#mmpaella Welcome to the home of rice: the Region of Valencia
Paella. Do you know it? It is one of the most typical dishes in Spanish cuisine and it comes from the Region of Valencia. Furthermore, it is the starting point for this gastronomic journey on which we would like you to discover this region in the east of Spain through its numerous dishes based on rice, the main ingredient of paella.
Choose the basis for your trip below: emblematic places where you can have some great rice or enjoy the most typical dishes? But with a warning, a tip and a request in advance. First, you can eat delicious Valencia rice anywhere in the Region of Valencia. Second, take advice from Valencia natives regarding the best dish at the place you are visiting. And, lastly, we encourage you to share your experience in the comments below or on social media using hashtag #mmpaella
WHERE: provinces of Valencia, Alicante and Castellón
- 1 DESTINATION 1: Valencia
- 2 DESTINATION 2: Alicante
- 3 DESTINATION 3: Castellón
DESTINATION 1: province of Valencia
The first recommendation is the city of Valencia. It's very easy to get there (it has an international airport, train connections to Madrid and Barcelona, and a ferry port). The best part is that you can find somewhere to have a great paella while you discover its medieval historic quarter on foot or visit the innovative City of Arts and Sciences. There are lots of options for some great rice. Next to the sea on the Malvarrosa Beach, where there are really old restaurants such as La Pepica, La Marcelina or Casa Carmela. The Saler Beach is also very popular, where you will find restaurants right in the dunes. Meanwhile, there is an interesting option in the city. It is called “VLC Menu” and it allows you try typical Valencia cuisine in restaurants all over Valencia at cheap prices.
Agència Valenciana del Turisme
Rice in the vegetable garden
Paella and many typical dishes in the region combine rice with produce from the vegetable garden. We recommend you savour them in the rural surroundings in which they are grown. The area of the Albufera Nature Reserve, barely 10 kilometres from Valencia, is worthy of note. Here, besides enjoying the gastronomy, you can visit the rice fields and sail through the wetlands where it is grown. For this and other activities relating to paella, see “Paella Experience” by the Valencia Tourism Board. If you would like to discover the vegetable garden, a good option are farmhouses such as Barraca by Toni Montoiu in Meliana. Other very touristic destinations in the province where you can discover interesting rice restaurants are Gandía, Sagunto, Cullera, Requena or Ontinyent, for example. Remember that you will also find an ideal companion for rice dishes in the province of Valencia: the wines on the Utiel-Requena Wine Route.
DESTINATION 2: province of Alicante
It also has an international airport in Elche, about 10 kilometres from the city of Alicante. Likewise, the AVE high speed train also connects it to Madrid. Do you know that this area of the Region of Valencia has several internationally recognised restaurants? Make the most of this chance and enjoy the most modern and creative version of classic rice dishes revised by prestigious chefs such as Quique Dacosta, whose restaurant is in Dénia. There are lots more establishments that are very well-known amongst those who know best such as, for example, Casa Pepa in Ondara; L'Escaleta in Cocentaina; La Finca in Elche; Casa Alfonso in Orihuela; Monastrell in Alicante; or Bon Amb in Jávea.
Traditional rice dishes
Alicante combines sea and inland. It is more common for rice dishes at the coast to be accompanied by shellfish and, inland, by produce from the vegetable garden. “Caldero” is a typical dish belonging to the first group, a sticky rice dish made with coastal fish and very common in the south of Alicante, the Isla de Tabarca, Villajoyosa and Torrevieja. Two of the most popular beaches for enjoying a delicious paella next to the sea are Albufereta Beach in Alicante and Portixol Beach in Jávea. Meanwhile, amongst the second group, the traditional “Arròs amb fesols i naps” (rice with beans and turnip) stands out. It is one of the most classic dishes in the areas known as Marina Alta, El Comtat and L'Alcoià. Meanwhile, in the area of Vinalopó, rice is usually cooked with snails and rabbit. And as the perfect combination with rice, you can choose wines from the Alicante Wine Route.
DESTINATION 3: province of Castellón
The province is well connected by road and train to other Spanish Mediterranean destinations and to Madrid, and also has an airport with direct flights to the United Kingdom. When it comes to eating great rice, we suggest you do so with sea views at any of the little fishing villages, such as Alcossebre; in towns with well-known beaches, such as Peñíscola, Oropesa or Benicassim; and in surroundings of great beauty further inland, such as Morella or Segorbe. The seaside area of Grao de Castellón de la Plana and its historic quarter are also very popular. When it comes to ordering, we recommend the region's specialities: shellfish paella, mountain paella,“cullera i mosca” paella and rice with artichokes and king prawns.
Tips and interesting facts
- In the Region of Valencia, numerous popular festivities take place all throughout the year and rice dishes play an important role in many of them. There are even rice events organised, the date of which may vary. See our calendar and ask at tourist offices for more information. There are extensive catering options and some can be booked over the internet. We recommend searching in our section on gastronomic experiences and checking the Valencia Tourist Board website for availability. Traditional paella is made over a wood fire. Remember: this may be a good indication that you're going to enjoy a delicious paella. They're always good but paella and rice dishes are recommended, above all, as main meals of the day.
Do you have other rice recipes? Have you discovered the perfect place for them? Have you cooked one and would you like to show off your work? You can do so on social media using hashtag #mmpaella or in the comments below.