La Pepica, Valencia, Spain ***

Q: What is it? A: A classic place for paella located just near the birthplace of the paella.

La Pepica – a lot of famous folks enjoyed eating here.

The photos on the wall brags about the celebs who have patronized La Pepica. Among them you’ll find Spanish royalty, “Papa” Hemingway and the author of Citizen Kane.

Paellas – steel pans that you use to make... paella.

Paellas – that’s the original name of those steel pans. With time the name was transferred to describe the food and… well, there you have it!

Fundado en 1898
Let’s make one thing clear right from the start: You don’t visit La Pepica for the food only. You visit it for the historic vibe and the chaos that can only exist in a Spanish restaurant the size of an aircraft hangar. Enter through the kitchen (no drama, at this place most people do) and you realize that you’ve arrived at the very epicenter of Valencian cooking.

The paella was invented in Valencia.
When you enter you will see a lot of paellas. They’re hanging from the kitchen ceiling. Oh yes, paella is the name of the shallow steel pan where the Valencian cooks would toss a lot of Calasparra or Bomba rice along with saffron, olive oil, vegetables, meat and/or seafood.
In 1840, a local newspaper first used the phrase Valencian paella to refer to the recipe rather than the pan. The rest is culinary history.

It has been called la abuela of paella restaurants.
Pictures on the walls include Spanish royalty, Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles. The kitchen with its traditional tile is fantastic and the old waiters move and behave just like… old waiters.
But what about the food? To tell you the truth, it didn’t make an impression on me. But I must admit, paella rarely do. On the other hand, I did have lunch here, and if one should expect something else from the dinner menu, please let me know.
So go here. Arrive hungry and leave satisfied. You may not remember the food but you will remember the grandmother of all paella restaurants.

La Pepica
Paseo Neptuno 2,6, y 8
Plaa de la Malvarosa
Valencia

+34-96-371-03-66

The hotel to stay in if you’re going to Valencia: the Palau de la Mar.
Click here to book it at tablethotels.com

2 comments

  1. “… at the very epicenter of Catalan cooking.”
    Keep in mind that “Valencianos” are in (something like) a competetion with the Catalans. I.e. they demand their own language/dialect, the Valencian, and are proud of their own local culture (the Fallas with their unique traditional costumes is one of the most important experience in the life of a Valenciana). To respect that – even if it is dificult to understand – will brake down barriers:-) (I am referring to “Or maybe it is just the language barrier? My Spanish sucks.” from your other post about Valencia’s Palau de la Mar. By the way: Palau is Valenciano.).
    Therefore, seems more nice to say “epicenter of Valencian cooking”:-)
    Cheers, Robert
    (Living some years now in the Comunidad Valenciana.)

    Reply
  2. Hi Robert,

    my knowledge of Spanish local culture is definitely limited, and when reading your post I definitely understand how badly I mixed things up, (I hope there are still some Valencian readers out there). Thanks for pointing this out – the error has now been corrected!

    All the best,

    :: h ::

    Reply

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