The restaurant Chaparral is the best kept secret that hides in the Sierra Calderona. About 40 minutes from Valencia, this is the place where you will want to go on a pilgrimage every weekend in search of the best lunches and firewood. If you don’t know la Calderona, the time has come. The wonderful setting and traditional Valencian cuisine are joined together at Chaparral.
The restaurant has about 50 years of history. It started back in the sixties, with the owner Juan. When he retired, Quique and Lorena, regular clients of the place, decided to take the reins of the business. Now Lorena is in charge of coordinating the paella dishes and the kitchen, and Quique, the organization and attention. It has a capacity for about 120 people, and has a team of 9 people with an organization of 10 to pamper their clients with a family treatment.
Without a doubt, paella is the star dish of the house, serving thousands of portions a year. Nevertheless they have been recognized with “cullera de fusta” on Wikipaella, because it is cooked with firewood and with traditional ingredients. So you have total certainty that in Chaparral you will be able to taste authentic paella. But you won’t only find it with rice on the menu, they also serve it with dry and broth rice dishes, as well as other seasonal rice dishes such as mushrooms (Rebollón, Boletus, Rosiñoles), which you can only get in the autumn months.
The restaurant is a meeting place for groups of friends and families, as well as cyclists and bikers who ride their bikes on routes in the area. Of course it’s the best way to recover from the effort with its delicious and traditional lunches. It’s something typically Valencian, the culture of “esmorzaret”. For just 7 euros, every weekend you can enjoy snacks, drinks, cocoa and olives. And finally, a great “cremaet”: a coffee with burned liquor (usually rum) with which you will close with honor your lunch time.
Grilled meats are another one of the specialties of the place. In addition to the chops, you have to try the grilled rabbit that marinates for 24 hours, with a wine sauce, rosemary, thyme, garlic and pepper. This is the only way to make sure that the grill is rich and not dry due to a lack of fat.
All these delicacies add up to a great variety of starters, like calamari in tempura, ajoarriero, bravas or homemade croquettes. Cod, chicken and ham are the variants you will find. Although if you go during the spring or summer, with basil they make a grilled eggplant with pesto and parmesan cheese that promises.
Also delicious are the seasonal artichokes that they prepare in two ways, with a marinade with soy sauce (the sugar of the sauce counteracts the acidity of the marinade and softens it) or to the plate. Whatever you choose, you’ll be right. Everything here will surprise you. You arrive, sit in the dining room or the terrace and enjoy the environment and the pure air of la Calderona, besides the food, of course.
The average price is around 20 or 25 euros for the food, always a la carte. Although we warn you that the portions are generous, so keep in mind when ordering because we know it will cost you to decide.
Phone: 961 688 707
Hours: Saturday, Sunday and festivities, from 9:30am, until they run out of food.
Average price: 20 or 25 euros
Text: Inma Sánchez
Photo: Laura Torres