When it comes to traveling, one thing that takes top priority on my checklist is food – the reason is that through food, you get a much deeper understanding of the city and because Ms. Buddha and I hadn’t had a fancy dinner for a while – we decided to go to one of the best restaurant in the city – Restaurant Riff.
The place itself is not overly big (like most fine dining places around the world) – and you can find parking on the street or one of the independent carparks around the corner that was manned by a cute little old man.
Once inside the restaurant – I immediately liked the vibe purely because the staff were wearing T-shirts and sneakers and just gave the relaxing but refined feel that I loved so much! We were presented with menus (which we went for the degustation) and the enormous wine menu (which I just asked the staff to select a bottle).
Before the meal even started, we got something to start our palette going! Then came the first dish which was a store baked crisp with a thinly cut slice of lard – and wow! I fell in love with the melt in your mouth texture of the lard straight away – the slightly roasted sesame added an additional level to the dish.
Next came two small dishes that included fried greens with salmon roe and fried nori with sea urchin – both had textures that I really like and deep fried greens is something that I always love because the frying process dries up the ingredients and allows the flavours to come out more.
As the dishes came, so did the bread – and unlike a lot of restaurants where you get sourdough, the bread here was a softer texture and went well with the local olive oil that they used – as far as bread goes – it was made to perfection given that the crust was still a little crunchy. We got to enjoy our bread as the next few dishes came.
Next dish blew Ms. Buddha’s mind as she is a lover of Oysters – and it was oysters cooked in a light seafood broth with rose petals – the flavour was amazing and Ms. Buddha looked incredibly satisfied.
If the Oysters blew Ms. Buddha’s mind – the one that came after was my favourite – it was white asparagus with fungi cooked with a light cream sauce. I’m someone that generally likes meat dishes but the aroma of the fungi paired perfectly with the lightness of the asparagus – the cheese replaced what would have typically been salt – perfect.
As I said – great restaurants also allows you to experience the culture – and it was particularly evident when Ms. Buddha and I noticed a pair of customers who represented the notion that “age does not matter in love” while the next few excellent dishes arrived.
As I said – meat is what I live for, and the next dish was a veal dish that represented the high quality of the meat in Spain that you can get – cooked simply with just a dash of sauce – the meat was very tender and just melted in your mouth even though it was lean.
By the time desserts started rolling out – to be honest, due to jet lag and also the wine (and the fact that it was almost 11pm – Ms. Buddha and I were slightly dozing off a little – none the less – the cherry chocolate brulee and the crispy orange brownie were excellent!
Restaurant Riff is regarded as one of the best restaurants in Valencia and after being here – I completely understand why – the place creates the perfect balance of Spanish friendly service with truly excellent food.