Located within Valencia’s Central Market, Valenciano chef Ricard Camarena’s Central Bar delivers classic Spanish dishes infused with complex flavors, and of course, everything is market-fresh. The bar-in-market concept isn’t a new one, especially in Spain, but the Spanish seem to be taking it to new levels, from markets entirely dedicated to ready-to-eat gourmet cuisine and outposts by Michelin-starred chefs, like Camarena’s Central Bar, in more traditional city markets.
Although Camarena’s first two restaurants, Canalla Bistro and Camarena Restaurant, both have a swanky atmosphere and are definitely above the price-point of the average local haunts, the prices at Central Bar are incredibly reasonable, especially considering the quality of the food. The vibe at Central Bar is relaxed and familiar. Clusters of regulars gossip at the counter while families with their children stop by for an afternoon snack. Service is efficient and warm and the food is delicious. Many of the menu item are traditional Spanish bar offerings but Camarena livens things up with some foreign flavor; from an umami-rich soy-miso eggplant tapa to the ever-present boquerones served as ceviche, the menu at Central bar pays respect to market eateries de todo la vida while bringing something new to the table.
What to Order
Although we didn’t try everything on the menu, we imagine that you can’t go wrong no matter what you order. Pay special attention to the daily specials listed on the chalkboards around the bar.