Since we first arrived in Valencia, the Crudo Bar has been one of our favorite restaurants that we return to time and again. Crudo means “raw” in Spanish and that is how much of their fish and meat is prepared. In our opinion, this is the perfect way to eat on a hot summer day.
Valencian born Chef Jorge de Angel Moliner opened Crudo Bar just over three years ago in March 2015. He and his team use fresh fish, meats, and produce from the Mercado Central to create dishes from all over the world, like Peruvian tiradito and Japanese tataki alongside traditional Spanish dishes.
The Crudo Bar used to occupy a tiny space just next to the Mercado Central, but after several months of being closed, they have reopened in a bigger, better space next to the Plaça de la Reina. While we do miss the outdoor terrace, the new location has obvious advantages. At the entrance is a comfortable, 6-seat bar that is perfect for having some wine and a few tapas. In the back are more roomy dining areas and space for larger groups.
The menu has been revamped. Some of our old favorites are gone, so we tried a few of the new dishes that have taken their place.
Ceviche de pulpo y zamburinas con leche de tigre nikkei (Octopus and scallop ceviche with tiger milk nikkei). Nikkei is the name given to cuisine developed by Japanese immigrants that moved to Peru in the late 1800s. Leche de tigre, or tigers milk, is the milky juice of the ceviche that results from the combination of the acidic marinade and the “cooking” fish. This version included octopus that was very tender, served in a spicy citrus marinade with kernels of Peruvian corn, red onion, peppers and plantain chips. A classic preparation.
Aguachile verde de gambas con crujiente de camarones (shrimp aguachile). Aquachile is a classic Mexican ceviche dish, typically made with shrimp, using lime and green chili peppers. The idea with aguachile is that the seafood is served immediately after dressing with the marinade, so it doesn’t actually cook in the acid. The dish came with seven raw shrimp that were super fresh, swimming in a mildly spicy, very tart lime dressing. The crujiente de camarones were crunchy little cakes made with shrimp.
Wok de pez mantequilla y verduras (butterfish and vegetables wok). A thick, luscious piece of butterfish is the centerpiece of this very satisfying dish, sitting on top of Japanese udon noodles with stir-fried vegetables.
Bonito en medio mojama con tomate y aceite de oliva (white tuna, slightly cured, with tomato and olive oil). This was our favorite dish at Crudo Bar but is currently not on the menu. The bonito is semi-cured with salt, lending it a bold flavor that may be strong to those that don’t like fishy fish, but to us it is the reason one eats fish. The texture of the fish is so soft it melts away on the tongue. The bonito slices rest on a bed of fresh tomato puree, drenched with olive oil and sprinkled with Provencal herbs.
Tataki de atun con cebolla crujiente (tuna tataki with crunchy onion). Using the Japanese technique of briefly searing the meat on the outside, called tataki, this tuna is still bright and fresh in the middle. It is seasoned with an earthy soy dressing with crunchy onion bits and chives on top. There are a lot of restaurants out there serving red tuna (atun rojo) in some raw format or another. This is one of our favorites.
Pulpo a la plancha (Grilled Octopus). It was nice to find a preparation of pulpo that is different from every other restaurant in Valencia. Crudo Bar’s pulpo a la plancha consists of a single, large beautiful tentacle of octopus grilled simply with little seasoning. Nothing else was needed but a squeeze from the charred lemon and flakes of black salt to complement the incredibly tender meat – as tender as any pulpo we have ever tried. This was considered a main dish and was served with a tangy green salad.
Tiradito de corvina con jengibre y calabaza (Corvina with ginger and pumpkin). Prepared Peruvian style, slices of mild corvina (similar to seabass) fish lay on top of a puree of pumpkin with the heat of fresh ginger. There had to be some aji chili pepper in there too, because this was spicy. This was one of the few times we’ve had spicy food in Spain and I realized that I miss this sensation. Black sea salt added a crunch with a burst of flavor.
Tartar de salmon con manzana verde (Salmon tartar with green apple). In this simple tartar, fresh raw salmon is mixed with diced green apple for a clean combination with a bright fruit touch. It doesn’t get much lighter and fresher than this and it works so perfectly with that glass of albarino.
Yeh, we’ve eaten all of these dishes and more. We will miss sitting on that terrace during sunny spring days in Valencia, but with the heat of the summer now on us, I think we might really appreciate the air-conditioned bar inside on days that we are craving that Crudo Bar bliss.
Carrer de la Corretgeria, 7
Open everyday 12:00 – 4:00PM, 7:00PM – 11:00PM