Updated: Jun 18
Our mission to explore the thriving culinary scene in Valencia would not be complete without mentioning the stylish culinary spot and former art gallery, Lienzo.
Chef Maria Jose Martinez masters the essence of contemporary Mediterranean cuisine like no other, combining the intricacies of food and art, blending signature local dishes and traditional Spanish techniques in her elegantly designed, single Michelin-star restaurant in Valencia.
A mere stone’s throw from the winding Turia Gardens, Lienzo is ideally situated in the city's heart, close to both the Old Town centre and the more upmarket districts of Colon and Eixample. Book an a-la-carte meal here to discover a world of sophisticated elegance and minimalist chic.
The fiery Murcian chef creates honey-combed Mediterranean delights
From Murcia to Valencia, from honey-harvesting to feeding the most privileged mouths, Maria Jose Martinez’s journey to success has been paved in cobblestones, lemon rind and honeycomb delights.
- Chef Maria Jose and business partner, Juanjo Soria
Hailing from small-town Alhama, Chef Maria Jose Martinez grew up among rural Murcia's cows, chickens, bees and lemon trees, with a close-knit food-loving family who inspired much of her work.
From as young as three years old, she fondly recalls making cordials, easter cakes, garlic soup and other delectable provincial dishes with her 'abuela' (grandmother). Many of Martinez's favourite childhood memories took place sitting across from her beloved family at the dinner table, wrapped up in the simple joys of sharing a hearty meal.
After completing her chef training and moving around Spain to pursue new culinary adventures, Martinez, now an ascending Michelin star chef, resides in Valencia with her soulmate and business partner, Juanjo Soria.
In tribute to her grandparents, who awakened her passion for cooking, her humble Murcian roots take centre stage in many of her Michelin-star dishes. With tangy lemon flavours inspired by the array of beautiful lemon trees lining the streets of Alhama and a strong bee-loving influence from a childhood spent collecting honey from her family's beehives, she combines contemporary and traditional ‘pueblo’ and metropole in her carefully curated Mediterranean-style menus.
It’s the perfect blend of authentic Murcian flavours and fresh Valencian products, a truly extraordinary result.
Three mouth-watering menus
Lienzo offers three unique dining experiences: one executive lunchtime menu (Trazos) and two enticing tasting menus (Pincelados and Lienzo). All ingredients are locally sourced, and menus are often inspired by the produce found in Valencia's Central Market, where Martinez and Juanjo Soria roam most mornings. Sustainable and ecologically minded, Chef Martinez's extraordinary dishes burst with Mediterranean flavour.
What to expect
Tangy lemon aromas are perfectly paired with the salted fresh fish of the Mediterranean and accompanied by a divine selection of seasonal vegetables – all of which are artfully presented with immaculate attention to detail.
Indulge in green curry and peanut empanadilla (pastry), or try bespoke Valencian hen pâté for starters. Then move on to juicy pigeon breast bathed in fresh, mouth-watering hummus, or savour the fresh taste of the azure Mediterranean with Lienzo’s unique twist on the iconic Spanish delicacy calamari (squid).
Next on the menu, buttery squid served with Dashi (a delicious Japanese soup stock), salty pickles and a lattice blanket of crunchy squid ink.
And for a sweet finish, we recommend a nutty take on the Spanish national delight, turron (nougat), or a fresh, fruity finale with the kiwi, pomegranate and huacatay (a rare Peruvian herb) dish – a colourful display of nature's finest creations.
A hypnotic blend of Spanish Mediterranean aromas and distinct flavours from her childhood, Chef Maria Jose Martinez's signature dish has to be the divine four Pico's cheese cannelloni wrapped in orange blossom honey and black garlic jelly.
A feast for the senses, renowned blue cheese from the Castilla and Leon region of Spain meets silky sweet orange blossom, honey, taking the inspirational Michelin star chef back to days spent collecting honey with her grandfather in Murcia's Bajo Guadalentín region. Finally, black garlic jelly adds a rich aftertaste you won't soon forget.
And, of course, enjoy it with a great drinks selection, including premium wine labels, beer and honey vermouth.
We invite you to look at our suggestions for the best boutique hotels in Valencia so that you can experience the great gastronomy this Mediterranean city offers.