Casa Julio (Fontanars dels Alforins)

Casa Julio in Fontanars, on a very drab day

This was the second birthday surprise for my mum! Lunch at the famous Casa Julio in Fontanars.

The story goes that it was a traditional restaurant, then got an ambitious chef, they did really well, so well they got a Michelin star at some point, then got really stressed about the implications of having the star, and then gave it up and went back to just serving nice food but without the added stress of being in the Michelin guide.

Star or no star, we did want to go both for the first time and also back again—some of us thought we had been there before in one of the pre-star incarnations. But weren’t really sure, as when restaurants are “traditional” it’s sometimes hard to distinguish between them, specially when that visit was many years ago. Had we been there? Did it really matter? No!

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On the recent paper on ingredients in Valencian paella

Paella Valenciana at Restaurante Navarro - with chicken, rabbit, snails, vegetables

Devvers recently shared with me an article in the Guardian titled: “Researchers in Valencia pinpoint unwritten rules of paella“. It’s about a recently published paper that aimed to shed some light on what were the most common ingredients in Valencian paella.

As I was reading the article, I had to do a number of double takes as the choice of words and tone were quite inappropriate (a list of the top N most used ingredients is just… a list, not a set of commandments), but the end of the article was just a double-take after double-take, as the article writer drops a series of dubious sounding statements, such as:

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Restaurante Navarro

Paella Valenciana at Restaurante Navarro - with chicken, rabbit, snails, vegetables

Each time someone wants to visit Valencia and asks us where to eat a good paella, we’re at a loss, because obviously there’s no place like home to eat paella!

But we’re determined to give people the answer to their question, and we’ve decided we’ll try out restaurants to establish where to eat the best paella in Valencia.

Restaurante Navarro is one of the first ones that popped up in our research. It’s very central, very close to the town hall square, so it’s an obvious choice if you’re doing touristy things.

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