Valencia – Eixample – eating out in Ruzafa

Ruzafa, or Russafa, is the part of the Eixample to the east of the railway station. It’s very much an up and coming area with many new and trendy businesses locating here and in the evenings the night life is buzzing.

It has its own market, Mercat de Russafa, which while not as attractive as Mercat Central, has pretty much everything you would want. I noticed grilled pumpkin (sugared or unsugared) here for the first time.

My favourite chef in Valencia, Ricard Camarena, has two of his eateries located in the area, both just around the corner from each other.

Ricard Camarena Restaurant (Advanced A), 4 Carrer del Dr. Sumsi,

Three of us came here to celebrate my best friend Luke’s birthday by having the six dish tasting menu with wine matching (they also do nine and eleven dish menus).

I didn’t take any notes as I was too busy having fun but everything was A or A+, both visually and in terms of flavour. Below is what I think we had, but there’s a couple of photos I can’t remember. I’ll leave it to you to match the names to the pictures.

Juve & Camps Millesime Reserva Brut Cava 2010
Valencian Oyster in a “Horchata” of Galangal
Menestra of Bobby Beans (fat string beans)
Hake Cocochas (cheeks, tongues or barbels depending on who you talk to) in Coconut Milk
Marinated Sea Bass with Parsley and Tamarillo (a South American fruit)
Pie Franco Verdejo Blanco Nieva 2013
Roasted Kid in Coconut Milk
Furtiva Lagrima’ Moscatel Coshecha 2014

With a glass of champagne, two Negronis to start and three coffees, a glass of Luis Felipe Gran Reserva and two Fernando de Castilla Sol (all brandies) the bill came to €345, less than £100 each, which was great value.

And on another night I went with four friends to Camarena’s bistro just around the corner…

Canalla Bistro (Intermediate A), 5 Carrer del Mestre Josep Serrano,

We had…

Croquetas de Pollo d’Ast (roast chicken croquettes)
Patatas con Salsa de Chorizo Tomate Valenciano y Hierbabuena (spearmint)
2013 Verdejo called ‘Quinta Apolonia’ from Belondrade
Bocata al Vapor con Cerdo Pekin (steamed bun with Beijing pork)
Tempura Melosa de Verduras Ligeramente Picante (slightly spicy mixed veg tempura)
‘Les Alcusses’ 2010, a red from Celler del Roure in the Valencia D.O.

And a creamy thing I don’t recall as I didn’t take notes again. However everything was very good if more down to earth than Camarena’s restaurant around the corner. The bistro has a very cozy atmosphere due to warm lighting and lots of wood. I’d definitely go again.

Afterwards we went for a drink to Ubik Café Cafeteria Libreria a 13 Calle del Literato Azorin, which is what’s known as a ‘bookshop bar’ although we didn’t do much reading! Café Tocado, at 44 Carrer de Cadis, is also an excellent cocktail bar with a Parisian feel.

And in May 2017…

La Tasqueta del Mercat (Intermediate B), 2 Calle Maestro Auguilar

I came here in when I couldn’t get into either Ricardo Camarena’s restaurant or Canella Bistro which were both fully booked on a Thursday night. It had been recommended by a reader in the comments section of the Conde Nast guide which is why it was on my radar.

It’s a bright modern spot with decent food that is good value. They have three set menus to choose from for €15, €22 and €30.

I wasn’t enormously hungry so I had the smaller one beginning with Ensaladilla Guitxan (a take on the ubiquitous Russian salad of which I’ve never been fond).

I continued with Coca de Cerveza con Pesto, Tomate y Anchoa del Cantabrico (toast with pesto, tomato and anchovy), Bunuelos de Bacalao (cod fritters), Croquetas de Jamon, Setas y Trufa (hame, mushroom and truffle croquet), Carrillera con Jugo de Manitas de Curry (pork cheeks in a trotter sauce with a touch of curry) and finally Brownie con Nueces Caramelizadas y Helado de Dulce de Leche (brownie with caremelised nuts and caremelised milk ice cream).

It was all the food was completely edible B/C if rather calorific. I tried a couple of local wines; Merseguera and Decalogo but they didn’t do much for me (all C+). So not a place I’ll willingly return to although it’s perfectly competent at what it does.

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