This post is part of a larger series on Valencia outlined in the Valencia Trip Report.
MercatBar is one of the more casual out posts of well-known celebrity chef Quique Dacosta's restaurant empire in Valencia. The words "mercat bar" mean "market bar." MercatBar pays tribute to the traditional tapas bars you find inside Valencia food markets (sort of like Central Bar!).
MercatBar takes that concept and modernizes it a bit, adding chef Quique Dacosta's own touch to the traditional Valencia market bar.
There are many different food options on the menu. The tapas section includes traditional tapas and "tapas from around the world" which take on global influences. There are also several main dishes, such as grilled meats, paellas, and other creative entrees.
Gargoyle Menu (off season)
During off-seasons (e.g., spring, fall), they also have a Gargoyle Menu, a multi-course tasting menu (7-8 courses total), including 3 cold starters, 3 warm tapas, a main dish, and dessert. The courses are designed to be shared, and thus the whole must get it. However, at 34€ a person, it is an absolute STEAL.
On top of that, we ordered a Robert Parker RP95 Valencian wine for less than 30€ for the whole bottle, yet another STEAL.
Below is our Gargoyle dinner.
We began with a creamy custard made with cream cheese, eel. and mackerel topped with a caramelized topping, candied almonds, roasted tomatoes, and herbs.
It was short of like a seafood creme brûlée, both sweet + savory, perfectly balanced, and delicious.
The next course, the Mercatbar oyster, was fantastic! The oyster itself was plump and sweet, and the overall flavor of the bite was perfect. Various elements such as nuts, fresh herbs, pea puree, and EVOO, came together in a perfectly balanced way.
Turkish taco with kimchi sauce and beef.
Next was a wonton chip topped with smoked aubergine (eggplant) and red tuna “mojama”. This was a nice bite, being salty, crispy, and overall having a nice balance of flavors.
“Mercatbar” croquettes each topped with a slice of Serrano ham.
Raw cuttlefish toast “sepia”
We remembered "Air Baguettes" from our meal at Tickets Tapas Bar in Barcelona, and we wanted try MercatBar's version. So, we did order one extra a la carte course that was not on the menu. MercatBar's version came wrapped with jamon Iberico and topped with jam.
The seafood rice had lovely flavor, but I missed the crunchy "socarrat" (charred crispy bits) that you get in a paella made with a traditional pan.
Thoughts - MercatBar by Quique Dacosta
All in all, we were absolutely floored at the quality of the meal, especially for the price. The service was friendly, the outdoor seating was pleasant, and the food was great. I would come back in a heartbeat, at least for one casual meal.
MercatBar by Quique Dacosta
Joaquín Costa, 27
Other Restaurants by Quique Dacosta
Llisa Negra Valencia