When it comes to Michelin-star restaurants in Valencia, few have such a romantic setting as La Salita, chef Begoña Rodrigo’s restaurant in the buzzing neighbourhood of Ruzafa.
Housed within a reformed 18th-century palace, rustic interiors and a bright, open terrace make this a favourite spot as much for its design as for the sensational food and drink.
When it opened, it became considered one of the best restaurants in Valencia and Rodrigo was awarded her first Michelin star shortly after in 2021.
La Salita is one of three restaurants operated by the Anarkia group. It offers a relaxed atmosphere on the beautiful terrace, where light wicker installations and a touch of plant life create a joyful and bright aesthetic. Inside the palace lies a sheltered second space for more formal dining, including smaller rooms with an air of intimacy.
Chef Begoña Rodrigo: The accidental chef
A chef shaped by a complicated history and personal battles, Rodrigo does not hide the struggles she believes made her cuisine what it is today. Despite her rise to fame on Spain’s first edition of the television programme Top Chef, Rodrigo had never planned to enter the world of gastronomy. Indeed, she was initially studying industrial engineering before a chance trip to the Netherlands changed her future forever.
The beginning of a great journey
When the then 20-year-old left the Netherlands, where she had discovered freedom for the first time, she quickly felt compelled to return. Just weeks after arriving back in Valencia, she returned to Amsterdam, where she planned to earn her keep cleaning rooms in a small hostel.
Rodrigo soon found work in the breakfast section of a local hotel, where she quickly renewed her passion for preparing perfect plates and sublime flavours. By the time she worked in the Amsterdam Marriott Hotel sometime later, Rodrigo had cemented the belief that only by working as a chef could travel as she pleased, always finding reliable work, regardless of where she ended up. And travel she certainly did.
Many years later, Rodrigo finally returned to her homeland. She brought a cuisine inspired by her childhood and the Albufera region of Valencia yet influenced by the flavours of her travels around the world. Tastes of Mozambique and guiding voices from Latin America and Asia offer her typically Valencian cuisine a curious twist and give La Salita’s Michelin star meaning far from Spanish shores.
The menu at La Salita
Light, balanced and fresh, the tasting menus at La Salita shine a spotlight on garden produce and sustainable cuisine. Careful consideration of each ingredient and its use in several dishes reduces food waste and brings different flavour pairings to the forefront. As each dish emerges from the kitchen, expect divine presentation and detailed descriptions of the flavour combinations and each ingredient’s story.
Think amuses touchés that end in explosions of flavour and fragrance and stunning plates of bright yellow egg yolks, creamy avocado, salmon, and crème fraîche. Follow this with translucent scallop carpaccio or pork shoulder ravioli, and don’t miss the house favourite, the Tiara – an eye-catching and mouthwatering dish featuring seafood tartare with vibrant flowers and a dash of zest.
A focus on the Albufera brings a seafood slant, but meat lovers will be more than satisfied by dishes such as the oxtail and razor clam tartare ravioli. If you're avoiding meat products altogether, you can opt for the meat and egg-free Llauro menu to enjoy the most delicious produce from Valencia’s Huerta - or farmlands - prepared by Rodrigo’s skilled hands.
Complete your meal with a drinks pairing menu to enjoy perfect fine wine marriages. Sophisticated cocktails and their seasonal ingredients are explained by friendly mixologist Denys Cherkasov, named Valencia’s best bartender by the Bartenders Association.
Time for something sweet
A magical evening cannot be finished without something sweet, and La Salita’s indulgent desserts refuse to disappoint. These creative combinations turn your expectations on their head and satisfy you every time.
Savour a sweetly citric gin palate cleanser before biting into a refreshing concoction of strawberries and meringue, or perhaps a more autumnal pumpkin, orange, and Parmesan creation? For another delightful dish, a simple raspberry and rhubarb mousse is paired with wild strawberries and a Szechuan pepper bite.
What’s on in Ruzafa?
Take a walk along the tree-lined streets, wander through boutique shops and artists’ studios, or visit the Central Market to find your fresh ingredients and perhaps meet some Michelin Star chefs who shop there. Admire the architecture, savour the vermouth, and see the independent art galleries. For all art and design lovers in Valencia, be sure to check out the programme and top sites for Valencia’s glorious year as the 2022 World Capital of Design.
Whether planning a quick city break or a longer retreat in Valencia, this vibrant city has a wealth of luxury options, ranging from ultramodern spaces to sea-view sanctuaries and listed buildings.