We first met Francisco when he was a waiter at La Forcola on Calle Borrull. It was our first night in our new apartment and we had just traveled some fourteen hours from Los Angeles. Exhausted as we were, Francisco made our first night in town a memorable experience. When he opened Balland Nudi in April of 2012, we were among his first customers. Since then we have eaten there once a month, at least.
Let me tell you what you can expect if you decide to eat there. The space is small and, at most seats 25 people at 4 communal tables. The menu is limited, given the size of both the space and the kitchen. You can start your meal with a variety of bruschette, a plate of Italian cheeses, a plate of Italian charcuterie, or one of three salads. Everything is organic. All meats and cheeses are imported from Italy and are of the best quality. Having finished your appetizers, your focus will turn to the pastas.
If memory serves me well, there are about a dozen choices. Some of the pastas are commercial pastas, the raviolis and the tagliatelle are all hand made. I have sampled all the pastas and they are outstanding. I think Ballando Nudi makes the best pasta in Valencia. My personal favorites are the tagliatelle that have just been introduced to the menu and the pasta bolognese that is unlike any other bolognese I have tasted. If you are looking for ground beef in your bolognese, you have come to the wrong place. The bread come from an artisan bakeshop around the corner and, for me, is an important component of the experience.
There are usually three or four desserts available and my personal favorite is the tiramisu. It is dense and creamy and not the light and airy puffery that passes for tiramisu in other Valencian restaurants. Espresso is available after your meal, but decaf is not an option.
The wine list is limited to perhaps two dozen choices and all the wines are from Italy. I have sampled seven or eight of them, both reds and whites, and they have all been outstanding. The house beer is Estrella de Galicia.
The prices reflect the quality of the ingredients. The menu is presented on a blackboard that Francisco will bring to your table. The blackboard allows him to describe each and every item in detail. His passion for food, things Italian and the environment is reflected in his every word and gesture. As a friend of our said on Saturday, his descriptions were so enticing that you wanted to order everything. By the way, the description accurately reflects what you get on your plate and what you get on your plate are quality ingredients, carefully prepared and served in a way that appeal to the eye and your other senses.
Meat, fish and chicken are not served here. There is no pizza. The decor is minimalist to say the least. It can get noisy at times. However, what you will find here is an enjoyable experience that will leave you wanting more and, most likely, planning a return visit in order to enjoy more.
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