On Sunday we returned from a week in Valencia. It was hot, a high of about 34 degrees during the day and 29 degrees at night, luckily Spain is well equipped with air conditioning everywhere which helped us cope with the heat. Valencia is a beautiful city lots of old and new mixed together, it's not overly big but there was enough to keep us entertained for the whole week, bars aplenty that's for sure. I had two stand out meals there one was paella for lunch at a restaurant on the beach and some tapas at a local restaurant five minutes from our apartment. However we also got to sample some really great vegetarian food at a restaurant in the popular Carmen barrio.
|down at the city of arts and science|
|inside La Pepica|
|large portion on my plate|
Our next food foray comes in the form of Villaplana, a local restaurant near our apartment in the Angel Guimera area. This was probably the best meal all round that we had whilst we were away. Phil, Rich and myself were feeling peckish so decided to take a gamble on this place as it looked somewhat busy and the menu sounded delicious. Walking inside it feels a bit like a deli/restaurant hybrid, bright lights and branded everything, but if meals in Portugal have told me anything, the brightest lit restaurant can yield the best meals. The Sports Cafe near my parent's house in the Terras de Bouro region of Portugal serves up some of the best food I've had whilst on holiday for under €10. Anyway I digress at Villaplana we ordered an array of tapas dishes and a wild card of pork loin to share among us which came with potatoes.
|Serrano Ham with blanched almonds|
|chicken and ham croquettes|
|chorizo baked in wine|
|sizzling prawns in garlic|
|rustic pork loin with potatoes, beans and leeks|
All simple food at family run Villaplana but beautifully cooked and so tasty it really lifted our spirits after the first meal we had, at La Taberna de Marisa was disappointing. So disappointing I am not even going to post any photos, the food was ok but so expensive so wouldn't recommend there are much better options out there. We were fed all this food for under €50 for three of us which included drinks. To get the feel of what the lovely Villaplana have to offer check out their website, albeit in Spanish.
In my search for the best croquettes the nicest we sampled came from a little cafe bar near the Cathedral called The Lion Bar (El Leon Bar) with a lovely owner he was so friendly, kind and was able to answer all of Abi's questions about the true vegetarianess of their veggie paella. I had a lovely refreshing salmon salad for lunch but it was the ham croquettes, rolled into balls as appears to be the Valencian style, that really shone in this place. The veggie paella was made with tofu and seaweed as it's main ingredients and looked really tempting.
|serrano ham croquettes|
|fried goats cheese|
|beautiful Malva-rosa beach|
|blue skies at the city of arts and science|
|enjoying the sea|