I have been travelling back and forth to Valencia since my days as an exchange student in 1991. I was there this past November and asked one of my Valencian friends what their favorite tapas restaurant was. She recommended "Lloc de Tapes" (which means Place for Tapas in Valencian). Of the many dozens of restaurants we have been to in Valencia, this one takes the cake as having the best tapas.
It was a very 'local' establishment without any tourists to be seen (this is usually a good sign that the food is authentic). The decor was cozy/comfortable/high-end. The menu is in Spanish/Valencian. I did ask the waiter about an English menu, which he stated will eventually be coming.
Instead of ordering off the menu, we met the owner Miguel and asked him to bring out whatever he wanted for us. We told him that we wanted a taste of Valencia, both modern and traditional. Boy, did he deliver.
We ate their Cod with Basque sauce (bacalao) which was to die for, their Cuttlefish (sepia), and his version of patatas fritas. Our kids ate his version of 'chicken tenders' and couldn't get enough of it. We enjoyed several other tapas dishes throughout the evening. Their food was traditional, with a modern twist. The presentation of the food is definitely at a higher level than what you would find at your usual tapas place, but not quite as pretentious as some of the 'molecular' gastronomy restaurants that are dotting Spain's landscape these days.
For dessert, we had cheese cake, which was probably one of the best cheese cakes that we have ever had (my wife is a cheese-cake-aholic). [one of the other owners was apparently a pastry chef at a famous Mallorcan restaurant]
After we ate and drank our fill, we were surprised at how inexpensive the meal was.
We are planning another trip back to Valencia in the next year or so and will definitely be going back! Lloc de Tapes is definitely a hidden gem.
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