Best restaurants in Valencia Spain

Travel writer, Ben Holbrook, writing notes on his apartment's picturesque Spanish balconyI was lucky enough to be shown around Valencia by two friends who were born and raised in this beautiful part of Spain. Neiser and Pau (pictured at the bottom of this post) shared their local knowledge of this ancient beach city, and made sure Sylvie and I didn’t stumble into any of the local tourist traps.

I promised I would pass on their local recommendations, so here is your inside guide to the best things to do in Valencia, from the best seafront paella restaurants to the best tapas bars and beaches! Ole! Vamos!

1. Relax with breakfast & Valencian orange juice, at Plaza de la Virgen

Drinking oranje juice at breakfast in Plaza de la Virgen, Valencia SpainAcclimatize to the local pace of life, take your time and enjoy the historic sites of this ancient city.

Valencia is famous for its oranges and the streets are filled will beautiful orange trees, offering shade from the sun’s rays whilst you relax in street cafes and bars. Don’t eat them though, the oranges from these trees taste awful! Every morning Sylvie and I would walk to Plaza de la Virgen for breakfast. This lively little square is sheltered by the 14th Century Miquel bell tower of the, the beautiful domed Basilica de Virgen de Los Desamparados, and the 17th Century Palau de Generalitat. And of course, slap bang in the centre is the Turia fountain which represents the waterways that are so vital to this agricultural region of Spain.

Breakfast = ‘Desayuno’: The cafes and terraces of Plaza de la Virgen slowly come to life from around 9am, all offering idyllic views of the square and bargain “desayuno” deals. The typical Valencian breakfast includes a croissant with jam, cheese or ham, a glass of freshly squeezed Valencian orange juice and a cafe con leche (coffee with milk). And all of this will only cost about €3-4.

2. Go to Foodie Heaven at the Ancient Mercat Central de València (Valencia Central Market)

A genuine snapshot of everyday life in Valencia.

This beautifully designed ancient market is typical of great Valencian architecture. Elegant and elaborate, yet somehow utilitarian at the same time. If you’ve explored Barcelona and Madrid before then imagine Mercado de San Miguel of Madrid, not La Boqueria of Barcelona. Sylvie and I wandered everywhere in Valencia trying to find a supermarket before realising that there weren’t any, because everyone comes here, to the Central Market. It’s not just for the tourists, it’s for the community.

Grab a few bags of fresh fruit and nuts to snack on for the rest of the day. Everything comes from the local farms and you’ll find the prices are just as tasty. If you’re feeling particularly cheeky then make sure to grab a glass of cava and a few gourmet tapas at Central Bar. Trendy waitresses with geek-chic glasses, tattoos and dark features serve up haute cuisine from the Michelin star chef and owner, Ricardo Camarena. This is one of those places that’s always buzzing with locals – and when you see the prices, you’ll understand why.

Mercat Central de València - Valencia's foodie heaven The Valencian locals fighting for bargains at the butchers in Valencia's Central Market Farm fresh fruit and vegetables from Valencia's local farms, sold at the Central Market A picture of a girl enjoying the views of Museo de la Sciencias de Valencia in Spain

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