The 10 Best Restaurants in Peñíscola, Spain

Peniscola beach, Spain.
Peniscola beach, Spain. | Photo courtesy of Clare Speak
Peñíscola, a historic coastal town north of Valencia, is a natural foodie paradise thanks to its location between the Mediterranean Sea and the fertile farmland of the Costa del Azahar (Orange Blossom Coast). As the name suggests, there’s an abundance of fresh citrus fruit as well as all kinds of other fresh produce, including famous artichokes from nearby Benicarlo, and of course plentiful fresh fish and seafood. No surprise, then, that there are some 200 restaurants to choose from in Peñíscola. While it can be tempting to go for the first restaurant with great sea views, it pays to look a little further. To help you find the perfect restaurant we’ve rounded up just ten of our favourites.

Carmen Guillemot de Peñíscola

Restaurant, Spanish, $$$

The most highly-rated restaurant in Peniscola, this is a place that really cares about food. The owners, a couple who are both artists, have unleashed their creativity on the simple yet sumptuous menu, where dishes like Roquefort pâté, tuna carpaccio and baked lamb are done to perfection. Everything including the bread is homemade, using locally-sourced ingredients with a focus on slow food.

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Restaurante Tio Pepe

Hotel Restaurant, Spanish
Cream of roasted pumpkin, lemon sorbet and carob biscuit at Restaurante Tio Pepe, Peniscola.
Cream of roasted pumpkin, lemon sorbet and carob biscuit at Restaurante Tio Pepe, Peniscola.

It’s just a short stroll from the beach for lunch at Tio Pepe, the restaurant of a modern boutique hotel. The menu of Valencian dishes with a modern twist is mostly seafood-based, and everything comes well-presented and reasonably priced. Don’t miss their rice with red prawns and clams, and save room for one of their desserts, which are as delicious as they are pretty.

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Restaurante El Caracol

Restaurant, Spanish, Seafood, $$$

This popular seafood restaurant, or marisquería, offers authentic regional cuisine cooked to a high standard. This is a friendly place where no one will mind you licking your fingers (and possibly the plate) after dinner. Dishes to try include octopus with tomato, rice with lobster and good old seafood paella. Prices are very reasonable.

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Taberna El Ánfora

Restaurant, Spanish, Seafood

If you’re looking for fresh seafood prepared with love, this cosy restaurant run by fisherman Dani is the place to go. He’s been doing this for over 30 years, and when he’s not cooking he also organises fishing trips on his boat. Try local specialities like the dramatic-looking baby cuttlefish cooked in its ink, fried sea anemones in crispy batter, or even a sea urchin tortilla.

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Restaurante Vista al Mar

Restaurant, Spanish, Seafood, $$$
A view over Peniscola's Old Town rooftops and the sea.
A view over Peniscola's Old Town rooftops and the sea.

If you picture yourself enjoying dinner while watching the sun setting over the Med, there are plenty of places you can do that here in Peniscola. But while many restaurants have sea views, not all are equal. This is a great pick either for a romantic evening or family lunch, with a great location by the castle looking out to sea and a good-value menu of well-prepared seafood and rice dishes.

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Restaurante La Pulperia

Restaurant, Spanish, Tapas

Another central spot loved for its excellent seafood, here the star of the show is, as the name suggests, the pulpo or octopus prepared every which way. Especially popular is their Galician octopus, cooked atop a layer of crispy potatoes, but there’s also grilled and fried octopus as well as a plentiful octopus salad and large octopus croquettes. Make sure to book ahead.

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Restaurante Chiki

Restaurant, Mediterranean
Houses in the old town of Peniscola, Spain.
Houses in the old town of Peniscola, Spain.

On the walk uphill to the castle, you’ll pass through a narrow street of blue and white painted houses next to the pretty church of Santa Maria. This is where you’ll find Chiki, a friendly locally-owned restaurant where the owners want to showcase Peniscola’s traditional dishes. The menu is varied and, like elsewhere, there’s a lot of focus on fish and rice dishes. Prices are surprisingly reasonable and the dining room, with its original stone walls, is very atmospheric.

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Restaurante Xulos

Restaurant, Spanish, $$$

It can be difficult to judge the many restaurants in Peniscola’s Old Town, but this one is a delight. Specialising in traditional rice and seafood dishes, everything from the arroz a banda to the seafood platter is made with care and quality ingredients, but for locals it’s also a perfect stop just for a vermouth before lunchtime. Service is faultless and the price, while not the cheapest, is good value for money.

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