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Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Ensanche Life: The Sequel!

Valencia CityA luxury district overflowing with great restaurants, beautiful architecture and stylish shops

Last week’s blog took a quick look at Ensanche’s history and range of stylish shops and boutiques, however a write-up on the district would simply not be complete without a nod to the fine dining restaurants, authentic tapas bars and chic roadside cafés that lace these streets.

For a typical Valencian dining experience look no further than Roberto Aparicio’s Boutique del Arroz – Casa Roberto on Calle Maestro Gozalbo. This culinary gem has been an Ensanche favourite for over 25 years, offering top-quality food with roots in traditional Valencian cuisine. Specializing in rice and wines, Casa Roberto is a true testimony to the continuation of authentic arrocería, creating mouth-watering made-to-order dishes, often requiring a reservation two-days prior for full preparation. Amongst the most popular plates are Paella Valenciana, Arroz a banda and Arroz de marisco, all of which can be enjoyed with scrumptious homemade sides such as jamón ibérico, shrimps, anchovies and the renowned alioli garlic mayonnaise. The restaurant offers a homely and welcoming atmosphere and service is always friendly and efficient.

Restaurant El Albero, ValenciaAs one of the oldest and most traditional cocktail and tapas bars in Valencia Aquarium Gran Vía is an institution for the well-to-do Ensanche residents. Whether you are after a dry martini or a bloody mary, this authentic cocktail bar stands out from the rest for its immaculate service and eye for detail. Aquarium further excels in its impressive range of tapas including bacalao (salted cod), radish, fried fish and bocadillos (baguette sandwich) or empanadillas (pasties) for more ravenous customers.

Carrying along this authentic theme, Calle Císcar’s El Albero is also worth checking out. This traditional restaurant is typically Andalusian in every respect, not only for the wide variety of regional foods and drink, but also for the rustic décor and artwork that lines the walls of the charming interior. With a buzzing roadside terrace, the taberna andaluza offers a huge selection of tapas including white Huelva prawns, pan-fried tuna with onions, and oxtail. And if this was not enough classic Andalusian culture, every Thursday, Friday and Saturday you can hear many an enthusiastic olé in the Ensanche night as all the staff and customers of El Albero sing along to the beloved Salve Rociera.

Zacarias Cervecería is another great tapas spot on Calle Císcar, also with a roadside terrace. Zacarias is particularly famous for its fresh fish tapas and its characteristic jumble of tables, which are always packed out with locals every weekend, so make sure to turn up early!

Restaurant Le Cinque Lune, ValenciaEnsanche further offers a great range of restaurants serving foreign cuisine. Le Cinque Lune is a fantastic Italian restaurant bringing the ambience of Rome right into the centre of Valencia. Chef and proprietor Fabio Musto prides himself on his delicious homemade pastas, breads, pastries and desserts. The self-taught Musto adds an authentic flare and passion to his cooking, with all the ingredients and wines hand-picked and sourced. With many Italian clients amongst the host of Le Cinque’s locals each week, this restaurant is perfect for a romantic dinner, a family gathering or even business meetings over an Italian coffee.

With restaurants that stand out and continually surprise their customers for the quality of products and warm, friendly service, Ensanche is certainly one of Valencia’s finest dining districts. Offering a huge variety of tapas, authentic Valencian paellas and foreign cuisine, the area’s smorgasbord draws in Valencianos from all over the city – a tip-off not to be overlooked…bon appétit!

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