Restaurants in Valencia.
Hi my family of 6 will be traveling to Valencia, Madrid and Barcelona this summer.
We are willing to eat anything tasty and want some good restaurants that aren't TOO expensive.
Can someone give me some must-tries in these 3 cities that aren't outrageous. Anything dirt cheap or anything thats reasonable ($60ish USD and under per person). As in maybe 10 for an appetizer, 25 for entree, 10 for dessert. Also would like some great tapas bars!
Also, in either Barcelona or Madrid we would like to try one nice restaurant that serves Spanish cuisine. By "nice", I mean like $100 USD per person.
My suggestion is to search this board as there have been tons of posts on eating in Barcelona and Madrid; also a few on Valencia. They include all types of restaurants and tapas/pintxos places. Also if you can be more specific, other than your budget; ie. are there any small children, type of food (just Spanish is too general as there is a wide variety), are you there in August, you will get some good appropriate recommendations. For your one splurge meal:
Arce in Madrid: comfortable decor, family run, every good informal service, excellent Basque inspired Spanish cooking (some tradtional as well as modern touches), I've seen large families dining there, the chef is very accommodating and will tailor a menu for your group. For $100US, you will eat very well with some decent wines.
Fonda Gaig (not Can Gaig which is also good but more expensive) in Barcelona: very good traditional Catalan food; lively ambience and smartly decorated, professional service; will come well under your $100US with inexpensive wines.
Definitely do a search for Valencia - I got some great tips here by Chowhound poster Msmarabini. One place that was really incredible was the Seu Xeria "lounge" where they have an incredible multi course lunch for 12 euros. I cannot recommend the place highly enough. Here's a link for a review I put in on slowtrav.com - http://www.slowtrav.com/spain/restaur...
Definitely don't miss the Mercato Central - incredible! We bought pates, cheeses, incredible fresh sausages, eggs, veggies, and a ton of wine in that place. Helps to have an apartment, though.
I definitely second the reference to msmarabini. We wanted to try authentic paella and went to El Palmar, to the restaurant she recommended L'establiment and it was incredible. We let the waiter, who I think was actually the owner, pick the menu out for us. We had fantastic starters which included mini vongole and prawns whilst we waited for our seafood paella to cook and it was so worth waiting for. There were lots of big groups around us and they had extra large paella's cooked for them so I imagine it would be quite cost effective. This place is nothing fancy but it's absolutely authentic and tricky to find but soooo worth it. Give the restaurants by the beach a miss, we tried the paella there and it was very average. There was no atmosphere and we were surrounded by tourists. It's a must go to, if you are gong to valencia.
I wanted to mention a great French bakery we found in (of all places) Valencia during our last trip: El Parisien (http://foursquare.com/venue/817322). This patisserie had fabulous all-butter croissants, pain au chocolate, and a flaky pastry covered in caramel. Wonderful, strong tea, served in little pots and good coffee. It was so good, we went back twice. Prices were also very reasonable.
It's heretical to say so, but I was in Paris for a week and never found pastries this good.
My wife and I made the same circuit a couple of years ago. Our favorites were:
For Barcelona - El Quim de la Boqueria (in the Boqueria market itself) delicious but always crowded.
For Valencia - Askua Restaurante (C/ Felip Maria Garin,4) and Riff Restaurante (Calle del Conde de Altea, 18) are both extrordinary and probably on the north side of your price range but worth the money.
For Madrid - Sobrino de Botin (Calle de los Cuchilleros, 17) is a great experience.
All the above can be found on the web. Have a great time!
Dantxari, Basque cuisine. Very good value for money.
El Quinto Vino, my fav traditional tapas restaurant.
For people who like bizarre experiences, Freiduría de Gallinejas is a lamb offal restaurant.