Valencia is one of the top places to head to in Spain for high quality gastronomical adventures. Throughout the city you will find cafes, restaurants and tapas bars offering both world cuisine and traditionally regional dishes. Valencia has dishes that it is particularly famous for such as paella and other rice dishes. However, it is a large enough city to also offer choice and variety, with Italian, sushi and Asian restaurants in the city. Before your trip it is a good idea to gain a general understanding of the food on offer in Valencia.
This page will give you an overview to the eating options in Valencia. It will provide links to listings for restaurants and fast food joints. You will also find a link to a detailed page telling you all about the most traditional foods in Valencia. If you would like to find out about the options for going on a small tapas tour of Valencia's old town, you will find a link below.
An overview to eating out in Valencia
It is important to remember when you are eating out in Valencia that you are in Spain - there are some eating customs here that are different to what you might be used to. For example, in Valencia none of the restaurants will be open for dinner before 20:00 and if you want to behave like a true local you should head out to dinner at some time between 21:00 and 22:00.
It is also good to remember that in Spain lunch is an important meal that is not to be rushed - this is what siestas are for. Therefore, make the most of the good deals that restaurants often offer on lunch menus (called 'Menu del Dias' - a three course set price menu). You can enjoy a large lunch and eat something smaller, perhaps tapas, at dinner time.
Valencia's traditional foods
There are some foods that Valencians are proud of. The most famous of these is paella - said to have originated in Valencia. However, there are also other dishes that you may not have heard of prior to your trip. To gain a better understanding of Valencia's most well-known local dishes, see our Guide to Traditional Valencia Foods. Here you will find descriptions of local dishes including paella, horchata and tapas. You will also find advice on where to head to in Valencia to find the most traditional cuisine.
Valencia tapas culture
Valencia does not have as big a tapas scene as places like Seville or Granada. Rather than hopping from bar to bar, eating something small at each place, Valencians are more likely to sit down to dinner at one place, get settled for the evening and order a whole range of tapas. To gain a better understanding of the tapas culture in Valencia, see our Guide to Tapas in Valencia. Here you will find a list of some of Valencia's most common tapas with descriptions. You will also find advice on where to head in Valencia for some of the best tapas, with addresses and a map for some of the most popular tapas joints in town.
If you are after some of Valencia's famous seafood, it may be worth heading down to the beach. All along the back of Valencia's main beach area you will find a row of seafood restaurants offering some of the freshest fish and shellfish in the area. La Pepica is one of the most famous o these restaurants - it is said to be the place where Ernest Hemingway enjoyed his first ever paella.
Valencia restaurant listings
All over Valencia you will find good quality restaurants to suit your taste and budget. For listings and a map of a broad selection of Valencia's restaurants, see our Restaurants in Valencia Listings page.
Sometimes when you are on holiday, all you need is a quick snack or a cheap dinner. For listings of some of Valencia's most popular fast food joints, see our Guide to Fast Food Restaurants in Valencia.
It is also worth remembering that you don't need to eat out to enjoy excellent food in Valencia. Valencia is home to one of Spain's largest food market - Mercado Central. This large market at the heart of the old town is full to the brim with stalls selling fresh fish, meats, cheeses, deli products and other regional goods. It is a place to head to soak up the local atmosphere. Learn more about Valencia produce and pick up some picnic ingredients. For more information on Mercado central, see our Guide to the Markets of Valencia.
Valencia is a popular destination for foodies. Spain as a whole is one of the most important places in the world for cooking and Valencia holds its own amongst the other popular cities. There are endless markets, tapas bars, horchaterias, restaurants and cafes to explore. During your trip to Valencia, for a truly local experience you should not leave without trying at last one paella. Don't worry - even if you are not a fan of seafood there are a whole range of paellas available including everything from snails to vegetables to chicken. Use these pages to do some research into Valencia cuisine prior to your trip and you will not be disappointed.