If you’re a foodie, Valencia is the perfect destination for you. This Spanish city has so much delicious, high-quality, and authentic cuisine that it’s no wonder that it’s becoming such a hot spot for local and international tourists alike. From Michelin-starred restaurants to local corner bars and everything in between, Valencia really does have it all.
(Trust me, I live here! And it’s a really tough mission to try as much of the food as possible, as I’m sure you can imagine…)
Of course, paella, the most famous dish in Valencia, is a must-try. But there are plenty of others too, from seafood to sweet snacks to fresh produce straight from the farms surrounding the city, meaning you definitely won’t leave here hungry.
And that’s not even mentioning the tapas in Valencia! While this part of the country isn’t actually widely known for its tapas (that’s more Andalucia’s thing), the tapas options are still seriously good and should be high on your plan of things to try.
But the best part? You can enjoy all of this food while taking in the beautiful sights and sounds of the city!
Best food in Valencia to try
1. Paella Valenciana
When visiting Valencia, you simply cannot miss the opportunity to savor the city’s most emblematic dish, Paella Valenciana.
This traditional rice-based delicacy is just as good as its reputation suggests, combining the enticing aroma of saffron with the visual appeal of colorful, fresh ingredients, and, of course, the mouth-watering flavors that make it a true culinary masterpiece.
While you may be used to the seafood version of paella, the local one – or Paella Valenciana – is actually prepared with chicken, rabbit and snails. When combined with the rice, green beans and a few other items, they’re all cooked to perfection in a shallow, wide paellera pan over an open fire.
The result is a satisfying, one-of-a-kind meal that will leave you craving more. You can even eat like the locals and ask for spoons for everyone to eat directly from the large pan placed in the middle of the table!
(Just make sure you only eat this for lunch – paella for dinner is a big no-no in Spain!)
2. Horchata and Fartons
For a truly authentic taste of Valencia, look no further than the delightful combination of Horchata and Fartons. This refreshing duo is the perfect antidote to a warm Mediterranean day, and a must-try for any visitor looking to immerse themselves in local flavors.
Horchata, a chilled drink made from tigernuts, water, and sugar, boasts a unique, creamy texture and subtle sweetness that will instantly quench your thirst. You may have heard of this as a Mexican drink, but the two only share a name, with the ingredients being completely different.
Pair your horchata with a fluffy, sugar-dusted farton, a long, soft pastry specifically designed for dipping into the drink. As you savor the sweetness of the horchata-soaked farton, you’ll quickly understand why this beloved pairing has been a Valencian favorite for generations.
One of the best places to try horchata and fartons is at Horchatería Santa Catalina, located in the heart of Valencia’s Old Town. This cafe is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, and for good reason. The horchata here is made fresh daily and the fartons are baked to perfection.
If you’re a fan of paella but are looking for something a bit different, then Fideuà is the perfect dish for you! This enticing Valencian creation offers a delightful alternative to traditional rice-based paella, swapping out the rice for short, thin noodles that absorb the flavors of the dish beautifully.
Fideuà is typically prepared with an array of fresh seafood, such as shrimp, squid, and mussels, all cooked in a savory broth infused with saffron and paprika. The result is a delectable, hearty meal that showcases the best of Valencia’s coastal ingredients.
(In fact, dare I say it…it’s often even yummier than paella, in my opinion!)
When you order fideuà at a restaurant, it’s typically served in a paella pan and is meant to be shared with a group. It’s a great way to experience the Valencian food culture and enjoy a meal with friends and family.
For a taste of Valencia’s sweeter side, be sure to indulge in the irresistible buñuelos. These scrumptious, deep-fried dough balls are a local favorite, especially during the annual Las Fallas festival in March.
However, don’t worry if you can’t time your visit then, because they can still be found at bakeries and street food vendors throughout the year.
Light, fluffy, and golden brown, buñuelos are often dusted with a sprinkling of sugar or drizzled with honey, providing the perfect balance of sweetness and crunch. Enjoy them on their own, or pair them with a warm cup of hot chocolate for a truly decadent experience.
As you bite into these delightful treats, you’ll understand why they hold a special place in the hearts (and stomachs) of Valencians.
5. All i Pebre
For those who appreciate bold, robust flavors, All i Pebre (“garlic and pepper”) is a must-try Valencian dish. This traditional stew features tender pieces of eel cooked in a rich, aromatic sauce made from garlic, paprika, and ground almonds, creating a symphony of flavors that will leave your taste buds singing.
I know that not everyone considers eel as their ideal ingredient, but I promise you, give this one a try. It’s honestly really good.
In fact, All i Pebre is a testament to Valencia’s culinary ingenuity, transforming humble ingredients from the Albufera wetlands near the city into a comforting, satisfying meal that will warm you from the inside out. Paired with crusty bread to soak up the delicious sauce, this dish is a wonderful way to experience the heart and soul of Valencian cuisine.
If you’re seeking a lighter option that still packs a flavorful punch, look no further than Esgarraet. This refreshing Valencian salad combines roasted red peppers and salted cod, dressed with a generous drizzle of olive oil and garnished with slivers of garlic.
Its name means “tearing” in Valencian, which refers to the way the two main ingredients are cut with the fingers.
Esgarraet is typically served at room temperature, making it the perfect dish to enjoy on a warm day in Valencia. You can find it being served in many restaurants throughout the city, so it’s easy to sample some.
One of the unique things about esgarraet is that it can also be made with eggplant instead of salt cod. This version is known as esgarraet de bleda, and it’s just as delicious as the original.
7. Agua de Valencia
When you’re in Valencia, there’s one drink you can’t miss: Agua de Valencia. This refreshing cocktail is made with fresh Valencian orange juice, cava (sparkling wine), gin, and vodka. It’s the perfect drink to enjoy on a warm day or to share with friends at a bar or restaurant.
The origins of Agua de Valencia are somewhat disputed, but it’s widely believed that it was first created in the 1950s by a group of Valencian friends who wanted to create a unique cocktail using local ingredients. Today, it’s become a staple of Valencian cuisine and is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.
When you order Agua de Valencia, you can expect a large pitcher filled with the bright orange cocktail. It’s typically served in broad cocktail glasses and is perfect for sharing.
Some bars and restaurants even offer their own twists on the classic recipe, so be sure to try a few different versions. That said, if you want the typical one, check out Cafe de las Horas. It’s known for being one of the best places around to get Agua de Valencia – not to mention that the cafe itself is pretty incredible to look at.
8. Requena-Utiel Wines
If you’re a wine lover, you can’t miss out on visiting the Requena-Utiel wine region during your stay. This wine-growing area, located in the northwest of the province, has been producing exceptional wines for over 2,500 years.
With around 35,000 registered hectares of vineyards in the area, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to taste some of the best wines in the region.
In fact, the Utiel-Requena Denomination of Origin is one of the most important wine regions in the Valencian Community. Whether you prefer a bold, full-bodied red or a crisp, refreshing white, the Requena-Utiel wine region offers something for every palate.
Look out for local grape varieties such as Bobal, which produces lush red wines with dark fruit notes, or the versatile Macabeo, which creates delightful whites perfect for sipping on a warm afternoon.
And if you’re looking for a unique dining experience, there are several restaurants in the Requena-Utiel region that offer wine pairing menus. These menus are designed to complement the flavors of the local wines with traditional Valencian cuisine.
Overall, a visit to the Requena-Utiel wine region is a must for any wine lover visiting Valencia. With its beautiful vineyards, delicious wines, and unique dining experiences, you’re sure to have a great time exploring this wonderful region.
9. Orange Juice
Valencia is famous for its oranges, and for good reason. The Valencia orange is sweet, juicy, and perfect for making fresh orange juice. Whether you’re starting your day with breakfast or looking for a refreshing drink to beat the heat, orange juice is a must-try when you visit Valencia.
Many cafes and restaurants in Valencia serve fresh-squeezed orange juice. It’s a popular choice for breakfast, especially when paired with a pastry or toast. Some cafes even offer a “zumo de naranja natural” (fresh orange juice) as part of a very reasonably priced breakfast combo.
Valencia oranges are also a popular ingredient in cocktails. As just mentioned, Agua de Valencia, a cocktail made with orange juice, cava, vodka, and gin, is a local favorite. It’s perfect for sipping on a sunny afternoon or enjoying with friends at a local bar.
10. Arroz al Horno
Valencia’s love affair with rice dishes doesn’t end with paella; another must-try culinary creation is Arroz al Horno, a comforting oven-baked rice dish that will make you feel right at home.
This hearty meal features short-grain rice combined with succulent pork ribs, morcilla (blood sausage), chickpeas, and tomato, all baked together in a traditional clay pot to infuse the dish with a wonderful depth of flavor.
The dish is perfect for sharing with friends and family, and is often served at large gatherings and celebrations. It’s also a popular menu item at many Valencian restaurants, so be sure to try it out while you’re here.
11. Coca de Llanda
For a taste of Valencia’s sweeter side, be sure to indulge in a slice of Coca de Llanda, a delectable sponge cake that is as comforting as it is delicious. This traditional Valencian dessert is made with simple ingredients such as flour, sugar, eggs, and olive oil, which come together to create a moist, golden cake that’s both light and satisfying.
Coca de Llanda is typically enjoyed with a dusting of powdered sugar, a drizzle of honey, or even a sprinkling of chopped nuts for added texture. You can even pair it with a steaming cup of café con leche or a refreshing glass of horchata for a true Valencian treat.
If you’re a coffee lover, you’ve got to try the Cremaet when you’re in Valencia. This Valencian drink is a unique blend of coffee, brandy, and sugar, topped with a layer of flame-roasted rum. It’s a perfect drink to warm you up on a chilly evening.
The process of making Cremaet is an art form that requires skill and precision. The bartender pours a shot of brandy into a small glass and adds a spoonful of sugar. Then, they light the rum on fire and pour it over the brandy and sugar mixture. Finally, they sprinkle some coffee beans on top and serve it with a slice of lemon or orange peel.
You can find Cremaet in many bars and cafes in Valencia. One of the best places to try this drink is – perhaps unsurprisingly, from the name – at Bar Cremaet, located in the Mestalla neighborhood. They serve a variety of tapas plus other dishes, but their cremaet is a must-try.
13. Arròs a Banda
For seafood enthusiasts looking for a quintessential Valencian rice dish, look no further than Arròs a Banda. This traditional rice dish originated in Alicante and is now a popular dish in Valencia, too.
Arròs a Banda is a dish made with rice cooked in fish stock and served separately from the seafood. The dish is often served with aioli and is a must-try when you’re in Valencia.
That said, many restaurants in Valencia now use a variety of seafood in their Arròs a Banda. Some even add paprika and broad beans to the dish for an extra burst of flavor.
If you’re looking to try Arròs a Banda in Valencia, there are plenty of restaurants that serve this delicious dish. Some of the best places to try it include La Pepica, Casa Carmela, and El Coso del Mar. No matter where you go, be sure to pair your meal with a glass of local wine.
14. Putxero amb Pilotes
When you’re craving a heartwarming meal that showcases Valencia’s culinary diversity, look no further than Putxero amb Pilotes. This comforting stew combines a variety of meats, such as beef, pork, and chicken, with vegetables like chickpeas, green beans, and potatoes, all simmered together in a savory broth infused with herbs and spices.
The star of the dish, however, is the “pilotes” – large, tender meatballs made from a mixture of ground meats, breadcrumbs, and spices. It’s perfect for a cold winter day or a special occasion.
15. Blanco y Negro
When you’re in Valencia, you simply can’t leave without trying the famous and delicious Blanco y Negro bocadillo. This traditional dish takes its name from the two types of sausages used in its preparation – longaniza (white sausage) and morcilla (black blood sausage with onions).
But that’s not all – other ingredients such as alioli (garlic mayo), tomato sauce, green garlic, and broad beans are often added to enhance the flavor.
The Blanco y Negro is a popular almuerzo (sort of like a pre-lunch snack that’s popular in Valencia) and you can find it in most bars and cafes across the city. It’s typically served as a bocadillo, which is a type of sandwich made with a baguette.
The contrast of the savory morcilla and the milder white botifarra makes for a mouth-watering experience that you won’t forget anytime soon.
16. Pepito Valenciano
If you’re looking for a hearty and delicious sandwich to try in Valencia, look no further than the Pepito Valenciano. This sandwich is a local favorite and can be found in many cafes and restaurants throughout the city.
The sandwich is made with a crusty roll and filled with a variety of savory ingredients, with the traditional Pepito Valenciano being made with ham, chorizo, and morcilla, a type of blood sausage. The meats are cooked together and then piled onto the roll.
The sandwich is then topped with a generous amount of mayonnaise, which gives it a creamy and tangy flavor.
While the traditional version is delicious, there are also many variations of the Pepito Valenciano that you can try.
For instance, some cafes and restaurants offer the sandwich with different types of meats, such as chicken or beef. Others add vegetables or cheese to the sandwich for a unique twist on the classic recipe.
If you have a sweet tooth, then you cannot leave Valencia without trying turrón. This dessert is a staple in the region and is made with honey and almonds. It’s believed to have originated in the south of Valencia around the 15th century.
There are two types of turrón: hard and soft. The hard turrón, also known as turrón duro de Alicante, is made with whole almonds, egg whites, sugar, and honey.
On the other hand, the soft turrón, or turrón blando de Jijona, is almost like a sweet paste or butter.
Turrón is typically consumed during Christmas time in Valencia (and many other parts of Spain). In fact, it has become a part of the Christmas decorations in most Valencian homes.
You’ll often find it on a stainless tray with a paper doily between the crib and the festive bottle of Ponche Caballero.
When it comes to turrón, the variety of flavors and textures is endless. You can find turrón with chocolate, coconut, and even fruit. But no matter what flavor you choose, turrón is a must-try food in Valencia.
When looking for a dish that truly represents the flavors of Valencia, then you must try Espardenyà. This Valencian dish is a unique mix of seafood, meat, and vegetables that showcases the region’s agricultural roots.
After all, just check out the list of its ingredients: eel, chicken, rabbit, potato, paprika, garlic, chili pepper, oil, and even a poached egg.
Espardenyà originated in the orchard area of Sueca and Albufera. Former fishermen from the area used to make this dish with the catch of the day and whatever ingredients they had on hand.
Today, Espardenyà is a staple dish in Valencian cuisine and can be found in many restaurants throughout the region. You’ll find that every chef has their own unique take on Espardenyà. Some restaurants use different types of seafood, while others add their own twist to the dish.
One thing is for sure, though – no matter where you try it, Espardenyà is a dish you won’t forget.
19. Pasteles de Boniato
For an extra taste of Valencia’s seasonal delights, be sure to sample the delicious Pasteles de Boniato, a traditional sweet pastry filled with a smooth, spiced sweet potato filling. These scrumptious pastries are especially popular during the autumn and winter months, when the sweet potatoes are at their peak.
The combination of the flaky, golden pastry and the warmly spiced sweet potato filling creates a comforting treat that is perfect for enjoying with a hot cup of coffee.
You can find Pasteles de Boniato in many cafes and restaurants in Valencia. If you want to try the best Pasteles de Boniato, head to the traditional bakeries in the city. These bakeries have been making these pastries for generations and have perfected the recipe.
20. Arròs amb fesols i naps
What, you thought we were done with rice dishes? On the contrary, if you really want to try food in Valencia that’s near the locals’ hearts, make sure you check out the comforting and flavorful Arròs amb Fesols i Naps (“rice with beans and turnips”), a traditional recipe that highlights the region’s agricultural bounty.
This hearty dish features short-grain rice simmered with tender white beans, succulent turnips, and a medley of aromatic herbs and spices.
Arròs amb Fesols i Naps is a delicious example of Valencia’s ability to transform humble ingredients into an incredibly satisfying meal. Enjoy this dish on its own or with a side of crusty bread to soak up the savory broth, and let the warmth and heartiness of Arròs amb Fesols i Naps serve as a delectable testament to Valencian cuisine.
When Should I Eat in Valencia?
Valencia is a city that loves to eat, and you’ll find plenty of restaurants and cafes open at all hours of the day. Whether you’re looking for a quick breakfast, a leisurely lunch, or a late-night dinner, you’ll find plenty of options to choose from.
Breakfast is an important meal in Valencia, and you’ll find plenty of cafes and bakeries serving up fresh pastries, coffee, and other morning treats. If you’re looking for a traditional Valencian breakfast, try a cup of horchata and a few fartons. Horchata is a refreshing drink made from tiger nuts, and it’s a popular morning beverage in Valencia.
Lunch is the main meal of the day in Valencia, and it’s typically eaten between 2 pm and 4 pm. Many restaurants offer a menu del dia, which is a fixed-price menu that includes several courses and a drink. This is a great way to try a variety of Valencian dishes without breaking the bank.
When it comes to dinner, Valencians tend to eat later than most Europeans. Many restaurants don’t start serving dinner until 8 pm or later, so be prepared to adjust your eating schedule if you’re used to eating earlier. Dinner is typically a lighter meal than lunch, and many restaurants offer tapas and other small plates.
If you’re looking for a traditional Valencian meal, be sure to try paella. This rice dish is typically eaten for lunch, especially on Sundays, when many Valencian families gather around a large home-cooked paella. The original recipe is called paella Valenciana and uses ingredients such as chicken, rabbit, snails, rice, green beans, and huge local white beans called garraf ó.
Overall, Valencia is a city that loves to eat, and you’ll find plenty of restaurants and cafes open at all hours of the day. Whether you’re looking for a quick breakfast, a leisurely lunch, or a late-night dinner, you’ll find plenty of options to choose from.
What is Valencia’s most popular dish?
Easily the most popular dish in Valencia is the paella, which is a staple in any Valencian lunch (yes, it’s not eaten for dinner!). However, while the seafood version may be more well known overseas, the traditional paella Valenciana is actually made with chicken, rabbit and snails.
As the crème de la crème of Valencian cuisine, this mouth-watering dish is the pride and joy of the city, with its history deeply rooted in the region.
Paella is a beautiful symphony of flavors, created by combining saffron-infused rice with an array of local ingredients – which, as mentioned, can include anything from chicken, rabbit, and snails to fresh seafood like shrimp, mussels, and clams.
What sets Valencian paella apart from its counterparts elsewhere is its adherence to tradition, with the use of local ingredients, open-fire cooking, and special paella pans called “paelleras.”
Sharing a steaming plate of paella with friends or loved ones is an experience not to be missed on your culinary adventure through Valencia!
What food is Valencia famous for?
Paella is definitely the food that Valencia is most famous for, although many people around the world also know about the city for its iconic oranges. In fact, if you come at the right time of the year, you’ll see oranges filling the trees that line the city’s streets, making for a beautiful sight.
In addition to the iconic paella, Valencia boasts a plethora of delectable dishes that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. Here are a few highlights to whet your appetite:
- Fideuá: Similar to paella, fideuá is a scrumptious noodle-based dish cooked with seafood, saffron, and a savory broth. If you’re a fan of pasta and seafood, this dish is a must-try!
- Horchata and Fartons: Looking for a refreshing treat? Sip on a glass of horchata, Valencia’s famous chilled drink made from tigernuts, sugar, and water. Don’t forget to pair it with a delicious farton, a soft, elongated pastry perfect for dipping.
- Arroz al Horno: This hearty oven-baked rice dish is a comforting staple in Valencian households. It’s typically made with rice, garbanzo beans, tomato, sausage, and sometimes even ribs or blood sausage.
- All i Pebre: For those who enjoy bold flavors, all i pebre is a must-try. This traditional Valencian stew features tender eel cooked in a rich sauce made from garlic, paprika, and ground almonds.
- Turron: Satisfy your sweet tooth with a piece of turron, a classic Valencian dessert made from almonds, honey, and egg whites. With its crunchy and chewy texture, it’s the perfect ending to any meal.
Why is Valencia famous for paella?
Valencia’s enduring love affair with paella is rooted in the region’s rich history, abundant natural resources, and strong cultural identity. Dating back to the 18th century, paella emerged as a humble dish that was born out of the need to create a satisfying meal from readily available ingredients.
Farmers and laborers in the region began using local products, such as rice, vegetables, and proteins like chicken or rabbit, to create a nourishing one-pot meal that could be easily cooked over an open fire.
The foundation of paella lies in the rice, which is grown in the fertile lands of the Albufera lagoon, located just south of Valencia. This rice absorbs flavors beautifully, making it the perfect base for this iconic dish.
Furthermore, the use of saffron, a precious and aromatic spice, gives paella its characteristic golden hue and earthy undertones.
Over the years, paella has evolved and expanded its reach, with different variations popping up across Spain and beyond. However, Valencia remains the undisputed birthplace of this celebrated dish, and its passion for paella is evident in the city’s numerous festivals and competitions that showcase the art of paella-making.
What is a typical Spanish breakfast in Valencia?
In Valencia, a typical Spanish breakfast is a delightful way to start the day, offering both sweet and savory options that cater to a range of tastes. A traditional breakfast spread might include the following:
- Pan con Tomate: This simple yet flavorful dish consists of freshly toasted bread rubbed with ripe tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with a pinch of salt.
- Tostada con Jamón: For a heartier option, try a tostada topped with thin slices of jamón serrano, a dry-cured Spanish ham that adds a rich, savory touch to your morning meal.
- Churros or Porras: Indulge your sweet tooth with these fried dough pastries, which are often served with a side of warm, thick hot chocolate for dipping. Churros are smaller and more delicate, while porras are larger and airier.
- Café con Leche: A steaming cup of café con leche, or coffee with milk, is the perfect accompaniment to any Spanish breakfast, providing a comforting and energizing start to the day.
What dessert is Valencia known for?
Valencia’s vibrant culinary scene also extends to the realm of dessert, with one of its most famous sweet treats being turron. This traditional confection dates back to the Moorish period in Spain and has been a beloved dessert in Valencia for centuries.
Turron is made from a delicious combination of almonds, honey, sugar, and egg whites, resulting in a chewy, nougat-like consistency. It’s typically enjoyed during the holiday season but can also be found throughout the year in various forms, such as turron ice cream or turron cake.
Whether you prefer the classic Jijona (soft) or Alicante (hard) varieties, this almond-laden delight is sure to satisfy your cravings for something sweet.
What is Valencia’s most famous drink?
Valencia’s most famous drink is definitely horchata. This traditional Valencian drink, made from tiger nuts (chufa), water, and sugar, has been enjoyed in the region for centuries. Horchata boasts a sweet, milky taste and a smooth, creamy texture that makes it the perfect way to cool down on a warm day.
The history of horchata in Valencia can be traced back to the Moorish period when tiger nuts were first introduced to the region. Today, the charming town of Alboraya, located just outside Valencia, is considered the heartland of horchata production.
Make sure to visit one of Valencia’s many horchaterías to experience this delightful drink, and don’t forget to pair it with a farton, a fluffy, elongated pastry that’s perfect for dipping into your horchata.
What is the most well known Spanish dish that originated in Valencia?
There’s no doubt that the most well-known Spanish dish hailing from Valencia is the iconic paella. This exquisite rice dish has captured the hearts of food lovers around the world with its vibrant flavors, colorful presentation, and rich cultural history.
Paella originated in the fertile region around Valencia, where ingredients like rice, vegetables, and proteins such as chicken, rabbit, or seafood were readily available. The dish has since evolved to include numerous regional variations, with Valencian paella remaining the gold standard for traditionalists.
When visiting Valencia, make sure to indulge in an authentic, open-fire cooked paella, served in a special shallow pan called a “paellera,” to truly appreciate this culinary masterpiece.
What is the famous fruit of Valencia?
Valencia is synonymous with citrus fruits, particularly the world-famous Valencian oranges. They’re prized for their sweet, juicy, and tangy flavors, making them the perfect ingredient for a range of culinary delights, from freshly squeezed orange juice to a famous cocktail named after the city.
The fertile soil and Mediterranean climate of the Valencian region create ideal conditions for growing citrus fruits, and the local orange industry has thrived for centuries. Today, Valencian oranges are exported all over the world and have become a symbol of the region’s agricultural bounty.
While in Valencia, be sure to treat yourself to a taste of these famous oranges, whether in the form of a refreshing juice or in an agua de Valencia, the cocktail that this area is known for.
The intense flavor and vibrant color of Valencian oranges will leave a lasting impression on your palate and serve as a sweet reminder of your visit to this beautiful city.