It’s not all about paella in Valencia – arroz (rice) can be rustled up a hundred different ways. And Paella Valenciana will be adapted to suit the season and region – and kitchen.
But we eat none of it, much to our surprise.
Because we stop in these places instead:
- Bodega Casa Montaña (for the ultimate classic tapas)
- Ubik Café (for a bit of a chill-out)
- Horchatería de Santa Catalina (to taste something new)
- Café San Jaume (final pitstop)
and are too busy having a Spanish lesson at Bodega LaPeseta to remember the rumour of the bar’s free Sunday tapas of paella.
Anyway, all the paella restaurants we see are down by the beach, and although Ernest Hemingway’s favourite looks lovely (and is reputed to be excellent) …
… it is completo and all of its neighbours have identical pricey menus.
So we wander across the beach for a while, before trying out other fare on offer a few blocks back from the sea.
I’m sure Ernest Hemingway ate well at La Pepica, but I’ve heard that a really good and authentic paella is generally hard to find in Valencia.
What we do learn is that paella is a lunchtime dish, and you should expect to wait for at least 20 minutes for it to be cooked to perfection.
Pans aplenty are for sale at the Mercat Central, in an ever-increasing scale of size.
So maybe we should simply try it out for ourselves.
Which, of course, would necessitate returning to Valencia on a purely paella fact-finding mission …. In the meantime, should you want to discover more about paella, click here for a very good round-up. And for how chefs are trying to save the punking up of paella, click here.
Now back to the legendary Bodega Casa Montaña …