Disclosure: I was given a complimentary tour in exchange for this review but, as always, all opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links.
I spent an entire summer in Valencia, so naturally I had to experience all the awesome things there are to do in the city – one of which, of course, was a Valencia food tour. Food tours are my new obsession while on the road, and with good reason. They’re the best way to sample the best dishes and restaurants a city has to offer. Why waste your calories on bad food?
Although I had already been in Valencia for a couple of weeks by the time I did my Valencia food tour, I’m pretty confident that I wouldn’t have learned about all the delicious hidden gems in the city without Lenny, my incredibly knowledgeable tour guide. As a fellow foodie, she knew where to get the best version of every Valencian dish, and even sent me a comprehensive list of must-eat places after the tour. Talk about good customer service!
Pictures are worth a thousand words (or more when it comes to food!), so I’ll let the photos of the tour speak for themselves. Without further ado: the best Valencia food tour review!
Note: Unfortunately, Valencia Urban Adventures is no longer running so I’ve updated all the links to a similar, highly-rated food tour instead. You can book said food tour here.
Table of Contents
Valencia food tour: an epic foodie experience
Horchata (Orxata) will make you forget almond milk
The tour started just down the street from my apartment at Mercado de Colón. Unlike the Central Market, which boasts an enormous variety of groceries and fresh seafood, Mercado de Colón is more of a collection of cafes, bars and restaurants. It has become my go-to hangout spot, especially when craving a horchata de chufa.
Before I did this Valencia food tour, I didn’t realize that Valencian horchata is different than the Mexican version I loved back home. Horchata de chufa (also spelled orxata de xufa in Valencian) is a dairy-free slightly sweetened drink made from tiger nuts (the Mexican version is made with rice). It’s delicious and refreshing. Once Lenny introduced me to the café in the Mercado that has the best horchata in Valencia, I would visit anywhere from 3-5x per week. It was an obsession. Side note: you can’t have a horchata without an accompanying fartón (sweet breadstick) to dip into it. Do as the locals do!
Mercado Central, a foodie must-visit
A food tour in Valencia would be incomplete if we didn’t go to the Mercado Central, Valencia’s famous central food market. This was my go-to place to shop for food and foodie souvenirs. It has an abundance of items: fresh produce, cheeses and cured meats, a selection of nougat, and much, much more. While here on my food tour, I was treated to a delicious cured beef and cheese tasting. I was extra excited because up until that point in all my Spain travels, I’d only ever encountered cured ham. This was my first time at a place that sells cured beef and it was so good. I really appreciated that Lenny took my dietary restrictions into consideration when I was there.
Note: The original tasting included a tasting of ham and cheese, with an explanation as to the differences between serrano and iberico ham. Since I don’t eat pork, I was offered an alternative of cured beef.
While at the market, I also got the opportunity to visit a saffron and paprika shop to learn all about the saffron growing process. Did you know it takes around 150 saffron flowers just to get one gram of saffron spice? Now I understand why it’s so expensive! Part of the Valencia food tour included my choice of paprika to take home – I chose the smoked paprika and love cooking with it.
On the way to the neighborhood of Russafa (where the rest of the tour took place), I stopped inside the beautiful Correos building (the main post office) in Plaza del Ayuntamiento. Valencians clearly take architecture seriously, because that was one of the most exquisite post offices I’ve ever been to. U.S.A., take note!
An unexpectedly sweet stop
Although I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, the chocolate truffle I had from Trufas Martinez in Russafa might be the best I’ve ever had. Seriously, it melted in my mouth.
Although the storefront is tiny, the owners make all the chocolates from scratch in the shop. They even have “travel truffles” for those of you who want to take the goodies home to family and friends.
The coolest part about this place is that you can’t even find it on Tripadvisor – it’s truly a “locals only” spot. I know that even in the couple of months I spent living in Valencia I never thought to walk into it. I suppose this is just one of many reasons to take a Valencia food tour!
Russafa neighborhood and market
The rest of my Valencia food tour took place in Russafa, the trendy meets hipster neighborhood. It’s affordable and has a local feel, but still caters to the “cool kids” with good ethnic food, well-designed cafes, and quirky boutique shops.
Our next stop on the tour was to the Russafa Market. Although it’s similar to the Mercado Central, it’s much smaller and consequently far less overwhelming. Most tourists favor the Mercado Central, so many don’t bother visit this one. I was the same before I did this tour, but after Lenny introduced me to it, I returned often to pick up groceries.
While at the Rusaffa market, I feasted on a delicious sampling of olive oils, tapenades, and jams. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m an olive fiend, so, needless to say, I bought both the green and black olive tapenade for my apartment. SO delicious. Look for the booth in the photo below when you visit the Russafa Market!
Meloso, paella’s soupy cousin
The last official stop of the tour was at El Huerto, a historical restaurant in Russafa. Despite its large size and beautiful décor, El Huerto appears to be a somewhat inconspicuous building near the Russafa market. I concluded my tour with two tapas: a beetroot gazpacho and a cod fritter.
Thanks to Lenny’s insider connection, I was able to lunch on an individual-sized meloso (a specialty soupy rice dish and a staple of Valencian cuisine). Because cooking Spanish rice dishes is such a huge effort, most restaurants will almost never make them for one person. I felt special :). Of course, like everything I ate on the food tour, the meloso was delicious.
All in all, I highly, highly recommend doing this food tour in Valencia. Many people come to Valencia and try paella and maybe a horchata, but this tour taught me that Valencian food is much, much more than paella. I’ve purposely left out the names of most of the spots because I think Lenny’s knowledge of the food scene is just as valuable as trying the food for yourself. You’re guaranteed to leave the tour feeling like an expert on Valencian cuisine.
Note: If you’re spending a longer period of time in Valencia like I did, consider doing a paella cooking class and a street art tour while you’re in town! And don’t forget to refer to my two comprehensive guides on awesome things to do and best places to eat in Valencia!
More Spain ResourcesPlanning a trip to Spain soon? Check out ALL my posts on Spain below:
- Spain Travel Guide
- The Budget Guide to Barcelona
- The Ultimate Valencia Travel Guide: 20+ Awesome Things to Do in Valencia, Spain
- The Foodie Guide to the Best Restaurants in Valencia Spain
- The Best Paella Cooking Class in Valencia Spain: Escuela de Arroces
- Valencia Food Tour: Treats and Tastes with Valencia Urban Adventures
- Exploring Street Art in Valencia, Spain
- Budget Guide to Madrid
- The Solo Traveler Guide to Andalusia, Spain
- Tapas and Taverns with Madrid Food Tours
- A Weekend Guide to Bilbao
- The Art of Finding and Ordering the Best Pintxos in San Sebastian
- 24 Hours in Valencia: A Tale of Enchantment
- Why I’m Spending Summer in Valencia, Spain
- Sleeping and Socializing: Cats Hostel Madrid Lavapiés Review
- EatWith Review: Dining with Locals and Spain in Beyond
Tell me: Have you ever been to Valencia? What food dish is your favorite (or which would you most like to try)? Share in the comments below!
Like this post? Pin it and save it for later!