Valencia boasts no less than five restaurants with one Michelin star (four in the city, though one is currently closed, and another one close by). Four of the decorated chefs have just returned home from London, where they took part in a special event to showcase the best of the Valencian gastronomy to a few lucky guests. If you want to enjoy the same experience, you’ll just need to come to Valencia. Fantastic food in the Mediterranean sun… it will be a real treat!
If you are celebrating a special occasion, want to treat a loved one (and yourself!) or are simply a lover of great food, you should try to book a table at Ricard Camarena, RiFF, El Poblet, La Sucursal, or, out of the city, Restaurante Casa Manolo. And the good news is that it doesn’t need cost the earth. If you grab a table during the Valencia Cuina Oberta, a special restaurant week from 20-30 October, you could enjoy a three course menu at a Michelin starred restaurant for just 35 euros for lunch or 45 for dinner (drinks not included), and get to know our best chefs.
Bernd H. Knöller left his native Germany and moved to Spain in 1991. After finding, in his own words, “Madrid was too big, Bilbao too dusty and San Sebastian too expensive”, he settled in Valencia and simply fell in love with the city: the sun, the sea… and the girls (he is married to a Valencian). He opened the Angel Azul, which was followed by RiFF (Conde de Altea 18) in 2001, winning his first Michelin star eight years later. He brings his own personal take on Mediterranean cuisine, changing the menu constantly and adding new, creative dishes with “whatever is in his mind”. His roast lamb in escalibada juice simply melts in the mouth!
La Sucursal is a family business, and a very successful one at that. It all started with Loles Salvador, mother of the four brothers currently running the restaurant, including Michelin starred chef Jorge de Andres. She was ahead of her time as an entrepreneurial lady, setting up her first restaurant business in the 1970s. She infused her passion for cooking to her sons, who grew up enjoying restaurant role-playing before joining her for the real thing. Now retired, she just can’t stop cooking and her home-made marmalades are often used in the restaurant.
At the helm, Jorge de Andrés has brought innovation to his mother’s traditional cooking, earning a Michelin star, both with his Vertical restaurant and with La Sucursal. The next phase of this amazing family history will unfold soon when La Sucursal, previously at the IVAM Museum of Modern Art and currently closed, reopens at the stunning Veles e Vents building by the Marina Real Juan Carlos I.
For Ricard Camarena, the product is king. He studies each fresh seasonal product carefully to understand what it offers and what it doesn’t, and get his inspiration. He adds his creativity to bring out the very best of each product in an eclectic menu that changes according to the season. This has won him a Michelin star three times, at Arrop, Arrop Valencia and the current one at the eponymous Ricard Camarena restaurant. His dishes are a true feast for the eyes as well as the palate. Just make sure you save space for desserts like his aniseed and orange buñuelos.
Quique Dacosta started cooking at the tender age of 14 and is accredited with creating a whole new style of cuisine in Valencia in the late 1980s. The city now plays host to three of his restaurants, including the Michelin starred El Poblet (Correos 8), borrowing the name of the original restaurant in Denia where he came to fame. Dishes come from traditional Valencia cuisine but Dacosta has taken them through an evolutionary process, to offer a historical tasting menu with such delectable dishes as fried oyster, rose petals and Iberian pork roast, as well as rice with smoked eel and cherries. Completing his portolio is Vuelve Carolina and the Mercatbar inside Valencia’s Central Market.
About an hour south of Valencia, on the seaside town of Daimús, you will find Restaurante Casa Manolo (Paseo Marítimo 5), but this is much more than a beach restaurant. It is all about the whole experience of tasting, smelling and feeling the sea around you. The chef, Manuel Alonso, describes himself as a perfectionist, always looking to excel, and someone who believes the devil is in the detail. He started with just a small chiringuito selling drinks on the beach over 30 years ago and now proudly offers some of the best maritime cuisine in Spain. For him, the Mediterranean sea is the best possible larder, where he gets his fresh daily ingredients. Try the sun-dried octopus (polp sec), a technique he learned from childhood.
It is clear that Valencia can boast of having some of the best chefs in the world. Jamie Oliver, eat your heart out (and your “so-called paella” with chorizo too)!