where to have the best food experiences in valencia
As Valencia is the homeland of paella, it's the ideal place for any foodie to visit. However, there is a lot more to the city than this traditional rice dish. Valencia is also home to the largest indoor food market in Europe, as well some unusual dishes which you won't get anywhere else in Spain.
In the 3 weeks we spent here, we ate our way around the city and wanted to enjoy as many foodie experiences as possible! These are all our foodie recommendations, and a guide on where you can have the best food experiences in Valencia.
1. try horchata & fartons
Despite the funny name given to this Valencian snack, it is a must-try whilst in the city! Horchata is a cold drink made from chufa nuts and is wonderfully refreshing on a hot day. It is normally
served with a portion of fartons which are a donut-like pastries; you simply dip the farton in the horchata and enjoy!
Before you know, you'll be seeking out this Valencian staple on a daily basis.
2. take a paella cooking class
If you want to learn how to make an authentic paella to impress your friends back home, then a paella cooking class whilst in Valencia is a must! We wrote all about our cooking class experience here, and it's something we couldn't recommend enough!
You'll also learn so much about the dish, its origins and why it is so important to the people of this region.
3. wander around mercado central
Mercado Central is the largest indoor food market in Europe; otherwise known as foodie heaven. Set inside a beautiful open space, with stain-glassed windows and intricate designs, this place is brimming with the most incredible fresh produce. Open Monday to Saturday, you can wander around the market and buy all the ingredients you could ever possibly need. From fresh fish, to delicious cured meats, olive oils, coffee and even a tapas bar by a renowned Michelin starred chef - there is something for everyone to enjoy.
We often managed to fit a visit to Mercado Central into our daily routine, whether it was a quick stop at the best coffee shop in the city, Retrogusto, or picking up our daily supply of fresh fruit and veg.
4. enjoy a glass of agua de valencia
This seemingly harmless drink will have you on the dance floor before you know it, and comes with the additional promise of a sore head in the morning. However, sitting under the Valencian sun on the terrace of a cafe, it is the most perfect accompaniment.
Agua de Valencia is a drink made from fresh orange juice, champagne, gin and vodka, all mixed together in a jug with ice. Despite the alcohol heavy ingredients, the drink is deliciously refreshing and one you should try (with caution!) in Valencia.
5. take a city food tour
So you know that you need to try horchata, and that you would love a sip of Agua de Valencia, but where are the best places to get these things? This very question is the reason we love doing food tours with locals whenever we visit a city; we want to know the inside secrets; where the locals eat and drink.
In Valencia, we done a tour with Tours in Valencia, where our lovely guide Gabriel spent the afternoon showing us the best places to eat and drink in the city. From the horchata place which has been in business for over 50 years, to some of his favourite tapas bars. We believe that local knowledge is the key is really discovering a city, so our afternoon spent with Gabriel was the perfect way to delve a little deeper into Valencian food, and eat how the locals do.
You can check prices and availability for the tour here.
6. enjoy a dinner with a view
If you are looking for something special whilst in Valencia, then an evening of tapas and wine whilst overlooking the City of Arts &Science, is about as special as it comes. We had an incredible evening with Sea Saffron; we got to eat some delicious local dishes which were all created by a local chef using the very best of Valencian produce. And whilst we enjoyed the food and wine, we watched the sunset over the city.
This is the ideal way to end your foodie experience in Valencia, and you can check prices and availability here.
- Where to Find the Best Paella in Valencia
- A Rooftop Tapas & Wine Tasting Experience in Valencia
- 7 Spanish Food Myths: Things You Never Knew About Spanish Food