Valencians are VERY passionate about their heritage especially when it comes to food. In the 5 years that I have lived here, I have learnt not to mess or even joke about putting chorizos in a paella. For the reasons that, mentioning such comment even in a joke can potentially get me hung out, beaten and tortured!
Sharing a paella with family and friends during weekends, social events and fiestas is a tradition that many Valencian still do religiously.
To mess with their regional dish by adding ‘things’ or ‘cosas’ can truly offend them. It’s understandable, because over the years, like with many traditional dishes, the Valencian paella has been modified by different cultures beyond recognition.
If you’re a tourist, it’s easy to assume that paellas served in Spain are authentic. But this is not the case. I’ve seen paellas with eggs, peas, bacon, chorizos, hot dogs, kebabs, the list goes on… Things that can make a Valencian blood run cold with horror. This type of sacrilege to the paella can possibly start a revolution!
So, if you’re visiting Valencia and want to try something authentic, I would suggest heading to Albufera Nature Park. The birthplace of the paella. Within this area you will find the towns of El Palmar, Pinedo and El Saler. These are the popular spots when it comes to finding the best restaurants who are dedicated to serving you the freshest, original and traditional Valencian dishes.
Restaurants That Serve Authentic Paella In Valencia
La Genuina Restaurante *****
What’s more traditional than eating a paella in an authentic Valencian barraco that has been standing for more than 200 years? La Genuina Restaurante located in Pinedo offers diners authentic Valencian rice dishes. From lobster, crab to duck, to black paellas to the more traditional ones.
Nao Borraset ****
Located in Pinedo, Nao Borraset have been serving traditional Valencian cuisine for over 30 years. Their recipes have been passed down from generations and they pride themselves in serving the freshest ingredients sourced from their very own garden.
Restaurante Bon Aire *****
Restaurante Bon Aire in El Palmar offers authentic Valencian gastronomic dishes. They serve traditional and modern Valencian cuisine, which feeds on La Albufera including their own vegetable garden where they grow their own seasonal vegetables and fruits.
Restaurante L’Establiment *****
Located in El Palmar, on the edge of a canal that borders rice paddy fields Restaurante L’Establiment is a great way to spend a traditional lunch in Valencia. They offer a wide range of classic Valencian dishes with a view to match.
Restaurant El Sequer de Tonica ****
A Valencian restaurant located in the El Palmar. El Restaurant El Sequer specialises in traditional Valencian cuisine, and rice dishes. Try their authentic paellas, such as All i Pebre, Paella Valenciana, Black Rice, Arroz a Banda, Seafood Paella, Vegetable Paella, Rice with Lobster.
Llar Roman ****
Llar Roman in Pinedo has been open since 1973. During these 40 years, the restaurant has evolved but have always maintained the essence of traditional Valencian cuisine. As well as serving the traditional dishes, they also offer gluten-free options without compromising authentic flavours.
Alqueria del Brosquil ****
A beautiful farmhouse restaurant of Brosquil is located in the village of Castellar, Albufera. Boasting it’s perfect setting within the orange trees, it’s a great place to take in the ambience and gastronomic delight that’s on offer. The perfect environment to enjoy the culture and of course taste the typical rice dishes of Valencia.
Alqueria de la Mar ****
Located in Pinedo, just five minutes from Valencia. Alqueria de la Mar offers the usual selection of typical Valencia dishes. The menu contains a variety of options, both meat and fish. They also have a well-stocked cellar that offers you a wide range of local wines, Riojas and Riberas.
If you really want to experience the real Valencia, then trying paella is definitely a must. With many restaurants around the city, it’s hard to find which one serves the real deal. By going to where this dish is have originated from is the best way to find out.
You can also search via Wikipaella, an organisation dedicated to policing the paella (I told you the paella is sacred). Here you will be able to search the best places that serve authentic paellas.