian tiles.
Although it appears to be a well-kept secret, El Famós is extremely popular and booking is a must. The only downside is very limited parking, so be warned.
Ermita de Vera, 14
Tel: 963710 028 or 963556 384 (closed Sunday evening)
The newest addition to the Vicios Italianos family is this beautiful restaurant in Ruzafa. Probably the best looking of all 3 of them in Valencia, it has only been open for a few weeks and is already full every night. Stunning decor, stripped walls, over sized modern art, huge wooden bar and a garden where you can have dinner! The Vicios italianos have done it again and the team here at thisisvalencia.com are very proud of them. With the same kind of menu, but a little pricier, as Al Pomodoro (Calle del mar, 22 - 96 391 48 00) and La Pappardella (Calle Bordadores, 5 - 96 391 89 15), this restaurant has a classier and executive feel to it. Low lighting, open plan and all very white and brown this is the kind of place that will become a regular in your social life. See you there.
Sorsi e Morsi is at Doctor Serrano, 11 ( Barrio Ruzafa), 46004.