Archive for the Ciutat Vella Category

Valencia – Ciutat Vella – La Seu – restaurants

Posted in Ciutat Vella, La Seu, Spain, Valencia, Valenciana Comunidad with tags , , , , on March 6, 2019 by gannet39

This post is about restaurants in La Seu, the area around the cathedral in the old town. I’ve also written separate posts on La Seu for tapas bars, stuff to see in the area, and drinking horchata. My map is here.

For some reason (ease of parking under Plaça de la Reina?), whenever I meet my local friends Angeles & Juan for a meal, it’s always at a restaurant in La Seu!

I review four very good restaurants below, in reverse chronological order. I’d go with La Lola if I had to choose, because they have tables outside.

From May 2017…

Seu Xerea (Advanced B+), 4 Calle Conde de Almodovar, seuxerea.com

Seu Xerea is owned by a British chef Steve Anderson. To my embarrassment he caught me eating olives with a fork while I was waiting for the others but thankfully he let me off for letting the side down!

Angeles, Juan and I all had the €49 Menu de Degustacion (four small plates, two mains, two desserts) and additional €28 wine matching (six 100ml glasses).

I was far too busy having fun to make any notes (the purpose of this blog is to entertain me when I’m by myself) so I can’t comment on which course or glass of wine was the best but I can tell you it was all very good.

Anderson is known for his Valencian Oyster with Almond and Iberian Pork Belly.

Next came Mediterranean Shrimp with Cucumber and Apple.

Something else not mentioned on the menu matched with a local white called Angosto.

Un-pasteurised Ricotta Gnocchi with Egg Yolk came with Casanova, a Ribeiro.

Roast Octopus with Spicy Chorizo Breadcrumbs came with Edetana, a white Garnacha/Viognier blend.

Fish of unknown type with Bouillabaisse Stock with a glass of Albarino called Ex Libris.

Roast Lamb with Chargrilled Red Pepper needed a glass of red Ribera del Duero called Valtravieso.

Strawberries with Pistachio and Cava went well with a Moscatel called Alambre.

Dark Chocolate Mousse with Cherries finished us off.

I’ll be back for the €35 tapas menu next time.

Seu Xerea is handily opposite Café de las Horas, a favourite bar of mine (see La Seu tapas bars post) so you could start or finish there.

Also in 2017 I came here for lunch…

Abadía d’Espí (High Intermediate B), 5 Plaça de l´Arquebisbe, www.abadiadespi.com

This is a posh place in quiet square. The service was good and the wine list is extensive. The food was fine if I recall (all B) but nothing stunning. It’s the weakest of the four in this post but still good.

To begin I had the Hatillo de Langostino y Queso Fresco, or langoustine and fresh cheese in a deep-fried bag of filo pastry. Hatillos seem to be a thing here as La Lola below does them as well.

I had the Arroz Meloso de Cortijo: Caldo de Cocido, Longanzina, Jamon, Panceta, Garbanzos or a wet ‘farmhouse’ paella made with stew broth, sausages, cured ham, bacon and chick peas.

To drink, a half-litre bottle of my old friend, Les Alcusses red wine for €10.50. The total cost was €30.85.

From September 2014…

La Salvaora (Advanced A), 19 Carrer de Calatrava, www.lasalvaora.com

I celebrated my birthday here with my friends Angeles, Juan, Karen and Nicky but I can’t remember much about it!

Five of us had the tasting menu which consisted of Braised White Asparagus with a Vinaigrette of Cherries, Tuna Tartar with Ginger and Peach, Turbot Stuffed with Aubergine in a Veloute of Langoustines, Confit of Iberico Pork with Mash and to finish, Yogurt with White Chocolate Cream, Tonka Beans and Red Fruits. All I remember about the food is that it was all very good!

Just a stones throw away from La Salvaora is the lovely Placa de Negret which is full of bars where you can sit outside. The most famous bar here is Cafe Negrito but it’s probably easier to get a seat at one of the other bars at busy times.

From June 2012…

La Lola (Intermediate B), 8 Calle de la Subida del Toledano, www.lalolarestaurante.com

You’ll find this friendly modern restaurant down a small back street next to the cathedral. I first came here on a warm summer evening at the suggestion of my dear old friend Angeles who is a local lass.

Although I’d been aware of the restaurant before, I’d mentally put myself off going because their greeters hustle for custom on the street; generally a turn off for me because it smacks of desperation. I realise now this was a little unfair because the food was absolutely fine (including the very reasonably priced set menu), it’s more that the place is a little hard to find.

In terms of the food, the Salmorejo was very tasty (A) and the attractive looking Goats Cheese starter was nice as well (B), as was the Bacalao with sauteed vegetables (B+). I can’t remember what we drank due to the fact I hadn’t seen Angie for about 5 years and we were having a good old chat! I remember it as a good place though, somewhere I’d definitely go back to.

Which I did in 2014 with Angie and her other half, Juan. Again the food was nicely presented and original but occasionally a bit hit and miss in terms of flavour. However I remember really liking the Meloso (wet paella) with snails, quail and mushrooms. Juan selected an excellent Merlot from Penedes to go with it.

A great spot that I would definitely like to go to again, which is true of all the restaurants in this post.

Valencia – Ciutat Vella – things to see in El Carme

Posted in Ciutat Vella, El Carme, Spain, Valencia, Valenciana Comunidad on March 5, 2019 by gannet39

At the end of Carrer de Quart, the continuation of Carrer dels Cavallers, you’ll find the Porta de Quart, one of only two remaining gates to the old town.

Guarding the approach from the river, on the north east side of El Carme, is the more impressive Porta de Serranos. You can pay to go up the towers to get a view.

I’ve made a separate post about Eating in El Carme. My map with everything on is here.

See also my separate post on Street Art in El Carme for other things to see in the barrio.

Valencia – Ciutat Vella – tapas bars around El Mercat

Posted in Ciutat Vella, El Mercat, Spain, Valencia, Valenciana Comunidad with tags , , , on March 2, 2019 by gannet39

Due to having too much content, I’ve made other El Mercat posts for La Lonja, Mercado Central and Other Stuff to See. My map is here.

The handiest place for tapas after visiting La Lonja is Escalones de la Lonja (Elementary B+) at 3 Calle Pere Compte, www.facebook.com. I can recommend their anchovies (B+)…

…and their croquetas (B).

Tasca Angel (Elementary B+) at 1 Carrer de la Puríssima, is a classic (since 1946) stand-up tapas bar just around the corner from La Lonja. It’s a tiny place and always full to bursting, so they appreciate it if you keep reusing your glasses. We tried the All i Pebre (chunks of eel in a garlic and pepper sauce) and while it was a good example of this dish, I’m still not a fan of eel (B-). The sardines and brochettes here are good though.

The famous La Pilareta aka Bar Pilar (Intermediate B+) at 13 Calle del Moro Zeit, is considered by many to be the best place in town to have Clochinas (Valencian Mussels). Clochinas are smaller and more yellow in colour than normal mussels and have more flavour. Both are on the menu so you can compare. I had them ‘al Vapor’ (steamed and served in a broth of, I think, garlic, bay leaves. black pepper and paprika) and they were great (B+).

The Calamari, fried in a very delicate batter were excellent as well, some of the best I’ve ever had (A).

The old chap in the pictures is showing us the gas powered machine that was used to refrigerate food in the old days.

Tyris On Tap (Intermediate B+), 6 Calle Taula de Canvis

This is a craft beer pub in a quiet square a little away from the market. The service is friendly and their home brewed Tyris beer is pretty decent (B+) for €4.50 a pint.

They have a small food menu as well and as I was bit peckish but not in the mood for a full meal, I tried something from their hot dog section.

The Campero is a sizable local sausage that comes with fried onion and hefty slabs of tasty pickled gherkin in a good bread bun. It’s messy but hits the spot (B+) and wasn’t too pricey at €8.50.

I visited in May 2017.

Valencia – Ciutat Vella – St Francesc – Things to See

Posted in Ciutat Vella, Plaça de l'Ajuntament, Spain, St Francesc, Valencia, Valenciana Comunidad with tags , , , , on October 25, 2015 by gannet39

Please see the separate post for eating in St Francesc.

Just around the corner from the Hotel Catalonia is the National Ceramics Museum

The alabaster front entrance, done in the florid Rococo style, is just stunning. The eyes of the two male statues either side of the door stare at you piercingly if you view them from immediately below.

The palace was first constructed in the 15th century but was given a Baroque makeover in 1740. I’ve never actually been in to see the ceramics exhibitions, but have made it through the first front door to see the funny little statue of a child sitting on a goose.

Please click on these images to see them in more detail.

Also near the hotel in the Plaça de l’Ajuntament is the Art Deco central Post Office or Palau de los Correos. It’s worth popping in for a view of the nice elliptical glass dome but my favourite features are the lion head post boxes outside.20140926_13525320140926_135312

The Plaça de l’Ajuntament is where people also come to view/hear La Mascletà, a deafening barrage of fireworks and crackers, which is held at 2pm each day of the five days of the famous Falles festival. Pyrotechnicians compete for the honour of conducting the final Mascletà on the last day of the festival (March 18th). The mayor gives orders and judges the competition from the viewing balcony of the town hall opposite the display.Spain1a 002

My friend Angie brought me here to experience the truly deafening din in 2014. The square was packed but we still got served easily at one of the bars. I needed a glass of Turia beer to steady my nerves!

20140920_134552There are lots of other nice buildings around this part of town. The old Banco de Valencia on the corner of Career del Pintor Sorolla and Career de Don Juan de Austria is quite impressive. The latter street is a pedestrianised shopping area where you’ll find the ubiquitous but very useful El Corte de Ingles. Lots of other big brand shops can be found in St. Francesc if shopping is your thing.

Just down the road is the at 4 Carrer de les Barques is the Hotel Palacio Reina Victoria which I believe is the city’s oldest hotel.

Wish I could remember where these two buildings are…

Check out my La Seu – Stuff to See and Mercado de Colon posts for more nice architecture.

Valencia – Ciutat Vella – St Francesc – Places to Eat

Posted in Ciutat Vella, Spain, St Francesc, Valencia, Valenciana Comunidad with tags on October 25, 2015 by gannet39

San Francesc is one of six barrios in the Ciutat Vella (old town). It’s very centrally located, and is quite a safe area, which is why my employer likes to have us stay here.

I’ve organised this post and all the others on Valencia on a barrio by barrio basis. To help you understand where all the neighbourhoods are, here’s a map of the barrios, and my Google map of Valencia. Please see the previous post for Things to See in St Francesc.

My employer invariably uses the Hotel Catalonia Excelsior (lovely staff, average rooms, ok breakfast). It’s next to a small and very pleasant square where you can sit and drink outside, although the bars there are quite expensive.

However this inexpensive place has good food is just a stone’s throw away too, just what my colleagues need after a hard days graft…

La Utielana (Intermediate B+), The official address is Piazza Picadero de Dos Aguas 3 (between Palacio del Marques de Dos Aguas and the next door church) but coming from the hotel it’s easier to use the backdoor on Calle Sam Andres 4. Tel. 963 52 9414 utielana.restaurantesok.com

A bit hard to find the first time you go but well worth the effort. Plain and simple tiled decor, friendly and plump staff (definitely a good sign) and very popular, so get there at 8 to avoid disappointment. The cooking is not haute cuisine by any means but homey comfort food, the kinds of things a Spanish granny would cook.

For me, a very satisfying dish to start with is a bowl of murky Lentejas (lentil soup)(B+). For the main you can’t go wrong with the house speciality of Cordero al Horno (roast lamb) with chips and gravy (B+). They also have Platos Especiales del Dia (daily specials) which are usually classics like Cocido or Fiduea.

Feeling daring one night I tried the sheep’s brains but once was enough!(C). The Rinones al Jerez are a bit grim too (C) but it’s all very cheap so I gave them a whirl. The house red (Cabellana) is dirt cheap but drinkability seems to vary by the bottle (C/D). You may want to fork out a bit more for something better.

For afters I’d suggest some Frutta de Tiempo (grapes in a plastic cup?) or perhaps the Natillas (custard) or Flan (all B) and a glass of the wonderful local Moscatel (A). Total cost will probably come to around 20 euros which is dirt cheap in comparison to elsewhere. It’s all perfectly fine, just make sure you order the right things.

Casa Mundo (Elementary B) at Carrer Juan de Austria, a pedestrian street in front of El Corte Ingles.

Described by some as a ‘classic’ Valencian tapas bar it’s quite run down and there’s not much of an atmosphere. However it’s justifiably well-known for its fried squid which, with a caña, cost me €6.20 in 2008. It’s not a place to spend much time but it’s handy for the hotel and the squid is good.

For something a bit more modern and refined…

Vuelva Catalina (Intermediate B), 8 Career de Correos, www.vuelvecarolina.com

This is a good place to come and eat modern Spanish tapas. It’s the second tapas bar from famous chef Quique Dacosta who also owns Mercatbar (see Eixample – Gran Via post). I like it but sometimes I think form takes precedence over flavour. Still it makes for a change. Although very busy at other times, there weren’t many customers on the Monday I went. The MD was very nice and spoke English though other staff members didn’t really, not that they should have to. I was just feeling rusty as it was my first day in Spain for a while.

On arrival I received some rather dry bread (C) and cream cheese (B). The ‘Yogur’ de Foie Gras y Frutas Secas, sealed in a glass jar, was different but not amazing (B). The Cebollita Roja com Emulsion de Anguilla, red-stained onion with a dollop of eel emulsion in the middle were visually very attractive and had a fair bit of flavour (B+). Next the Sushi with mango and lemon wasabi mayo was a winner (B+). However the Calderoso was tasteless and had strange crunchy bits which I didn’t appreciate (C). I wasn’t really impressed with any of the wines the sommelier suggested to accompany the first courses. The introductory cava (C+) and the following white (C) had no flavour although the Bobal red was okay (B-). To finish, the almond ice cream (A) and the sponge (B) went well together (A). Final glasses of Madeira (B) and Hierbas (B) sent me home pretty happy.

And for a treat…

El Poblet (Advanced B ), 8 Career de Correos (immediately above Vuelva Catalina), www.elpobletrestaurante.com

I came here for lunch to celebrate my 48th birthday with my good friend Nicky. It’s generally seen as one of the best restaurants in town, the kind of place where ladies get a little pillow to put their bag on! It’s the third and poshest establishment in Quique Dacosta’s small group of restaurants, along with Mercatbar and Vuelva Catalina.

We had the ‘Grace Kelly’ tasting menu of six dishes for €38. This began with Cebollita Roja com Emulsion de Anguilla, the same red onion with eel emulsion that I’d had downstairs some days before (B+). And continued with Parmesano con velo de albahacas ,parmesan with a ‘veil’ of basil (B). an oyster served with roe and a soya based sauce (A) , a deepfried cracker with minuscule prawns reminiscent of Cadiz’s Tortas de Camarones (B+), Cubalibre de Foie (a larger version than I’d had at Mercatbar and way too big (B) , La Gallina de los Huevos de Oro, an egg cooked in chicken broth with some gold foil which seemed pretty pointless (C) , Fideua Negra con Ajetes y Aire de All I Oli (short noodles cooked in squid ink and served with a foam of allioli, give me the real stuff anyday (B).

To finish, Helado de Alemendras (almond ice cream with I think lavender ice cream as well (B-) and a few not particularly nice complimentary chocs and sweets to finish (C+). The bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and glasses of sweet Dolc de Mendoza were okay (B). It was all pretty good value really, and visually very appealing but the flavours weren’t there for me. I’d advise people to go to Ricard Camarena’s restaurant in Ruzafa for a better fine dining experience.

Valencia – Ciutat Vella – El Mercat – La Lonja

Posted in Ciutat Vella, El Mercat, La Lonja, Spain, Valencia, Valenciana Comunidad with tags , on October 14, 2015 by gannet39

Just over the road from Mercado Central is another favourite building of mine. La Lonja, or in Valenciano La Llotja de la Seda, (the Silk Exchange market) was built in 1482 and is a UNESCO world heritage building. Click on the photos to get a better view.

 

I love the gargoyles and chimeras that run in arched columns around the doorways and adorn the window lintels. Some of them are quite cheeky!

 

In the main hall, with it’s forest of twisted columns, is the entrance to the tower. Debtors were kept here as punishment which must have been purgatory during the hot Valencian summers.

Valencia – Ciutat Vella – other things to see and do in El Mercat

Posted in Ciutat Vella, El Mercat, Plaça de la Companyia, Plaça del Mercat, Spain, Valencia, Valenciana Comunidad with tags , on October 14, 2015 by gannet39

Besides La Lonja and Mercado Central in the barrio of El Mercat are a few other nice buildings, including some old churches.

Next to the market in Plaça del Mercat is the Església de Sant Joan del Mercat.

There are a few quirky shops around Plaça de la Companyia.

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For cool, modern clothes for both men and women I really like Bugalu at 6 Carrer de la Llotja.

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Original CV at Plaza del Mercado is a good place to buy local products to take home.

I’ve made a separate post for tapas bars in the area. My map is here.

Valencia – Ciutat Vella – El Mercat – Mercado Central

Posted in Ciutat Vella, El Mercat, Mercado Central, Spain, Valencia, Valenciana Comunidad with tags , on October 14, 2015 by gannet39

To the west of La Seu in the old town is the barrio of El Mercat where, not surprisingly, you’ll find the world-famous covered Mercado Central, Valencia’s principle market.

It was constructed in 1914 by Francesc Guàrdia i Vial and Alexandre Soler in the Modernism style, and is adorned with brightly coloured ceramics and mosaics. My favourite bit is the cockatoo on the top of the central dome.

It’s one of the oldest and largest working markets in Europe and houses four hundred traders in two areas, one for fish and one for all other food stuffs. You can buy a kilo of tangerines for a euro here, or get a warm empanada from the bakeries. However I only come here to eat at…

Central Bar (Elementary A+), Plaza Ciudad de Brujas (towards the back of the market) www.centralbar.es

This was once a run of the mill market bar but has now been taken over by my favourite Valencian chef Ricard Camarena whose other two establishments I have raved about in my Ruzafa post. It’s very popular and people often queue by standing behind the bar stools waiting for the person sitting to finish eating. I’ve even seen people tag team a space by taking turns eating half of a dish each. The lesson is, go just before or towards the end of normal lunch hours to get a seat, bearing in mind the market closes at 3pm.

The food is fantastic as you’d imagine with so many quality local ingredients close at hand. I didn’t take notes but it was all A or A+. The bocadillo in the picture is called ‘El Canella’ and is made with morcilla, scrambled egg and pickled green peppers. I remember reading it once won European sandwich of the year although I can’t find any reference to such an award.

If you’re lucky you’ll be served by the lovely Isabel, the hostess with the mostest.

More on El Mercat in coming posts.

Valencia – Ciutat Vella – La Seu – Stuff to See

Posted in Carrer dels Cavallers, Ciutat Vella, La Seu, Plaça de l'Almoina, Plaça de la Mare de Deu, Plaça de Lope de Vega, Spain, Valencia, Valenciana Comunidad with tags , , on October 13, 2015 by gannet39

As mentioned in the previous post, the most central point in La Seu is Placa de la Mare de Deu.

This is where many civic occasions are held so it might be best to avoid the area when something’s on if you’re trying to get somewhere.

The old town’s main street, Carrer dels Cavallers, runs out of the square. There are a few quirky statues and buildings at this end of Cavallers.

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The Catedral de Valencia is to the south of the Placa de la Mare de Deu. Not exactly a beauty to begin with (it was built in haste when the Christians reclaimed the territory from the Moors), over the years the cathedral has been altered and messed about no end. It has two entrances, a Romanesque one at the rear which I prefer (first picture) and the main door in Plaza de la Reina which is done in an incongruous Baroque style (third picture).

The cathedral is the home of one of the contenders for the Holy Grail, in this case a first century stone chalice supposedly used at the last supper and subsequently by many popes. You can pay to go and see it but as I’m not one for religious trickery I just put my head inside for a peep at the Gothic arches inside the cathedral and then walked on.

Overlooking the cathedral in Plaça de l’Almoina is Casa Punt de Ganxo, built in 1906.

Wish I could remember where this building is because I love it!

20140924_182104In Placa de Lope de Vega, adjoining Placa de Santa Caterina, you can see what is billed as the narrowest house in Europe. You have to look carefully (it’s the red stripe in the centre of the picture) as it’s only the width of a door, and there are one or two other contenders in the square.

I’ve heard a couple of explanations as to why it was built this way, one being that it was due to a father dividing land between his sons, and another that it was a way of paying less tax. Apparently the building widens out once your inside which it would have to really or else what would be the point of living in a house you couldn’t move around in!

At 4-6 Calle del Muro de Sta Ana, you will find La Casa De Los Dulces, Valencia’s oldest sweet shop with spectacular displays of bonbons and lollipops.
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Valencia – Ciutat Vella – La Seu – tapas bars

Posted in Carrer dels Cavallers, Ciutat Vella, La Seu, Spain, Valencia, Valenciana Comunidad with tags , , , , on October 13, 2015 by gannet39

La Seu is the most central barrio in the old town, between El Carme and La Xerea. It’s central point is Placa de la Mare de Deu from which runs Carrer dels Cavallers, the main street in the old town which is thronged with tapas bars.

This post is about tapas bars. I’ve also written La Seu posts for restaurants, stuff to see in the area, and drinking horchata. My map is here.

The city’s favourite cocktail is called Agua de Valencia which is made from gin, vodka, fresh orange juice and cava or champagne.

This great bar is one of the best places to try it…

Cafe de Las Horas (Intermediate A), 1 Carrer del Comte d’Almodóvar, www.cafedelashoras.com

This beautiful bar, decorated in a Baroque style, is definitely a good place to start a night on the town.

Las Cuevas (Intermediate A), Technically at 8 Carrer del Comte d’Almodóvar but actually in Placa des Cisneros

‘The Caves’ are just around the corner from Cafe de las Horas. This famous tapas bar gets its name from the three low-ceilinged rooms inside but there’s an outdoor area where if you can sit out in the sun.

Cava Siglos (Intermediate B), 12 Carrer dels Cavallers, www.cavasiglos.com

Siglos bar on cavallersA young and trendy cava bar on the main drag. I tried it on a quiet evening and quite enjoyed the ‘tapas de mercado’, which in my case were canapes of morcilla and cured ham with camembert (A).

One activity I thoroughly recommend is going on a tapas tour, especially if you’re on your own as I often am. My research led me to www.toursinvalencia.com which is run by Suzie Añon y García who is a certified tour guide. She does many different kinds of tours but I chose the eating tour in La Seu.

A gang of eight of us (including four Londoners and two Swiss) went to three bars: La Huerta Santa Catalina, Blanquita and Tasca el Botijo, none of which were particularly historical or famous, they were just good ordinary tapas bars. The food was good and very reasonable (€30 with three drinks) and it was nice to meet some new people.

The highlight of the evening was drinking from a Porron, a wine jug with a pointed spout that you hold high above your head while pouring the wine into your mouth. No mean feat, hence the bib!

Valencia – Ciutat Vella – La Seu – Drinking Horchata in Plaza Santa Catalina

Posted in Ciutat Vella, La Seu, Plaza Santa Catalina, Spain, Valencia, Valenciana Comunidad with tags , , , on October 8, 2015 by gannet39

Plaza Santa Catalina is a small square in the Ciutat Vella adjoining the larger Plaza de la Reina, at the opposite end from the Cathedral. When you’re in the area you should try the famous Valencian drink Horchata.

Horchata, or Orxata in Valceniano, is made from Chufas, know in English as Tiger Nuts, which in fact aren’t nuts at all but the edible tubers of a plant. Originally from Egypt, brought to the area by the Moors in the thirteenth century. The beverage even has its own local DOC with the best stuff coming from Alboraya, a nearby village.

The tiger nuts are mixed with water and sugar to create a sweet, almondy flavour which is very pleasant and refreshing. The two most famous horchaterias in Valencia are both immediately opposite each other in Plaza Santa Catalina:

Santa Catalina Horchateria, 6 Plaza Santa Catalina

Built 200 years ago, this is the older of the two and the more beautiful with it’s lovely tiled interior. It’s a cool, peaceful place to escape the heat and bustle outside.

I had my horchata (B+) with a Farton, a kind of lightly sweetened bread specially made for soaking up the horchata, which it did very well (B).

El Siglo, 11 Plaza Santa Catalina.

A mere 175 years old and not quite as attractive as its neighbour over the way, but still nicely decorated with ceramics and Art Deco lettering.

Apparently locals consider the horchata to be better here, at least according to this blogger. My tastings were a year apart so I wouldn’t like to call it. Both were very refreshing (B+).

The blog also has an interesting post on how horchata is made and where to get it from.

Just at the end of the square is the Iglesia de Santa Catalina which has a nice tower. I think you can climb to the top for a small fee. Personally I prefer to save my money for food…Iglesia de Santa Catalina

Valencia – Ciutat Vella – Street Art in El Carme

Posted in Ciutat Vella, El Carme, Spain, Valencia, Valenciana Comunidad with tags , , on October 7, 2015 by gannet39

Valencia has some great street art. A lot of it seems to be in the Ciutat Vella, especially El Carme.

I read that the most instagrammed piece of street art is Moses by Blu at Plaça del Tossal.

I’m not surprised, a huge beard of writhing snakes the size of a house is hard to resist.

Mine and many other people’s favourite is David de Limón who does the Ninja men. If you’re on a PC you can click on an image to go to a full screen slide show.

This is what I saw in 2017. Again, click to go big.

And from 2014.

There’ll be plenty more I’m sure!

Valencia – Ciutat Vella – La Xerea

Posted in Ciutat Vella, La Xerea, Valenciana Comunidad with tags , , , , on November 15, 2012 by gannet39

La Xerea is a barrio in the old town, sandwiched between St Francesc and the riverbed of the Turia.

Rincon Latino (Elementary A), Carrer del Governador Vell

If you’re looking for a place to start a night out on the town, this divey shot bar might just be the place. Four of us came here in 2014 for a few slugs of the hard stuff. I recall the Quemadito (small fire), tequila and Tia Maria set alight, and the Vaquita Roja (small red cow) with strawberry liqueur and cream, but not much else!

 

La Riua (Intermediate B+), 27 Calle del Mar, Tel. 963 914 571 www.lariua.com

This is a very famous restaurant (mentioned in many guides) run by a husband and wife team, that serves very typical local rice dishes. Its popularity is such that it can be hard to get in if you go too late. I tried to reserve on a few occasions but it seems they don’t answer the phone as they prefer people to just walk up.

ClamsSix of us came here one night in 2012 and between us demolished a plate of Almejas Marinera (B), and two huge pans of Paella de la Mar (seafood paella) and Fideua de la Mar (same as paella but made with noodles instead of rice). Both were good but the general agreement was the paella (A) was better than the Fideua (B).

MerseThese went nicely with a few bottles of local Merse (2009) white (B).

The restaurant is good but perhaps not quite deserving of all the hype and the price of the food. Personally I prefer La Pepica down at the beach.

Most Brits view Paella as the national dish of Spain but most Spaniards see it as  a regional Valencian dish and the Valencians themselves see it as one of their defining symbols.

Originally the ingredients consisted of whatever could be caught in the fields and the true Paella Valenciana includes rabbit and snails although originally eels and water voles were used. The Moorish influence can be seen in the rice and the inclusion of saffron. Later poor local fishermen came up with the Paella de la Mar. Another popular version is the Paella Mixta which combines the other two but Valencianos see this as an abomination though you will see it in restaurants elsewhere in Spain.

The pan it is cooked in is also called a paella in Valencia (their name for every type of pan) but  the word ‘paellera’ is used elsewhere in the country. As well as allowing quick evaporation, essential for a correctly cooked paella, the broad pan allowed field labourers to eat straight from the pan without the need for plates. The toasted rice called ‘socarrat’ at the bottom of the pan is considered a delicacy and can only be achieved when cooking over an open flame.

Paella

The Valencian region produces nearly all the rice in Spain however the village of Calasparra in the neighbouring  region of Murcia is particularly famed for producing the most famous varieties Bomba and Sollana which are especially good for soaking up large amounts of liquid.

Fideua is also apparently from the Valencia region, specifically from a town called Gandia where it was invented in 1925.  As noodles replace the rice it is often better for seafood due to the shorter cooking time. It is optionally served with Allioli.

Valencia – Ciutat Vella – places to eat in El Carme

Posted in Ciutat Vella, El Carme, Spain, Valencia, Valenciana Comunidad with tags , , on November 13, 2012 by gannet39

El Carme aka Barrio del Carmen is the coolest up and coming neighbourhood in the old town. I’d love to have a flat here even if it is a bit noisy with all the night life in the area.

There are heaps of great places to eat and drink.

Cafe Sant Jaume (A), 51 Carrer dels Cavallers

A great place to start off is the terrace of this beautiful old bar which is in a tiny square off the main drag.

They sell Reserva 1925, one of Spain’s best beers. It’s made by Alhambra craft brewery in Granada (A).

La Comisaria (Intermediate A), 5 Plaza del Árbol, lacomisaria.com

I really like this place because if fuses two of my favourite cuisines, Spanish and Japanese. Eddie the friendly head chef and owner has heaps of international experience, being half Welsh and half Portuguese and having worked in Brazil and at Noma in Tokyo.

The fusion dishes he creates are sublime. Chupa Chups de Langostionos con un Dip de Guindilla Dulce, deep fried langoustines with a sweet chilli sauce (B+), Tartar de Salmon al Estilo La Commisario (B+) and Ensalada Japnonesa de Algas en Texturas y Pepino, a shredded jellyfish and seaweed salad (A-) particularly remain in the memory.

Eddie also introduced me to Albufera, a local blend of Monastrell and Tempranillo that has been aged in oak barrels for three years. I liked so much that I took a bottle home (A).

This next place is a restaurant…

La Carme (Intermediate A), 2 C/Sogueros www.restaurantelacarmevalencia.com

The building is old and atmospheric with wooden shutters and a very pleasant interior. They are going for a slightly upmarket clientele but the service is down to earth, efficient and very friendly. They also open at 8pm unlike most places so if you are an early eater (by Spanish standards) you can beat the rush.

You can choose one dish from a choice of five for each of the three courses from the €20 fixed menu which is very good value for money.

I had Ensalada de Formatge de Cabra, Datils i Pistachos, basically a green salad with slices of apple, goats cheese with dates and pistachio nuts, which was fantastic (A). Must make this when I go home.

Escudella de Lluc al Forn amb Gambes i Almejas Gratinada, a gratin stew of baked hake, prawns and clams which was pretty good (B). This all went well with a bottle of local 2011 Chardonnay Sauvigon Blanc ‘El Miracle’ (B+).

The Flam de Xocolata al Rom amb un Toc de Taronja, chocolate pudding with rum and a splash of orange (B+)with a digestif of local muscatel (A) made me a very happy bunny.

There are lots more places to explore so keep checking in!

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