Paella Valenciana

A Foodie’s Guide to Calpe: Best Local Dishes and Where to Find Them

Calpe, a gem on Spain's Costa Blanca, is not only celebrated for its idyllic beaches and the imposing Peñón de Ifach but also for its vibrant culinary scene. This picturesque town is a haven for foodies, offering an enticing blend of traditional Valencian cuisine, seafood delights, and innovative gastronomy. Embark on this culinary journey through Calpe, where we unveil the best local dishes and guide you to the places where they are masterfully prepared.

The Quintessential Dish: Paella Valenciana

No visit to Calpe, or the Valencian region, would be complete without indulging in its most iconic dish, Paella Valenciana. Traditionally cooked over a wood fire, this flavorful rice dish is a harmonious blend of rabbit, chicken, green beans, and garrofó (a local variety of lima beans), saffron, and rosemary. While paella has many variations, the authenticity of Paella Valenciana lies in its ingredients and method of preparation.

Where to Find It:

El Cantal Roig, located near the base of the Peñón de Ifach, offers a stunning view to accompany its traditional and authentic paellas. This restaurant is revered for its adherence to traditional cooking methods, providing an authentic Paella Valenciana experience.

Seafood Specialties: Arroz a Banda and Calpe Red Prawn

Arroz a banda is a splendid rice dish, originating from the local fishermen who cooked it with the fish they couldn’t sell. Simmered in a rich fish stock before being served with a side of alioli, this dish truly captures the essence of the Mediterranean Sea.

The Calpe Red Prawn is a local delicacy, renowned for its intense flavor and vibrant red color. These prawns are usually grilled to perfection, seasoned with just a sprinkle of sea salt to enhance their natural flavors.

Where to Find Them:

Restaurante La Mar Salada is a must-visit for seafood lovers. Located in the heart of Calpe’s fishing port, it serves an exquisite Arroz a banda and offers the freshest Calpe Red Prawns you'll ever taste, capturing the essence of the sea in every bite

The Delightful Tapas: From Patatas Bravas to Sepia con Aioli

Tapas, small dishes that offer a taste of the vast Spanish cuisine, are a fundamental part of Calpe’s food scene. Notable mentions include Patatas Bravas, fried potatoes served with a spicy tomato sauce and aioli, and Sepia con Aioli, tender cuttlefish paired with a garlic-rich sauce.

Where to Find Them:

Casa Mola Mola embodies the spirit of Spanish tapas with a modern twist. This trendy spot in the old town offers an innovative approach to traditional tapas, including their standout Patatas Bravas and Sepia con Aioli, alongside a selection of local wines.

For the Sweet Tooth: Turron and Flan de Naranja

Turron, a nougat made from almonds and honey, is a sweet treat with deep roots in Spanish culinary traditions, particularly popular during the Christmas season. Meanwhile, Flan de Naranja, an orange-flavored flan, offers a refreshing citrus twist to the classic caramel dessert

Where to Find Them:

Pastelería La Masa Típica is renowned for its traditional sweets, including the finest Turron in Calpe. For a taste of the delightful Flan de Naranja, visit Heladería Artesana, where this dessert is prepared with the freshest local oranges, providing a perfect end to any meal.

Adventurous Eating: Pulpo Seco and Salazones

For those looking to explore the more adventurous side of Calpe’s culinary offerings, Pulpo Seco (dried octopus) and Salazones (salted fish) are two specialties that reflect the town’s deep connection with the sea. Pulpo Seco is typically grilled and served with olive oil and paprika, while Salazones vary from anchovies to mackerel, cured in salt.

Where to Find Them:

Bar El Pulpo offers an authentic experience of Pulpo Seco, prepared in the traditional manner that highlights its unique texture and taste. For a variety of Salazones, El Mercado Central de Calpe is the place to go. This bustling market is where locals and chefs alike shop for the freshest ingredients, including an array of salted fish delicacies

Embarking on a Culinary Journey

Calpe’s culinary landscape is a testament to its rich cultural heritage and bountiful natural resources. From the traditional Paella Valenciana to the innovative tapas and sweet delights, there’s a dish to satisfy every palate. The restaurants and eateries mentioned herein are just a starting point for exploring the diverse and flavorful cuisine that Calpe has to offer. Each venue not only serves exquisite dishes but also provides an atmosphere that enhances the dining experience, be it through breathtaking views, traditional decor, or the lively ambiance typical of Spanish eateries.


Calpe is a destination that promises a memorable gastronomic journey for food lovers. From the shores of the Mediterranean to the heart of the old town, every corner of Calpe tells a story through its food. Whether you're a seasoned foodie or someone looking to immerse themselves in Spanish culinary traditions, Calpe offers a taste of the Costa Blanca that will linger on your palate long after your visit. So, embark on this culinary adventure, indulge in the local flavors, and discover why Calpe is a true foodie's paradise.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Paella Valenciana and where can I try the best in Calpe?

Paella Valenciana is a traditional Valencian rice dish made with rabbit, chicken, green beans, and saffron. For an authentic experience in Calpe, El Cantal Roig offers traditional and delicious Paella Valenciana

Can I find seafood specialties in Calpe?

Yes, Calpe is renowned for its seafood, especially Arroz a banda and Calpe Red Prawn. Restaurante La Mar Salada, near the fishing port, serves these specialties with the freshest ingredients

Are there options for foodies looking to try local tapas?

Casa Mola Mola in the old town offers innovative tapas with a modern twist, including Patatas Bravas and Sepia con Aioli, paired with local wines

Where can I taste traditional sweets in Calpe?

For traditional sweets like Turron and Flan de Naranja, visit Pastelería La Masa Típica and Heladería Artesana, respectively, for authentic flavors of these classic desserts

What are some adventurous local dishes to try in Calpe?

Pulpo Seco and Salazones are adventurous options reflecting Calpe's seafood heritage. Bar El Pulpo and El Mercado Central de Calpe offer authentic tastes of these unique dishes

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