The coffee in this city used to be really terrible but I found a place that I liked the last time I visited, and I have a few more in my 'to visit' list:
- Mayan coffees: they made us decent filter, v60 and traditional espresso coffees. Calle Murillo, 54, 46001 Valencia (very close to the Torres de Quart).
- Antique Cafe: the coffee wasn't spectacular, but the place is cozy AND they have cakes. Calle del Fraile, 4 (with Calle Arzobispo Mayoral), 46002 Valencia. It was a bit tricky to find out as it's sort of hidden. Quiet area.
When you're here you should try the real Valencian horchata. You can't have real Valencian horchata anywhere else in the world because then it's not Valencian, it's somewhere else's. For example, you can't have real Valencian horchata in Barcelona.
Horchata can come in liquid and slightly icey forms. The latter is the one I prefer and the one you can only find in Valencia. They don't know how to do that in Barcelona.
The origin of horchata is in Alboraia, a town pretty close to Valencia. You can go there with the metro, but most of the more important horchata makers have shops in the centre.
- Horchateria Santa Catalina: great in summer for horchatas and fartons and great in winter for hot chocolate and churros. Can get pretty busy with all the locals going there en masse. Plaza Santa Catalina, 6 (off Pl. de la Reina), 46001.
- Casa de l'Orxata, at Mercat de Colon (C. Jorge Juan, 19, 46004 Valencia). Has a number of creative variations on the traditional horchata.
- Orxata Daniel (also at Mercat de Colón). Not as wide of a selection as in the Alboraia 'flagship store', but interesting combinations of horchata as ice cream, in cakes, etc. They sell tigernut-based sweets (turrón de chufa) during Christmas time. Sadly there're often aggressive beggars in this location.
- Horchateria Fabián: they not only have horchata and fartons, but ALSO buñuelos (bunyols) and chocolate when they're in season. Buñuelos are a type of loopy fried dough that is traditionally consumed around March, during Fallas, dipped in sugar and perhaps on the hot chocolate too. AND IT'S SO GOOD. This place is quieter than the previous venues, and also very traditional, with plenty of pretty tiles to look at and regular patrons. Calle Císcar, 5.
- Orxateria Els Sariers: off centre, really good alternative to going to Alboraia, C. Sarcet, 6 (C. Vila l'Alcora), 46020, Benimaclet.
Horchateria El Siglo (Plaza de Santa Catalina, 11, 46001) - traditional cafe and horchateria, a bit speedier service than in Santa Catalina (right in front of it). Coffee is so-so but horchatas are fine. I'm very sad it's closed; it was such a vintage place.
Places to eat
- La pilareta. La casa de les clotxines: it can get a bit busy and you might need to wait for a table (ask the waiters, they'll give you a ticket and then shout your number when the table is ready). But it was really great food and speedy service. Go here for tapas (I'm still thinking about the calamari and the sepia). Calle del Moro Zeit, 13, 46001.
- Casa Vela: for cured meats, wine and cheeses, surrounded by lots of hanging hams. Calle de Isabel La Católica, 26, 46004
- Saona: for a quick cheap bite, they have a very affordable set menu of contemporary dishes. Passeig de l'Albereda.
- La fórcola: italian: pizzas, pasta. Affordable, nice staff and speedy. Borrul, 29. 46008 - very close to the Botanical Gardens.
- Colmado Lalola: We went when it was brand new! Had a nice cheese selection, a few tapas and some wine. Good service and quality food. Near the Cathedral. Carrer Bordadors 10.
- Mercado Central. The central food market, really good produce and impressive architecture, although a touch touristy. Pl. del Mercat (near Av. Baró de Càrcer), 46001.
- Mercat de Russafa: a neighbourhood food market, not as touristy: where actual people shop. Incredible selection of fresh food, deli... I'm still thinking of the fruits. Pl. Barón de Cortes (near Mestre Aguilar), 46006.
Places to drink
- Tyris on tap: selling their own locally-ish brewed craft beers. Taula De Canvis, 6, 46001. Near central market.
- Ruzanúvol: they had nice italian craft beers. Italian owners too, just in case you want to practice your Italian skills. Food was good. Carrer Luís Santàngel 3, 46005 Valencia.
Things to look at
- Go walk around the old quarter, look at the old houses and balconies, and specialised shops (a good place to start meandering is la Plaça Redona).
- The train station Valencia Nord is really pretty and a super example of Valencian Modernist. Pay attention to the little oranges in the walls (oranges are a fruit which is traditionally grown in the area), and look at the impressive mosaics in the ceilings of the ticket hall.
- Jardín Botánico (botanical gardens), a great place to go if you're feeling TOO HOT. It'll cool you down. Peaceful and I loved the conservatories with carnivore plants! At Dr. Peset Cervera 6 with Carrer de Quart, 80, 46008.
- IVAM / Institut Valencia d'Art Modern: the city's modern art museum. Very nice space and interesting installations. The permanent collection is really solid. C/ Guillem de Castro, 118.
- MuVIM / Museu Valencia de l'Il.lustracio i la Modernitat: Museum looking at illustration and also contemporary pop culture. C/ Quevedo, 10 (near Guillem de Castro), 46001.
- Museu de Belles Arts (or "Pius V"). If you're into less modern art, go for the museum of fine arts. It has a lot of things to look at from the 14th to 17th centuries. It's a really huge collection. C/San Pío V, 9.
- Llotja de la seda. The earlier merchant's meeting place, with incredible gothic architecture. Pl. del Mercat 30.