• Ricard Camarena Restaurant

    The minimalist facade is easily missed, yet the inside is undoubtedly full

  • Squid in ink emulsion

    With organic leeks, coriander and lime

Ricard Camarena *

Ask any chef, winemaker, or serious foodie in Valencia where they like to eat, and nine out of ten times Ricard Camarena will be at least one of their answers.  The Michelin starred, self-titled bastion of innovation and seasonal ingredients, is deservedly on just about every Valenciano’s short list.  As well, just about every up-and-coming chef we interview in the city has, at one time, worked and trained under Camarena.   This speaks volumes in a town that has enough restaurants to keep someone busy for a lifetime.

Ricard Camarena Restaurant opened in 2012 and in only three months received it’s Michelin star.  Since then it has also added 3 Repsol Soles and countless other accolades.  Camarena’s secret?  Simple.  “Taste is the essence of my kitchen”, Camarena states in bold writing on his website, a mantra that in the competitive space of modern cooking, can sometimes be forgotten or at least compromised.

The menu at Ricard Camarena is extremely accommodating, offering several tasting menus which range in price,  and options a la carte. During our visit, we opted for the extremely economical Menú Clásicos for only 35 euros per person.  For just a bit more you can get wines paired with each dish.  Winning.  Every course delivered on Camarena’s promise of flavor, but highlights were the tuna tartare and broccoli with smoked tomato juice and Palo Cortado, a dish so rich in umami that it could be featured in a Japanese kaiseki.  The fact that it only contains Spanish ingredients (to our knowledge) is miraculous if not a mystery.  The Thai influenced, squid with ink emulsion, organic leeks, coriander and lime, is another dish with a global vision, yet hyper local ingredients.  Camarena transforms tender rings of calamari into ‘noodles’ in an exotic broth that lies somewhere between green curry, and a cold version of pho.  Again…winning.

With several other successful restaurants, including Canalla Bistro, also in Ruzafa, and Habitual in Mercado Colon and Central Bar in Mercado Central, Camarena is quickly becoming one of Valencia’s most famous restauranteurs.  If you are just visiting for a few days, we highly recommend seeking out his food.  None of the Camarena venues will disappoint, but for the very best, call ahead and make your reservations to Ricard Camarena Restaurant and taste what it means to be a genius.