Bernd H. Knöller is a legend in Valencia and the chef and owner of the one Michelin star restaurant, Riff. Riff was the last restaurant we tasted during our gastronomic tour of Valencia this spring.
We had a fish menu for our lunch on Sunday March 22nd, which was composed of six dishes in addition to the usual starters.
Our meal started very good, especially with the tuna and the white Bloody Marie shot, served with incredible breads but... it ended disappointing with a pretty bad dessert, a mascarpone cream and prunes. It is always a shame to end a good meal on a bad note.
The wine list was great, with one of the best ciders in the world, the AnanasRenette 2016 number 39 from Schneider house.
The service in English was so tedious but they did their best.
In the end, unfortunately, Riff was the gastronomic experience we appreciated the least of all three in Valencia. We are not saying that it was not good but we definitely found better and if Bernd H. Knöller wants to keep his star, he’d better up his cooking game a notch (or two).
Carrer del Comte d'Altea, 18, 46005 València
Lienzo restaurant was the best meal we had during our gastronomic stay in Valencia this spring.
Initially, Lienzo was not even on our list of restaurants of choice for that trip, but after learning that unfortunately Salita, Sucede and Toshi were currently closed, courtesy of Covid-19, we decided to book at Lienzo as a plan B. And good grace, were we happy we did! The experience was wonderful!
Lienzo is the restaurant of Maria Jose Martinez and her husband Juan José Soria who is the Maître d' and sommelier. The irony is that Maria Jose Martinez was previously the chef de partie at El Poblet restaurant and after three years there, she decided to go and open her own restaurant.
We went to Lienzo the day after we lunched at El Poblet and from our humble experience, her cooking was as good as (or dare we say even better than) that of Louis Valls at El Poblet. The Pinceladas menu was a real gem, starting with the three snacks: White shrimps tartar and lime foam, Corn dacsa soufflé, esperiega apple foam and roast beef and Pinion nougat, pinion caramel and baby pinion leaf were a knockout.
Her technique and skills were condensed in these small plates which were subtle and delicious. Her cooking was precise and minimalist. The rest of the menu was a display of her talent, like the confit beans all i pebre, eel and salmorra pepper gel, a sophisticated and extremely well executed dish.
For the wine, we let ourselves be guided by the expert advice of Juan José Soria and opted for a glass of Recaredo 2017 Brut Nature and an excellent Valencian white wine, Cullerot 2019. The service by Juan José Soria was warm, smiling and kind.
Lienzo restaurant absolutely was the highlight of our gastronomic stay in Valencia, even if, incredibly enough, it was the only one without a Michelin star. We strongly hope that the Red guide will right this wrong next year. Maria Jose Martinez and her team definitely deserve it.
Plaça de Tetuan, 18, Bajo Derecha,
To celebrate our 20th anniversary, we chose El Poblet restaurant. To be totally honest, it was not our first choice but we were so happy to have a gastronomic and Michelin starred restaurant open and available for lunch that we rushed to book our table.
El Poblet was Quique Dacosta’s original restaurant in Dénia and he then had the good idea to recreate it in Valencia, with Luis Valls at the helm.
Luis Valls interprets his mentor cooking through his own vision by incorporating local products into innovative and creative cooking.
For our lunch, we selected the “Territori” menu, a menu created around the products and terroir of Valencia and its communities.
The menu consisted of seven dishes with the usual amuse-bouche and mignardises.
The meal was well executed and perfectly displayed the technical skills of Luis Valls. His cooking emphasized on the local products, the flavors and the textures of each dish were remarkable.
The wine list was digital (courtesy of Covid-19) and, as expected, had a beautiful selection of Spanish wines, from which we chose a 2015 Raventos I Blanc De la Finca for the whole meal, and for digestive a wonderful Culla Vella 1980, an unique liquor made in Valencia.
The service in English by Anna Botella and her team was flawless.
In our opinion, two or three Michelin-star restaurants are expected to provide a perfect experience from the moment you set foot inside to the moment you leave, and above all else, the meal must be excellent from the first to the last bite. Unfortunately, it was not the case for our experience at El Poblet as the desserts were disappointing, definitely not on par with the rest of the meal. We did not fail to mention this directly to the chef, Luis Valls, who thanked us for our honesty.
Carrer de Correus, 8, 46002 València
To celebrate our anniversary we had to travel to Valencia (Spain) where hotels and restaurants reopened since March 1st 2021.
We decided to stay at Hospes Palau de la Mar, a five-star hotel with the best reputation in Valencia, conveniently located close to the historical center and right next to the Jardin Del Turia. The hotel itself sits in a 19th century building; it has an elegant entrance and nice patio.
Our room was well designed with a king size bed and a big bathroom, with a marble bathtub and an Italian shower.
But as usual, as the French saying goes: the devil is in the details... No coffee machine, only one small garbage bin in the bathroom for the whole room, a lighting system strangely conceived (you can only turn off all the bed lights at once, not just one side or the other), the bathtub once full of water was so slippery that you could not seat up in it, and last but not least, the service was next to non-existent for a five-star hotel.
The Covid crisis does not excuse everything, five-star hotels should provide everything that goes with their rank and maybe look a little closer to the level of excellence five-star hotels offer in other countries, namely in Asia.
The luxury hotel industry in Europe needs to level up their game if they want to stand a chance in the post-Covid world.
In the end, do we recommend Hospes Palau de la Mar? Actually we do because, overall, the hotel has some good qualities: its location, the building, a nice spa with a small swimming pool, sauna and Turkish bath, a gym and a restaurant called Ampar.
Hospes Palau de la Mar
Navarro Reverter, 14
46004 Valencia, Spain Tel : +34 963 16 28 84
Even with the Covid-19 crisis, at Littleboboon we were able and lucky to go to excellent restaurants and eat very good food.
Eventhough, our travels were limited to France and Portugal, here are our selection of the best restaurants in 2020 :
Mi Kwabo (Ellis Bond) - Paris - France
Nancy Bourguignon (Nancy Bourguignon) - Paradou - France
Alain Llorca (Alain Llorca) - La Colle sur Loup - France
Le Clos de la Glycine - Restaurant David (Metty Talassia) - Roussillon - France
Maison Hache (Christopher Hache) - Eygalière - France
Fanfan (Julien Burbaud) - Paris France
Château de la Gaude (Matthieu Dupuis Baumal) - Aix-en-Provence - France
La Table de Sorgues (Stéphane Riss) - Sorgues - France
Check-In (Leonel Pereira) - Faro - Portugal
Al Quimia (Luis Mourao) - Albufeira - Portugal
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