Valencia is one of those cities in Spain that has experienced a number of enormous changes in the last few years. Most of these changes are a result the city hosting some top tier sporting events like Formula 1, American’s Cup and Tennis tournaments. Because of this great exposure Valencia has transformed its landscapes from a city deeply seeped in tradition into a more modern and avant garde city on the Mediterranean Coast. One can not drive through Valencia without seeing the impressive alien-like structure “Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencia” from the famous Calatrava, a unique Opera House than can aesthetically compete with that of Sydney. More recently there is the America’s Cup Pavilion Valencia by Architect David Chipperfield and lets not forget the beautifully renovated food markets. Even the infustructure of this city has been smartly tied to other big metropolitans like Madrid via a fancy High Speed train. One can also use the Eurost to travel to London to Paris.
Valencia, like many other Spanish cities has been impacted by the Spanish Financial Crisis. All the large and impressive investments in the City have generated a debt that now needs to be paid, something that went unannounced until now. At the same time this crisis has created an opportunity for young entrepreneurs that see Valencia as a place of many possibilities and great potential.
Restaurant entrepreneurs have seen this opportunity and launched some incredible places like the new Quique Dacosta Restaurant: El Poblet ( lead by Manuel Romeralo ) and the even more promising Ricard Camarena.
We had a great dinner at Ricard’s previous restaurant: Arrop, one of those places that make you want to fly back from NY to Madrid and then drive for 5 hours to Valencia. When we heard that Ricard opened again we didn’t have any other choice than to go back. Ricard is a very big fan of New York city. This love can be seen in the design and overall feel of the new space. As in Arrop, Francesc Rifé was in charge of interior design, developing a quite contemporary space with a nice open kitchen and organic rustic look. As Mission Chinese or Agape Substance, the space is centered around a table cloth-less communal table that connects to the kitchen counter. (A design that is great for interacting with other guests or the kitchen staff.)
More pictures of the space in Frances website: http://www.rife-design.com/interior/2012/211-ricard-camarena
This place is not made by decoration alone the true greatness lies in the incredible team lead by Ricard, Wife, Carmen Bañuls and David Rabasa the knowledgable sommelier.
The day we visited Ricard Camarena, we had lunch at Las Rejas ( between Madrid and Valencia ) by Chef Manuel de la Osa, an innovative but under rated restaurant. I strongly recommend anyone to visit Las Rejas more pictures here Manuel de la Osa has been one of the godfather and idol of many young talented chefs.
Going to two fantastic restaurants back to back (lunch & dinner) is not recommended. We didn’t have a good experience when we going to lunch for Arzak and Mugaritz for dinner. Another over indulgent day was In De Wulf for lunch and Pastorale for dinner. So when we went dinner to Ricard Camarena we were a little on the fence. But we came to find out that Ricard likes a good challenge that being said, he quite exceeded expectations with this one. He knew about our previous lunch plans and adapted the menu accordingly. The result was a really well balanced day of eating.
The night started with impressive appetizers:
One our favorite appetizer was the fake cocochas. Things were not what they seemed, the combination was a surprising one of wonderful textures and flavors.
Even though we were quite full from lunch we could’t stop eating and trying new dishes. The Almadraba Tuna one was one of our favorites of the night, delicate, juicy and flavorful tuna, perfectly balanced with the seaweed broth. the last time i had tuna that good was the smoked one Extebarri
In the same way that las Rejas works with La Mancha terroir of that day, Camarena restaurant is all about the Mediterranean flavors, cutting edge design and hospitality. Extremely well executed food along with professional service is what makes you feel at home. This is a must if you visit Valencia.
For this visit we played around with Fede’s new toy. A light field camera from Lytro, Resolution and colors are not great, but camera let you change your point of view in a picture, after the picture’s been taken. Interesting
Ricard Camarena Restaurant
Cslle Sumsi 4