Russafa and the Ubik Café

The Russafa district of Valencia is said to be the place to be. Café tables straddle the sunny streets, and artisan bakeries throw out sweet fumes – the barrio breathes a laid-back, bohemian air.

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Russafa (Ruzafa in Spanish) has evolved from a working class barrio – settled by a largely Muslim population in the second half of the 20th century – to become a hip and friendly multicultural hub.

It’s a colourful place – the retro Mercat de Russafa shouts out the barrio’s 21st century confidence.

Lying just south of the oldest part of the city, the district has fewer sites, but you don’t need them with the number of eateries on offer (including two owned by top chef Ricard Camarena).

We find our lunch by gazing up at this elegant building … and then down to the establishment housed below – the Ubik Café.

Ubik Café, Russafa, Ruzafa, Valencia, Spain, España, tapas, books, bookshop, food, drink, café, bar, local, music, people, travel, travel with kids, language, family travel, wanderlust, travel bug, traveling, blog, travelogue.

My eye is drawn to the chalked blackboards offering a super simple menu.

No. 3 and I take a peek inside.

Ubik Café, Russafa, Ruzafa, Valencia, Spain, España, tapas, books, bookshop, food, drink, café, bar, local, music, people, travel, travel with kids, language, family travel, wanderlust, travel bug, traveling, blog, travelogue.We see stacks of books, relaxed chat and a mis-matched, carefree look – we’re sold.

There’s a music demo happening in an event space and children are playing nearby. We instantly feel at home.

The menu seems to be a Spanish-Italian mix, with dishes prepared using seasonal produce sourced daily from the Mercat de Russafa.

The food is tasty and unpretentious.

We linger awhile because it’s such an easy place to be – there are books galore in all sorts of languages, and quirky touches like an old typewriter and a table for one decorated with maps.

So you can read, eat, drink and plan travel … but that’s not all.

Recent events at the Ubik Café have included jazz sessions, art exhibitions, massage (for adults and children), hula-hoop dancing, open-mic poetry and improvised theatre. You can even practise your language skills at its regular language exchange evenings.

The buzz at night in Russafa is apparently unbeatable – I’m sure the Ubik Café is no exception – although it probably buzzes in a very chilled-out way.

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