Worth a ride out of town for some of the best paella, Valencian dishes - and sunsets - in the whole region

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Mateu Restaurant

A paella powerhouse

The birthplace of paella is not the city of Valencia but the wetlands of Albufera Natural Park, south of the city. Along the beaches here you'll find a number of excellent spots to enjoy it along with other specialities of Valencian cuisine. Perhaps the pick of the crop is Restaurante Mateu, in the town of El Palmar. Apart from its extraordinary paella, the menu here includes various rice dishes, the noodle version of paella called fideuà, and a wide and tasty variety of top-notch seafood. And if you are willing to push your dining envelope just a little bit, try another legendary house speciality, all i pebre, whose main ingredient is - wait for it - eels. Another part of the experience at Mateu involves a boat ride before or after dinner (especially marvellous for taking in one of the area's loveliest sunsets).

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