Secret cuisine in Valencia

I’ve previously written about just how great the quality, quantity and variety of cuisine options are here in Valencia. Whether you're searching for classic Spanish or regional Valencian dishes, or incredible Asian food in Valencia, there will be something to take your fancy. In this article I want to highlight one of my favourite ‘fancy’ evening out type of places, and where to find it.

For anyone visiting Valencia or Spain for the first time, it’s good to be aware that food is king here. Social events are organised around eating (more so than drinking unlike in the UK) and people take their cuisine seriously.

Secret dining at Secreto...

When I say fancy, I mean the type of place that you’ll want to dress up a little for, or at least throw on a shirt instead of a t-shirt. In general Spaniards don’t seem to dress particularly formally for social events (but more so for community events like Easter celebrations or communions and these kind of things). Secreto restaurant in the older part of the city is just such a place. You’ll feel much more comfortable dressed slightly nicer than normal here, as it’s a pretty modern and luxurious place. I’ll talk about the food a lot, but in reality, it was the combination of incredible, personal service combined with the tastes that really sold the place. I found the relatively hard-to-find restaurant on Tripadvisor, and it’s rated as the 35th best restaurant out of almost 4,000 with almost 700 reviews.

Photo credit © Joe Thorpe

Asian food is popular here, very popular - Spanish food is also incredibly popular (obviously), and so what Secreto has done is combine the two to create a Valencian/Asian fusion menu, with flavours from both sides. There is a lot of pork and ham and local cheeses that bring in the Spanish side, but also Japanese and South Asian styles with sharper tastes and unique ingredients that reveal other tastes. I was a little apprehensive at first to sample these styles together, but the chef here does a remarkable job bringing them together flawlessly. I should also mention that the waiter/owner spoke perfect English and Spanish (as well as quite a few other languages too)

Photo credit © Secreto restaurant

If you pushed me to give you a recommendation of what to try here, I would certainly have to go with the dish in the picture above. The mix of breaded and fried prawns and sweet seaweed on top, with a tangy mustard, is beautiful.

Photo credit © Secreto restaurant

A minimal but still very stylish interior.

Hidden in a corner...

Yep, it’s pretty well hidden. I’m getting to know the city very well, as well as being an experienced maps user, and I still spent a while wandering the cute little streets of the Carmen district getting increasingly frustrated with my ever enlarging circles of hopelessness. But I’ll be generous and say that the hidden nature of Secreto is a part of the charm, and genuinely makes it all the more special when you finally arrive. It’s not far from the centre, nor in a particularly inaccessible place, it’s just that google maps is not such a fan of the little old streets, and so arriving without knowing where it is, is harder work than normal.

Photo credit © Secreto restaurant

One of my favourite culinary experiences in Valencia so far, and I think one of the only ones that has really surprised me with the combination of flavours, atmosphere and incredible service. 

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