There’s a fair chance that you have already heard of Ricard Camarena. He is a man renowned for his ambition, whether it be his former calling as a musician or his current joie de vivre – cookery. This is a man whose raw passion, talent and desire for quality innovation has led him to the award-winning position he holds today.
Camarena trained at the School of Hospitality and Tourism of Valencia and perfected his culinary expertise at restaurants across the region. Just a few years after graduating, he opened his first restaurant ‘Arrop’ which was awarded a Michelin star and widely considered to be one of the most prestigious restaurants in the country. In 2006, he was named best chef by the Valencian Academy of Gastronomy.
For a man who is constantly seeking to push culinary boundaries, it is perhaps no surprise that he is currently at the helm of three restaurants in Valencia. Each has been created with its own distinct personality but designed to complement one another. Camarena describes this as a reflection of “a world that is constantly evolving.” And this world is one that is close to his heart. The chef consistently experiments with style, flavour and design but prioritises taste, seasonal produce and the creation of restaurants where diners feel as if they are at home above all.
The first project of the collection – the Ricard Camarena Restaurant – is located in the Ruzafa district. Every aspect of this gourmet restaurant has been finely tuned, from the taste and presentation of the food to the elegant, Asian-inspired décor marked by bamboo structures and a soothing, neutral colour scheme. The intimate space brings customers and staff together with a unique design twist that sees the kitchen connected to the dining area by a long table where diners can see their food being prepared. The restaurant was awarded a Michelin star just three months after opening and a steady flow of customers continue to return time and again to taste dishes made using the freshest seasonal produce sourced from local suppliers.
The second location, Canalla Bistro, is a cosmopolitan and extremely trendy restaurant/bar also located in the Ruzafa district. Take a journey across the world with a creative, well-priced menu that offers the finest global gastronomy made using fresh Valencia produce. Travel to the Far East with the smoked eel nigiri and spicy tempura vegetables or visit the Big Apple with a good old-fashioned pastrami sandwich, all while relaxing among the funky décor and lively atmosphere of this popular eatery.
To complete the trio is the effortlessly cool Central Bar, located in the Central Market. The bar serves an incredible 640 kilos of market produce every day to the thousands of people passing by who stop for a taste from the menu of the famous chef. A wide selection of tapas is on offer, along with delicious bocadillos, served hot or cold. The surroundings are pretty spectacular too – voted as one of the world’s 12 most beautiful covered markets, it has over 400 stalls and the largest selection of fresh produce in Europe.
To find out more: