The Esmorçaret Route in Valencia
17 October, 2016
Any traveller stopping over at the city on the river Túria has their sightseeing venues cut out for them – The City of Arts and Sciences, The Cathedral, El Miguelete, The Silk Exchange, The Central Market, Torres de Serrano, Torres de Quart, The Port, The Bioparc – if you have kids in tow – and, of course, The Albufera. Needless to say, all this should be accompanied by a good paella for lunch, and an horchata for afternoon tea.
But, Valencia is a lot more than this. Indeed, locals delight in a practice which is almost a religion – what is known here as the esmorçaret, a mid-morning sandwich with freshly baked bread, accompanied by a dish of olives or nuts, a beer and coffee… all for less than five euros.
Here is a our recommendation of 8 must-visit bars where you will gradually become adepts of that healthy practice which is usually indulged in between ten and twelve o’clock in the morning.
For Omelette Lovers
Bar Alhambra. Every day Benito, the owner of this small bar in the Juan Llorens area, prepares an average of six, two-and-a-half-kilo omelettes. The main kind is the potato omelette, but you can also choose between potato and onion, as well as potato and spring garlic, potato and sobrasada, (a spicy, pork sausage) and potato and morcilla (blood sausage),among others. Another of their finger-licking specialities is the apaleao (dry-cured pork loin).
Bar Rojas Clemente. Hidden in one of the city’s smallest markets, its bar counter provides a spectacle of myriad types of omelette, scrambled eggs, sausage and savoury pies, a local classic. Be sure to try the goat’s-milk cheese, candied-tomato and spinach omelette.
Under the Valencian Sun
Kiosco La Pérgola. Located in the tranquil, sought-after Paseo de la Alameda, this is one of the city’s classic venues, both for its food and sunny terrace. The “bombón” is the star bite – with pork loin, mushrooms, cheese and a special sauce. You can also elect to order the sandwich with just mushrooms, or with grouper or liver, which in La Pérgola is a whole delicacy.
Bodega La Pascuala. All the rage among elevenses devotees, this venue is located in the seafaring quarter of El Cabañal, just a stone’s throw from La Malvarrosa Beach. Their star performer is the “Súper”, an oversize sandwich comprising a whole stick of bread, with horse meat, onion, bacon, cheese and typical Catalan tomato bread. The peanuts and olives are on the house.
Central Bar. A Michelin-starred elevenses is also doable. Run by the acclaimed chef, Ricard Camarena, this bar is in the amazing Central Market in El Carmen District, the city’s historic centre. The star sandwich is named after Ricard Camarena himself and features pork fillet, onion, cheese and mustard – a festival of flavours!
A Classic – Calamari Sandwich
Casa Mundo. Founded in 1953 by a football player and Valencia CF’s greatest ever goal-scorer, Edmundo Suárez “Mundo”, this bar in the city centre has held out admirably against the invasion of franchises. Noteworthy is their famous calamari sandwich, but also the blanco y negro (black and white) with broad beans, as well as the chivito (steakburger) and pepito de pisto (ratatouille meat sandwich), which has been made to the same recipe for over 50 years.
La Piulà. A wealth of sandwiches with juicy, crisp, homemade batter-fried calamari. The optional condiment is a mild mayonnaise. Also well worth trying is their ciclista, made of ham, omelette and tomato as the main ingredients.
Hidden in the Historic City
Tasca Ángel. The last stop on our route is a secluded venue near the Mercat Central (Central Market), a few metres away from La Lonja (Silk Exchange). This bar features what are possibly the best sardines in town – their great draw and speciality – but they have other delicacies worth trying, too. From griddled vegetables to tapas you’d be hard put to find elsewhere, notably the riñoncitos (kidneys) and lleterola (gizzard), a favourite in the Horta Valenciana rural district. Oh, and don’t pass up theirajo arriero(salt cod, potato and garlic paste).
Check out your Vueling here and join the culture of the “esmorçaret”.
Text by Laura Llamas for Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS
17 October, 2016