Trying a horchata, a refreshing, cool milky drink made from tiger nut, is a must on a hot day in Valencia. Along with paella, it’s one of the region’s most famous specialities, and a visit to a local horchateria (or orxateria in Valencian) is an unmissable foodie experience in Valencia. Every Valencian person will have a different opinion as to the best place to drink horchata, as recipes vary from one horchateria to the next and are largely a matter of personal taste, but we’ve rounded up a selection of the best places in town to try some.
This unassuming, traditional little place is loved for its simply prepared horchata as well as its fartons, long sugar-dusted fingers of pastry perfect for dipping into the milky drink. Brave the queues during Las Fallas for a bag of indulgent churros or bunuelos (fried dough balls), a must during the festival.
The Horchateria de Santa Catalina is found in the Ciutat Vella in the middle of all the main attractions, and is definitely the most famous in town. It can get busy at times and yes, it’s pretty touristy, but the horchata is reliably good and the traditional, folksy tiled décor is almost as big a draw as the drink itself.
Horchateria de Santa Catalina in El Carmen, Valencia | Courtesy of Horchateria de Santa Catalina
This is another traditional horchateria, with Valencian ceramic tiles on the walls, marble-top tables and friendly service. It’s open every day in summer, serving homemade horchata and ice cream, while in winter it’s more popular for its hot chocolate with buñuelos.
This well-known chain of cafés has a branch in Valencia’s Placa de la Reina, not far from the cathedral, which makes it perfect for a quick stop while sightseeing. As well as the many chocolatey treats on offer, it serves up good-quality horchata. Grab a table outside on the busy square and enjoy the atmosphere.
Café Valor, Valencia | Photo courtesy of Valencia Tourism
If you have time, venture out of the city centre to visit Alboraya, a small town that’s now part of Valencia and can be reached by metro. Locals say the very best horchata of all is found here. Try your first glass at this horchateria inside a traditional Valencian farmhouse, with gorgeous countryside views.
Another temple of horchata-drinking in Alboraya, Daniel has been visited by everyone from Salvador Dali to the local Valencia CF football stars. Even the street it’s on is named after the drink. One thing you definitely need to try is their horchata ice cream, which is probably the most refreshing thing in the world on a hot summer day.