Wednesday 22 June 2016

Ricard Camarena, València, Spain.

If you're in València for a weekend as we were, you can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner all at a  different Ricard Camarena restaurant. 
El Mercat Central de València is such an impressive space, larger and less expensive than Barcelona's Boqueria. The quality and variety of the fish and seafood section alone is truly amazing to see. Camarena's Central Bar always seemed to be completely full when we wandered around. We finally managed to get four seats and ordered a good tortilla, proper freshly squeezed orange juice and decent coffee to start the day of eating rather well. I wish we'd have been in town longer to try other stuff on the menu. The constant queue of locals really say it all.

For lunch we chose the one Michelin Star Ricard Camarena Restaurant as we find a taster menu is much better to manage in the daytime. This restaurant has been on the to eat list for some time and it certainly didn't disappoint. The snacks element to begin with is especially good, wave after wave of beautiful little bites come and go. For the mains part of the taster menu we choose mainly fish and seafood dishes; cocochas are always a joy, tuna back cheek is another fine choice. The desserts I recall through a fog of fine wine, were absolutely superb. (Photos below).  
The Menú degustación costs us €90.

Canalla Bistro was one of those places that I could have ordered practically everything off the menu. It's a a hipster friendly bistro with dishes from all around the world. The Spanish seem to be able to do this very well, I've noticed a recent fashion for tapas bars taking foreign dishes (Thai, Mexican) and putting the Spanish spin on them. I loved everything I ate here. I had two Mexican tacos (ox tail and tuna belly), sweet potato and foie pie, sea bass ceviche and the best and rarest burger I've had for some time. Great fun. Don't miss the 'fake' banana dessert.
What was interesting to me is how Ricard Camarena has translated what he does in three entirely different ways, a casual café bar in a market, a high end Michelin star restaurant and a cool and hip bistro, and we really enjoyed them all. Similarly, Quique Dascosta also has a high end place in the city, a more causal restaurant and a market bar. This constant innovation which trickles down from the highest level from chefs like this is one of the reasons that I think the whole of Spain is one of the most exciting places to eat in at every level.


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