Whilst food is life here in Spain - this is something that almost everyone seems to know - what might be a lesser known fact is that perhaps even more than dinner or breakfast - lunch is life! I've written plenty of other articles about food in Valencia and where to find good food in this city, but now I want to highlight a few of the very best places to have 'almuerza' or lunch in the Cabanal suburb of Valencia.
Most people know that food and eating out in general in Spain is quite a bit cheaper than in the UK, but I don't think that everyone really understands just how much cheaper, and just how much the culture is adapted to this style of eating. Although it was something of a surprise to me, you really ALMOST NEVER see people eating on the go, or sitting on a bench to have a quick sandwich. Food and meals are treated with more seriousness and respect, and lunch is no exception... Cover photo credit @ libin jose
Espadan31 is a really hidden but amazing restaurant in the Cabanal area, just a few minutes walk from the beach in Valencia. It's not a particularly well-known restaurant and therefore is somewhere you can enjoy even when everywhere else is busy. I only ended up finding this place as the next restaurant on this list was too busy to enjoy on the Sunday morning I went out for lunch.
The food here is nothing overly fancy, but what it is is earthy, simple and delicious. We tried the fried Camembert with bacon which was amazing, as well as a really nice tuna dish!
Paella is something that is very strongly associated with Valencia and eating here, and although tourists will be keen to eat Paella at all times of the day, it's actually traditionally/normally had at lunchtime. The paella you can find at La Bodeguita de Nerea is of the chicken, rabbit and vegetable variety instead of a seafood paella. The restaurant is cute and small, with only five tables outside and five inside. Service is fast and friendly, and a paella between four people should be around 10-15 euros each depending on when and what you have with it. You'll need to book ahead and give them time to prepare the paella, so don't just turn up and ask for it, they'll turn you down!
Very often I find myself wanting something a lot less fancy and cheaper for a normal Sunday morning lunch, and then I have the luck of being able to leave my house, walk 20 meters into the 'plaza' (square) where I live and enjoy amazing food at such low prices you'll barely believe it!
Cafeteria Rio Frio (Cold River Cafe) is one of my favourite local places in Valencia - mainly because it's right outside my house. But there is also another reason, and that is the 'almuerza' (lunch) menu. For around 4.50 euros, you can have a soft drink, a coffee, a huge sandwich and olives and nuts. The value of this lunch is incredible, as is the tastes on offer. You can choose from one of around 20 options for your baguette, and they can customize anything you want to put in it.
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