I had my first visit to Valencia Luncheria's new location over the weekend. If you hadn't heard, they moved a few doors south into a stand-alone spot that formerly housed a Chinese restaurant. The new space has about 4 times the seats and a small parking lot in the rear. The interior borrows some design elements from Bodega Taco in Fairfield, but keeps the color scheme and a chalkboard menu from the prior location. There is now a full bar with a TV, but unlike in Bodega it is off to the side, creating more of a separation between bar and restaurant.
The added seats make a huge difference - I arrived not long after noon on Saturday and although it was busy, we got seated without a wait. The kitchen was ready to handle the increased traffic, because our orders arrived promptly. There were no specials, presumably to allow the kitchen and wait staff to develop a rhythm, but the arepas, empanadas and sandwiches tasted identical to the old location. That, of course, is a very good thing.
Valencia has been my favorite casual restaurant in the area since it opened, but I have been frustrated by the difficulty of being seated during prime lunch and dinner hours. If they can continue to maintain their quality in a larger, more comfortable space, this is a wonderful development.
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