It is world-wide known that Paella is a typical Spanish dish, however if you want to taste the most traditional Paella, you should definitely visit Valencia and try one there. Valencia is known as the birthplace of paella.
Main ingredients of Paella are rice, saffron, green beans and meat. It is actually a perfect example of cultural mixture. Paella is a unique dish derived from combination of Arabic and Spanish cuisine because the rice had imported to Iberia peninsula by the Arabs for the first time. The Spanish word for rice (arroz) was also derived from Arabic. Now, Spain is one of the leading countries in Europe for rice production.
Unlike arroz, the word “paella” comes from latin word “pattella” which means “pan”. This emphasis on pan is actually not a coincidence because paella gets its taste from the special pan that has a round shape and a flat bottom.
Before I came to Valencia, the first Paella that was coming to my mind was with the seafood however I learned that the original Paella is actually with chicken, rabbit, land snails, green beans and vegetables (Paella Valenciana).
There are many different types of paella and the most popular ones are Paella Valenciana cooked with chicken rabbit and pork; Paella de Marisco cooked with seafood; Paella Negra cooked with squid ink. Click here for a list of paella types. And if you want try at at home or curious about how its made, click here for a paella recipe.
One of the best places to taste Paella at Valencia is definitely La Pepica is a traditional restaurant which is located on the coast of Malvarrosa Beach. I learned about the place from a native Valencian friend who advised me that La Pepica has one the most traditional and delicious paella in the town. I also learned that La Pepica was founded in 1898, currently serving Paella to its guests for more than 100 years and awarded for many prices. Besides, La Pepica hosted many famous people since it is opened including Queen Sofia.
I visited La Pepica during lunchtime. When I entered inside, the first thing that catches my attention was the outfit of the waitress and the classical decoration of the interior which made me feel like I was in the 70’s. In general, I did not find the decoration so impressive but that is really not an issue at all especially after the dishes are served. The food is so delicious that you just focus on enjoying the taste.
The menu of La Pepica is very rich, they offer many different dishes varying from fish, meat, paellas. It would probably be very difficult to make a decision if I was not there for the paella. From the paellas, I chose the most traditional one “Paella Valenciana”, with chicken and vegetables. As a started, I ordered cheese plate and garlic butter, they were all very delicious.
The Paella was delicious as expected, and also crispy…The word “delicious” is not enough to define my experience…an awesome taste….The portion size are for 2 people but still very big. I want to visit Valencia again to just because to enjoy this taste experience, I hope this time I will make it in the summer so that I could also enjoy the beach…
La Pepica is a place to enjoy with for friends and family anytime of the year. In the summer, when you are having a good time on the beach, place, it is a nice opportunity to give a lunch break and spoil yourself with traditional Valencia dish. The Paellas were served for minimum 2 people, this is also the case for most of the other restaurants in Valencia. Lunch is served between 13:00-16:00, dinner is 8:30 to 11:00. La Pepica is busy most of the time so it would be better to make a reservation from their website before your visit. The price of a paella dish is approximately 25 € for two people. Tripadvisor rating for La Pepica is 3,5 out of 5 but I think it deserves more.
The adress of La Pepica is Paseo NEPTUNO, 6, 46011 Valencia, Spain. You can reach there by bus (40 minutes, #14 and 2) or by foot (1 hour) from Valencia city centre.