We enter a delicate terrain, one that is the subject that concerns us and touches the fiber to the most impassive Valencian. It is said that to understand what happens in the city in the middle of the morning, you have to live it from within. Still we try to make a portrait as faithful as possible to the pleasing mornings most native of La Teresa, the lunch, or breakfast. To open the mouth, a fact: the etymology of the world lunch reminds us that its first meaning was “bite”; the snack between hours. We anticipate that here the concept has been taken, to put it mildly, a step beyond.
The breakfast is venerated. For that reason you will find in every neighborhood, village or polygon countless temples for lunch with bars crammed with products, where it cannot fit a soul during rush hour in the morning. The most hardworking clerks in suits and ties share spaces to consume the sacred combination of a sandwich, skewer or dish, with the secondary actors of any breakfast that boasts: Cocoa collared – the native, if you have not tested you’re missing the tastiest peanuts – olives mashed or divided, and pickles. All this accompanied by a drink – wine, beer or soda – and culminated with a coffee-cremeat preferably.
Luckily there is a wide offer, nice and cheap good lunch bars within the capital of Túria, which does not make it easy to make a selection. That is why we’ve divided this compilation into two parts. Here we leave you, with much affection and humility, the first ten selected.
This iconic enclave of the Rabanal’s Sailor neighborhood opened its doors for the first time as the headquarters for the “Society of Maritime Fishermen’s League” no later than 1909. Twelve years later, Pascuala Vivas took the reigns of the premises, and began to prepare commands to carry them at dawn to the crews of the ships before going out to fish. The same family continues to run the winery, which cannot deny its origins. Its long trajectory dedicated to fill the stomachs of fishermen is evident today in one of the most forceful lunches in Valencia, with its sandwiches a quarter or its impressive bravas. Pure cabañalera tradition of this place, one of the most beloved by Valencians, which has a star ingredient of horse meat.
47 years serving lunches explains this establishment; a crowded counter, or fires always running to be replenished. The activity at the bar is frantic all morning. The convening power of a lunch – of the real ones, like this one – is able to congregate without distinction to bankers, workers, politicians, housewives, or students. This cast that fills the bar daily at Rojas Clemente, is a loyal clientele, which has crowned the Jamonada (ham, potatoes and egg) and the tortilla of onion and cod as the kings of the bar.
Ricard Camarena, who knows well what high-flying cooking is, knows that there is nothing better than landing it on something so popular and simply as good as lunch. And he has done it in one of the most privileged places in the city: the central market. It’s the only licensed establishment to cook inside the historic building, which makes it a real pleasure to stop in the midst of the hustle and bustle of greengrocers and delicatessens to enjoy a good sandwich. As expected, anything you ask for in this bar is from toma-pan-y-moja, from the cod fritters to the red prawn from Dénia, passing by the dishes of spoon – the most demanded by the workers of the market. Of their sandwiches, we were left with the scoundrel, with hot sausage, scrambled pepper and pickle.
In the archi-famous Alhambra Brewery do not expect to find great luxuries nor pretentiousness. A small and simple local specializing in omelettes has managed to conquer the stomachs of thousands of Valencians for years. They all have potato, and another ingredient, such as sobrasada or asparagus; they have 36 eggs and a juicy interior that awakens all your senses before you even try it. They are the omelettes of the Alhambra brewery, and we assure you that when you try them, you will understand their fame.
A family of hoteliers of race, with this innate emotional intelligence of the sector, runs this bar of considerable size in which there is not a free spot from 9 to 10 in the morning. Little or nothing has been written of this place that houses one of the most nutritious and varied lunch bars you can find, full of fresh products and traditional guisitos. It is like a well-kept secret that has come by talk from neighbors and a multitude of workers who, even if they come from afar, have the “Guimerá” as the preferred one for their morning break. Not only is it great and as abundant as if your own grandmother prepared it, it is also one of the most economical of Cap i Casal.
Around the municipal markets, many of the best places to try a real Valencian lunch have emerged. El Trocito del Medio is attached to one of the doors of the emblematic Central market, and as its name suggests, it is a narrow corner flanked by the other, larger premises. In its terrace, or in its surprisingly spacious interior, you can taste its star sandwich, baked pork with potatoes and aioli. We don’t know what his secret is, but it’s spectacular.
Kiosko La Pérgola
An essential for the lunch route, of the ones for all life. Besides having everything you have to have to enter all the rankings of the good breakfast, highlights the location of this kiosk, in the middle of Alameda, next to the river and the garden of nurseries. A place to enjoy the almost perennial sunlight of this city. The most popular as the establishment is the “Super Bombón”, a sandwich with loin, cheese, mushrooms, potatoes and special sauce. You can’t miss their delicious two-sauce cuttlefish sandwich, and to finish, cremate no doubt, is one of the best.
There is an oasis of peace and good vibes in the middle of Valencia’s historic quarter: the Plaza de la Tapinería. A team of creative people from the hospitality, advertising and business world turned an abandoned corner of Carmen into a space for art, gastronomy, tourism and one of the coolest leisure offers in the city. Part of the blame for this wonderful combination of La Bernarda, a place full of old siphons, plants, and above all, boxes and vegetable boxes. Fortunately for us, they have decided to recover the baptized as “Large Esmorzaret”, in which you choose between a whole bar, half or a fourth. There are few places with a good lunch that have such an interesting terrace where you are as comfortable as in the Plaza de le Tapinería. The products of the market – always fresh – include a spectacular Spanish omelette and the affection that these people put in everything does make it one of our favorites.
El Clavo is a newcomer to one the neighborhood with more breakfast culture, Grao, but it comes with great desire. Along with other mythical places, and opposite the old market, this establishment opens its way with modern taste but retains a lot of tradition. A tavern where you want to spend the hours with friends, which doesn’t have a huge, but a well-selected menu with some of the classics with very competitive prices. Highly recommended is the omelet skewer with chorizo and or the sandwich of thin slices of veal with garlic.
Before entering Puerta del Mar, you do not expect the spectacle the is repeated day after day in its spacious and elegant interior. Located in the heart of the city, its tables are occupied by an army of customers, delivered to gastronomic pleasure. But attention, do not be fooled by the neckties of their customers, this is one of the bars that deserves the city’s worth in relation quality to quantity price, and in a few years has managed to rival the most revered classics. It highlights the overflowing variety of its bar, the speed and good organization of the service and the detail of the cover of bravas to finish the morning gluttony.
Text and Photos: Marta Pascual