Like many European countries, Spain was doing local food before it was a trend. In fact, like Italy, Spain is a country where different regions have completely different cultures from one another and sometimes even different languages. This intensely regional character is reflected nowhere better than in the food of the country.
Valencia is best known for giving the world authentic Valencian paella, a popular rice dish that you'll find in restaurants throughout Spain and beyond. Since paella originated here, Valencia is probably the best place to eat paella in Spain if you really want to enjoy this famous rice dish. However, there's much more to Valencia cuisine than traditional Valencian paella, and when you visit Valencia, you'll quickly find just how deep and rich the food culture is.
Drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Valencia, and you'll be ready to get the most out of Valencian cuisine. A great place to start is the city's famous Mercado Central, where you can sample the local produce, meet the people who make it, and enjoy some of the best Valencia street food. On the other hand, if you prefer a more upscale dining experience while visiting Valencia, you'll find plenty of high-end restaurants in the city too. And, there are even options for anyone who doesn't eat meat. Check out our guide on the best vegetarian restaurants in Valencia to find your next meat-free meal.
Ultimately, whatever you like to eat, chances are good you'll find it here. But if you're looking to try traditional Valencian cuisine, here are some dishes you shouldn't miss.
Valencia Food: Paella
No prizes for guessing we would start here. After all, this rice dish is the most famous item of Valencia cuisine, and you can't really visit Valencia without trying paella in some form.
It may surprise you to learn that a traditional paella is not a seafood dish. Although versions made outside of the city are often made with chorizo and seafood, a classic paella Valenciana contains chicken, green beans, and sometimes snails.
The dish is cooked in a large, shallow pan over an open fire, and the ingredients are added in layers. The result is a rice dish that's packed full of flavor and perfect for sharing.
Of course, along with the traditional paella, you can still get the seafood version and even vegetarian versions in the city if you look hard enough. It's worth it to try a delicious paella and enjoy one of the most well-known items of food in Valencia.
Valencia Food: Arroz al Horno
If you love rice but want to try something a little different while you're in Valencia, be sure to order arroz al horno. This oven-baked dish is similar to paella but made with oven-baked rice instead of boiled rice.
It's typically made with chicken or beef, vegetables, and sometimes even codfish. Arroz al horno is often served as a main meal, but it can also make a great side dish to accompany other Valencia meals. It's worth trying while visiting Valencia to learn more about the rice dishes of the region outside the famous paella Valenciana.
Valencia Food: Fideua
Another popular dish in Valencia is fideua, which is made with noodles instead of rice. It's usually made with seafood, but you can also find versions with chicken or beef.
Like paella, fideua is cooked in a large, shallow pan over an open fire. The noodles are added first, followed by the meat and vegetables. Once everything is cooked through, the dish is served hot and fresh.
If you love seafood, be sure to try this dish, as it's one of the best ways to enjoy Valencia's fresh seafood. Fideua can be found in many restaurants throughout the city, so it's easy to get your fix.
Valencia Food: Horchata
A refreshing drink to enjoy while visiting Valencia is horchata. It's a sweet, creamy beverage made from tiger nuts. It's usually served cold and is the perfect way to cool down on a hot day.
Horchata originated in Valencia and has been enjoyed by locals for centuries. Now, it's one of the most popular drinks in Spain and can be found throughout the country. If you want to try authentic horchata, be sure to order it while you're in Valencia.
You can find horchata being sold by street vendors, in cafes, and even in some restaurants. It's worth trying if you want to experience a unique Valencia drink. Horchata is also very popular in Latin America, particularly Mexico, but it's a classic item of Valencian cuisine that has become popular around the world — for obvious reasons.
Valencia Food: Agua de Valencia
Valencia is famous for its oranges, and trust the local bartenders to come up with a great way to use all that fresh orange juice. An agua de Valencia is made with freshly squeezed orange juice, cava (sparkling wine), and vodka or gin. It's a refreshing and tasty drink that's perfect for enjoying on a warm day.
You can find agua de Valencia being served in many bars and restaurants throughout Valencia, so it's easy to get your fix. Just be sure to order it early, as it's a popular drink and can sometimes sell out. Perhaps the best place to drink agua de Valencia is at the city's Café Madrid, which claims to have invented this cocktail. Though really, wherever you drink it, it's a refreshing cocktail that's sure to put a spring in your step.
Valencia Food: Spanish Tortilla
Don't let the name fool you. A Spanish tortilla is nothing like the Mexican flatbread you may be more familiar with. This dish is a type of omelet made with eggs, potatoes, and onion. It's usually served hot or warm and makes a great snack or light meal.
You can find Spanish tortillas being sold by street vendors, in cafes, and even in some restaurants. If you want to try this classic Valencia dish, be sure to order it while you're in the city.
Valencia Food: Esgarraet
A typical dish of the Valencian Community, esgarraet is made with roasted red peppers, salt cod, garlic, and olive oil. It's a simple dish that's full of flavor and perfect for enjoying as a side dish or appetizer.
You can find esgarraet being served in many restaurants throughout Valencia, so it's easy to sample some. Just be sure to order it while you're in the city to enjoy this traditional dish.
Valencia Food: Flan de Calabaza
Flan de Calabaza is a delicious pumpkin flan that's perfect for enjoying as a dessert or snack. It's made with pumpkin, eggs, sugar, milk, and cinnamon. It's a simple dish that's full of flavor and perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth.
These days, flan de Calabaza can be a little tricky to track down. However, as a classic item of Valencian food, it's worth seeking out, especially if you like pumpkin. One of the most intriguing Valencia dishes out there, it's something you should definitely try.
Valencia Food: Morcilla and Egg Sandwich
A morcilla is a type of blood sausage that's popular in Spain. It's made with pork, pork fat, rice, onions, and blood. The result is a slightly sweet and savory sausage that's perfect for enjoying on a sandwich.
In Valencia, you can find morcilla being served on sandwiches with eggs. This dish is typically served as a snack or light meal. But really, it can be enjoyed any time of day. If you want to try this unique Valencia dish, be sure to order it while you're in the city. Why not try it for breakfast?
Valencia Food: Orange Ice Cream
Another fantastic use for all the oranges produced in the region is to flavor ice cream. And Valencia does this to delicious effect.
Orange ice cream is a refreshing and tasty treat that's perfect for enjoying on a hot day. You can find it being served in many ice cream shops throughout Valencia. So if you're looking for something to cool you down, be sure to give this flavor a try. The citrus tang of the ice cream is the perfect way to wake up your taste buds, and you don't need to wait until dessert. Tucking into some orange ice cream while you explore the city is the perfect way to beat the heat while enjoying the best food in Valencia.
Valencia Food: Mussels
Authentic Valencia paella may not traditionally include seafood, but that doesn't mean you can't get your seafood fix while visiting the city. After all, Valencia is located on the Mediterranean Sea. So it's no surprise that there are plenty of great seafood dishes to be found here.
One of the most popular seafood dishes in Valencia is mussels. This dish is typically served with a side of French fries. But really, you can enjoy it any way you want. Mussels are versatile ingredients that can be cooked in many different ways. So if you're looking for something to change up your normal routine, be sure to give this dish a try. You won't be disappointed.
Valencia Food: Calamares a la Romana
A delicious dish with fried squid is perfect for enjoying as an appetizer or main course. Calamares a la Romana is usually served with a side of mayonnaise or aioli for dipping.
This dish is typically served as an appetizer. But really, it can be enjoyed any time of day. Calamares a la Romana is a great way to start your meal or enjoy a tasty snack. If you're a fan of seafood, this item of Valencian food is definitely worth trying.
Valencia Food: Arros a banda
Another traditional dish of the Valencian Community, arros a banda is made with white rice, seafood, and vegetables. It's a delicious and hearty dish that's perfect for enjoying as a main course.
In many ways, arros a banda is more like the seafood paella people expect when they come to the city. Check out the many tapas bars of Valencia and see if you can track down this lesser-known rice dish.
Valencia Food: Turron
A type of nougat that's popular in Spain, turron is made with almonds, honey, and egg whites. It's a sweet and delicious treat that's perfect for enjoying as a snack or dessert.
Turron is a classic item of Spanish cuisine, and it's something you should definitely try while visiting Valencia. It also travels well, making it a great souvenir to bring home with you to remind you of all the great food in Valencia. You can pick it up in tourist shops around the city, but the Mercado Central is one of the best places to find it.
Valencia may be famous for its paella. But that's not the only traditional Valencian dish that's worth trying. In fact, it's not even the only delicious rice dish on offer in Valencia. And beyond that, there are so many great things to try, whether it's hearty meat-based meals, tasty ice cream, or refreshing cocktails. No matter what you like to eat, you won't go hungry in the Spanish city.
In fact, the real danger is overindulging. That's why you should check out this guide to the best hikes in Valencia for some calorie-burning options that will work off those extra pounds so you can keep enjoying the best food in Valencia without guilt.
Leave your bags behind at a Bounce luggage storage in Valencia, and get ready to enjoy all the delicious food this town has to offer. You won't regret it.