When it comes to Valencian cuisine…this is the real deal. ‘Aplec’ is a local term for ‘cultural meeting’ and this restaurant is quite easy to find as it is only a stone’s throw from the Torres de Serranos in the historic centre. No frozen tourist trap stuff here! This is local product that is fresh from ‘la huerta’, meaning what you are tasting is straight from the country orchard of the Valencia region.
Chef owner Sonia is a knowledgeable & creative soul who cares deeply about the food that customers can enjoy here. There is no two ways about it…Sonia is an artista of the culinary kind. This restaurant is one of the Barrio del Carmen’s true success stories and for all the right reasons. It is the restaurant where you will find locals of all ages and backgrounds, week in and week out and it is open to all nationalities. It is LGBT friendly too.
A couple of the ‘24/7 Valencia’ team recently had a midweek lunch here. With a long bar and open kitchen, it has a very spacious and bright interior that is down-to-earth and so great for large groups and there are tables for couples too. There is a highly popular terraza outside that you will often find busy, which is visible proof of just how loyal their customers are. Many keep returning, which is always a good sign…
We asked our friendly and helpful waitress to choose some typical dishes. We started off with an ‘Ensalada Ventresca’ with its large & distinctive ‘Tomate Valenciano’ from the countryside combining well with the freshest tuna you will find in the city. It was enhanced by a delicious organic olive oil topping… making for a sweetly memorable starter with a great final finish.
Indeed, the presentation of all the dishes at ‘L’Aplec’ is gently artistic without being showy… which complements the true quality of its lovingly prepared ingredients. Our patatas bravas were very well-cooked and partly covered in a secret salsa that we were warned, beforehand, would have a special effect! After a few minutes of savouring the delightfully crisp potatoes, the sauce literally kicked in and it was like getting a euphoric alcohol-induced shot of your favourite short and suddenly you are in a more energetic zone. A real subidón of a dish!
Having lived & worked in the port city of Genoa in the mid-nineties before moving to Valencia, this writer has tried a good few pestos & pistos but nothing compared to the delicious Valencian pisto known as the ‘Tetaina’ that we tried here. Sonia explained that the ingredients are slowly cooked for 1 and ½ hours, to really bring out all the flavours of the tomato and other ingredients. It was literally perfection and could not be bettered. Highly impressive and one of the highlights of this lunch…
The Octopus dish as well as the fried artichokes were beautifully presented on rectangular dishes. Their subtle textures combined pleasantly with the bottle of lightly intense ‘Albariño’ white wine (Rias Baixas) that lasted us the whole lunch. This wine is said to be a palate-cleanser, which makes it perfect for seafood tapas and savouring the wide variety of tapas on offer here…
To finish off, we were proudly presented by the owner with one of their star dishes, which was a superb cuttlefish ‘Sepia Playa’ with parsley, which was truly exquisite.
This is authentic and creative Valencian cuisine in the heart of the old town. Recommended if you are looking for something truly representative of the region. It is advised to book in advance if you are coming as a group…
Report by ’24/7 Valencia’ team
Article copyright 24/7 Valencia
C/Roteros, 9, (near Torres de Serranos)
Movil: 696 11 99 86
Paellas and rice dishes for groups available if you order in advance.
Open Tuesdays to Saturdays 2pm – 4.30pm / 8pm – 11.30pm
Sundays 2pm to 4.30pm