The Cabanyal district
The history of Valencia is linked to this fishing district. El Cabanyal-Canyamelar became an independent municipality in the 19th century under the name of Pueblo Nuevo del Mar. Today it is still a fisherman’s district, the subject of some of the most Costumbrist postcards, depicting traditional scenes, where life goes at a different pace.
Its architectural value is immeasurable. In El Cabanyal there are fishing huts and cabins, tiled façades, coloured buildings and modernist structures. From the Lonja de Pescadores (fish market) to the Grao Market, passing by the houses in the streets of calle Sant Pere, calle La Reina and calle Escalant, and even the area of Progrés and Amparo Guillem. The particular layout of its buildings and its street plans (the passageways are almost maze-like) also create a very authentic social atmosphere and way of life, which has been almost extinguished in large cities.
Additionally, in recent years a different feeling has spread out through its streets. The younger generation has turned back towards the beach area, not just to understand its value, but to enrich it with their cultural ideas. As has been the case with other districts around the world, the bohemian sentiment has driven a renaissance. The area now has a network involving art groups and theatre companies with numerous projects on the go. Some good examples are the reopening of the Teatre El Musical (TEM) and the Cabanyal Íntim Festival, a spring event with works in small format, performed in houses of historical interest.
As for cuisine, the district has also seen the arrival of a new wave of chefs with great respect for seafood. By the beach it has always been possible to enjoy good rice dishes at Casa Carmela, and the best winery tapas at Casa Montaña. But there are also some equally good more recent offerings, such as the Anyora vermouth bar and the Fumiferro grill. If you’d like to have a few beers, the best thing to accompany them with are the tortillas at La Peseta or the giant sandwiches at La Pascuala y La Paca. Then you can spend the rest of the afternoon, and even the night, in La Fábrica de Hielo, a multidisciplinary space that also sometimes has food trucks.