Sunday, February 21, 2010

Local, Fresh Food - Excellent Spots in Valencia Spain

Here are some truly delicious places to eat while you are in Valencia. If you are a vegetarian you will be able to find  excellent choices at any of these restaurants.

 Since 1951 the Restaurante Navarro has been serving food prepared from the fresh daily central market. They offer traditional and Mediterranean fare with a twist including a delicious Ensalada Vegetariana (vegetarian salad) and a dessert of strawberries in fresh squeezed orange juice (fresas en zumo naranja natural). With indoor and outdoor dining, decorated with local artist’s work, Navarro is conveniently located a few blocks from the Valencia train station and the central Plaza Ajuntament, as well as being down the block from the excellent natural foods store, J. Navarro Terra Verde Herbolario. Reservations for dinner are recommended. For lunch you can often walk in, especially when the weather is nice and the outdoor seating is in use. Restaurante Navarro, c/ Arzobispo Mayoral 5, 46002 Valencia; Tel: 963 529 623; Web:; open for lunch Monday to Sunday from 1:30 to 4:00 pm, and on Saturdays also for dinner from 8:30 to 11:00 pm.

TintoFino is a gem hidden in the back streets of the old part of Valencia not far from the Plaza de la Reina. With very friendly and helpful staff, TintoFino is a blend of the funky and the fine, with mismatched chairs for seating and fresh local foods prepared almost before your eyes. They offer in the range of one hundred wine choices and have daily specials as well as divine regular menu choices like the Capricho – melted mild brie-like goat cheese with tomato jam on top and a memorable homemade cheesecake somewhat to-die-for – fresh and not sweet with a sauce from local berries resembling wild blueberries. Smoking is not allowed in the restaurant part, but is allowed in the separate bar area. This is a popular place with locals so it fills up quickly – if you get there “early” between 8:30 and 9:00 pm you should have no problem getting a seat. TintoFino, c/ Corregeria 38, 46001 Valencia; Tel: 963 153 964; Web:; open for dinner 8:30 to 11:00pm. 

La Luna is a vegetarian restaurant tucked in the warren of small streets in the old part of Valencia not far from the landmark Torres de Quart (Quart Towers pronounced Cuart). They offer an a-la-cart menu as well as a menu del dia in the 8 euro range.  My favorite part of the meal was the “carrot cake” tarta de zanhoria made with fresh carrots and coconut, not wheat and cream cheese– very different and delicious! La Luna is a little cave-like with blue and white, local tile lining the walls. The downstairs seating is non-smoking, upstairs is smoking – but I never knew there was smoke in the building until I went upstairs to use the aseo (toilet). La Luna, c/ San Ramon 23, 46003 Valencia; Tel: 963 922 146; open Monday to Saturday from 1:30 to 4:30pm/8:00 to midnight. 

Casa Montaña has been around since 1836 in the old area of El Cabañal out by the Valencia port and beach. They serve a variety of typical local tapas dishes (no entrees) including especially good grilled fresh sardines and patatas bravas (cut potatoes served with spicy ketch-up like sauce and garlic aioli). You can take the bus or metro if you are staying in the old part of the city, but I advise bringing a map with you as it is not on the main drag, but rather a bit concealed in this old fishing neighborhood of Valencia.
Casa Montaña, c/Jose Benlliure 69, 46011 Valencia; Tel: 963 672 314; Web:; open Monday to Saturday (12:30 to 3:30 on Saturday) 1:00 to 3:30pm/8:00 to 11:30 pm, Sunday from 12:30 to 3:30 pm. Reservations recommended. Closed the second half of August for vacation.

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