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Valencians eat late, so turn up early (7 or 8) for a table or late (10) to be fashionable. Food is colourful, utterly fresh and delicious (Valencia invented the paella) and local wines, especially dessert wines like Casta Diva are divine.
Amongst the myriad options on offer in El Centro, the two most delightful are Erba Cipollina and Ocho y Media. The former is an enchanting small location where friendly owners concoct culinary masterpieces (including dishes for specific dietary requirements), adorned with honeysuckle and edible blooms. Ocho y Media is a fabulous hip restaurant for those on a rather more generous budget, worth a visit for its Chocolate Lovers Menu alone.
The backstreets of Barrio del Carmen have a seemingly infinite number of places to eat. Try La Lluna for a cosy Valencian vegetarian meal or the more upscale Ana Eva, also meat-free.
Calle Conde Altea and Gran Via, to the south of the city centre, are amply stocked with eateries. Upscale French bistros, Mexican cantinas, Argentinian steakhouses, Chinese, Italian and many more enticing options line the streets in this stylish district. Eat at the bountiful terraces until you’ve more than satiated any desire for accordion serenades from the hordes of insistent East European minstrels. For cheap vegetarian food head for Salud’s all you can devour Chinese buffet. For an intimate romantic rendezvous, remove your footwear and take refuge in a tatami (Japanese private dining room) at Ao Yama.
Ocho y Medio - Plaza Lope de Vega 5, El Centro. Phone 96/392-2022
Erba Cipollina - Calle Viriato 7, El Centro. Phone 96/392-0496
La Pappardella - Calle Bordadores 5, El Centro. Phone 96/391-8915
La Lluna - Calle San Ramon 23, Barrio del Carmen. Phone 96/392-2146
Ana Eva - Calle Turia 49. Phone 96/391-5369
The Nature - Gran Via Ramon y Cajal 36. Phone 96/394-0141 (all you can eat vegetarian buffet)
Salud - Calle Conde Altea 44, Ruzafa. Phone 96/374-4361
Ao Yama - Calle Joaquin Costa 3, Ruzafa. Phone 96/374-8943
El Templo del Café – Av.da Maria Cristina 12, El Centro. Phone 96/315-2080