Paella by the sea in Valencia, Spain
While many may be familiar with Spanish cities like Madrid and Barcelona, not many may have visited the mediterranean city of Valencia. With its brilliant beaches, futuristic city of arts and astounding cathedrals and churches, you can't miss having Paella in Valencia!
Why in Valencia you may be wondering? While many know what paella is, not many know that this classic rice dish originates from the port city of Valencia!
The climate in Valencia is perfect for growing rice and many Valencians have enjoyed feasting on paella in one form or another for centuries. Today, while paella can be tasted at many restaurants in Spain, the best places to eat paella in Valencia are the same few centuries-old, family-run establishments that locals have favoured for the longest times.
Here we'll share one of the best Paella restaurants in Valencia that we've tried and also include a few others that you could try when in Valencia.
Most paella are usually served with seafood but the actual Valencian-styled Paella are made with chicken, rabbit (yes, they still do it this way!) and local beans. The best place to have valencian-styled paella is at Restaurant Levante. As consuming rabbits were a bit too hard for us to bear, we decided not to have it but have the seafood style instead.
Where to have the best Paella in Valencia, Spain?
So we searched for the best and found one that overlooks the Mediterranean sea! La Pepica is located just a stone's throw away from Playa La Malvarrosa. In summer, you can sit at the outdoor terrace, sip on Agua de Valencia and have the hot piping Paella with a great view of the beach and sea. In the colder winter months, you'll still be able to enjoy that experience as the glass windows elongates the restaurants and gives you that same good view!
La Pepica specialises in seafood paella and has seen many famous guests ever since it started operations in 1898. Ernest Hemingway regularly visits this joint during his time in Spain and even included it in his memoir The Dangerous Summer. La Pepica's vegetable paella, which is still in their menu was created for former Queen Sofia of Spain, who is a vegetarian. Their 'Pepica Paella' which is the same seafood paella that contains peeled seafood was originally made for Spanish painter Joaquin Sorolla. With so much history, there isn't a reason to skip this joint.
Paella is not exactly a cheap meal and most establishments charge about 14 euros and up per person, with a minimum order of 2 pax. La Pepica's variety of paella starts from about 14.40 euros and up, with a minimum order of 2 and we ordered their Pepica Paella! All their rice are made to order so it can take quite a while for your meal to come. You can then start with some starters like fried squid or order some of their Agua de Valencia.
In Valencia, the locals don't drink sangria, they instead drink the Agua de Valencia. This seemingly innocuous orange-based drink is strong. It is a mixture of cava or champagne, with added vodka, gin, and orange juice! Wow, it sure packs a punch!
Soon after, our paella came and this huge platter took up most of the space on our table. Paella is best eaten with a dash of lemon and the savoury and seafood taste soon filled our entire mouths! It was great that we didn't have to peel any of the seafood as well! Best for lazy people like us!
We initially thought that we wouldn't be able to finish it because it is just so huge but it was so good that we almost licked the plates clean! Yummy!
For Asians, paella rice are normally not as soft and fluffy like the ones that we eat at home. The rice here are prepared such that it tastes like your al dente pasta!
For #solotravellers who aren't able to order the paella, you can also try their tasting menu that includes a choice of a starter, a paella for one, dessert and coffee for just 30.49 euros (tax included).
When we were there, we actually saw many locals dining at the restaurant and they seemed that they were regulars. The waiters actually recognise them and even offer them great seats in the restaurant. So even though the establishment is situated in a tourist attraction, it is a great joint that the locals eat at!
Passeig de Neptú, nº 6, 46011 València, Spain
Opening Hours: Daily, 1pm - 3.30pm ; 8.30pm - 10pm. Only open for lunch on Sundays