Considering the dish most associated with Spain – paella – is a Valencian invention, it’s no surprise the region has some of the best culinary experiences on offer on the entire Iberian Peninsula. While almost every city claims to be a foodie paradise, there are very few that have the clout this coastal city has, especially when it comes to traditional dishes. If your idea of an excellent holiday is munching your way through a city, then read ahead for our guide to Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner in Valencia.
In the heart of central hipster neighbourhood Ruzafa, this small café brews some of the nicest coffee in Valencia, as well as baking incredible pastries and bread. The breakfast on offer here tends to be quite light, although if you are keen for something more filling there are several options available, including eggs on toast and gut-busting portions of French toast. However, the most Valencian thing to do would be take a pastry or three for your morning.
It’s not just the food and drink that’s exceptional here: the staff are friendly, and even if there is a slight language barrier will deliver on great service. There is some seating outside that catches the sun for most of the morning, so it really is a charming little place to sit back, relax, and people watch with some great food.
Brunch Corner (Sant Brut)
This California-inspired eatery has two venues in Valencia, but the best one is the Sant Brut location. With six years of happy customers, Brunch Corner serves American and British breakfast and brunch classics, using seasonal, local products – including that famous Spanish pork.
The all-day menu is mostly breakfast or sandwich-based, and aside from the Anglicised fare there are some more classic Valencian breakfasts on offer, including pastries and fruit. The specialised brunch menu runs from opening until 4pm, and is full of breakfast staples, like Eggs Benedict and a Full English.
As it is a fairly small venue, you may have to book ahead, but it’s worth it for the great food and nice views of Turia Park. Truly one of the best restaurants in Valencia for breakfast.
Another great breakfast spot in Ruzafa, Café Arysana is one for the vegetarians and plant-based eaters. Despite the region being so big on meat and seafood, Valencia restaurants like this make sure people of all dietary restrictions can have a top-quality meal.
They brew and serve some of the best coffee in Valencia, and they make their own vegan/vegetarian burgers and desserts in-house, so you know they’re going to be delicious. They also offer gluten-free options, which is helpful in a city of pastries.
Simplicity is what makes this such a wonderful example of Valencian food – the best things on the menu are the Tostadas, especially the ones that only have a few (all fresh) ingredients.
This local favourite in the heart of the city delivers astounding food at incredible prices. With a focus on sandwiches, El Rus is proud of its flagship bread that underpins their entire menu. Mediterranean flavours are the biggest inspiration for fillings, and sandwiches can be taken away, but we’d recommend hanging on their beautiful terrace and watching the city pass by.
Although the menu is mostly meat-heavy, they have a decent sized selection for vegans and vegetarians, so everybody can enjoy El Rus. Snack 7 (pork loin, edam, and black pepper) is a simple local favourite, and plant-based eaters should try Snack 49 (chickpea, tomato, and pickle hummus) or the in-house ‘100% Vegetable Hamburger’.
Alqueria del Pou
Lunch in this gorgeous, renovated farmhouse is a must-do if you want to have an unforgettable Valencia restaurant experience. The house itself is surrounded by orchards and fields, although the City of Arts and Sciences is just a short walk away, and there is no better way to spend an afternoon than indulging in the best of local food while under the hazy shade of the outdoor terrace. Make sure to book ahead – it’s popular, but for a reason.
Without a doubt one of the best restaurants in Valencia when it comes to authentic, local cuisine, Asador Pastoret is a local institution. Aside from phenomenal meals, they have a rooftop terrace with a bar, so on those sunny days you can really enjoy the weather (and wine).
At EUR 35, the tasting menu can’t be beaten for value, and you definitely get more than your money’s worth. If you want a more varied affair, then you should try their sandwiches – a local specialty that is full of enough meat and cheese to stuff anybody, and probably one of the most filling meals you’ll have in Spain.
A family restaurant with haute cuisine standards, the Bayarri sisters have crafted a real diamond here in the heart of Valencia. With three generations of recipes behind them, they’ve got a wealth of experience to add to their more modern ideas, and the menu at Navarro shows just how well they’ve melded past and present.
The food is typically Valencian, with plenty of seafood, and they of course do a wide range of paella – the Traditional Valencian is much vaunted. When paired with one of the many excellent Spanish wines and the fantastic hospitality, it truly makes Navarro one of the top Valencia restaurants.
Arroceria Maribel have been making waves recently in the Valencia restaurant community and were the only restaurant in the region to have been awarded the Michelin Bib Gourmand in their 2021 Guide to Spain and Portugal. The reason? Astoundingly good paella, at exceptionally good prices. Also, unlike a lot of other restaurants, they have special catered dishes to vegans – their Paella with marsh samphire gets all the rich, salty taste of a seafood paella, while still being plant-based.
While their other dishes are quite high quality, you’d be remiss to eat anything but a rice-based dish here – whether it’s paella or one of the other types of rice dish they prepare.
Everything is prepared daily, bought as local as possible, and from traditional recipes made even better with modern techniques. A must-visit if you are keen on Valencia’s food, even though it is slightly out of the city in the Albufera area – the birthplace of the paella.
With a history stretching back to 1836, this Valencian restaurant has been a winery and a barracks, and is now a restaurant that makes high quality, high-end Spanish cuisine. While the main thing we’d recommend here is one of the tasting menus, this Valencia restaurant is also fantastic a la carte, and surprisingly reasonable in terms of prices, especially given the quality. The restaurant is tapas style, although there are some main dishes available too.
The tasting menus, however, are great value for money – and take away the stress that sometimes accompanies tapas ordering. The 1836 menus are particularly excellent, harking back to the long history of the restaurant – for EUR 40 (GBP 36) you can’t get much better Valencian food.