It may sound silly saying: “There are cafes and Cafes”, but in the real life most of us faced such situations proving the truthfulness of this expression. Indeed, in most of Valencian cafes you will find fresh, aromatic, “visually enhanced” café con leche, croissant/bocadillo. The truth is however, that some café-bars offer much more than just a cup of coffee as well as a table and chairs to relax while sipping this godly drink – they also offer noticeably distinctive atmosphere.
The Café Infanta located in the heart of El Carmen is a good example of such “jewels”. Despite the fact, that this Valencian district itself presents quite different world (for first time visitors – “bohemian” in full spectrum of its meaning), the Café Infanta adds to it new dimensions. It’s the colorful world spanning centuries of Valencian history.
The Café Infanta (opened on March 15th, 1992) is housed in the building erected on the remains of the old Moorish defensive walls that once surrounded El Carmen. In fact, the large section of surviving wall makes part of Café’s structure. Interestingly, this architectural detail does not visibly contrast with surroundings, so an unaware visitor may not easily sense the Medieval ambience.
The name “Infanta” suggests some “Royal” link(s), but with the exception of dark-purple draperies (colors often associated with Monarchy) you wouldn’t find there much reminiscent of royal courts.
In fact, while the centuries old wall brings the historical context into this otherwise contemporary café-bar, it is not the prevailing factor determining the interior ambiance. Turns out that Café’s owner is an enthusiast of Spanish cinematography and devoted collector of art who following his passion converted the Café Infanta into an “art exhibition hall”. You will find here numerous black-and-white pictures of cinema stars (mostly Spanish, but also some Hollywood icons), original cinema posters and numerous memorabilia from 50’s and 60’s. Less visible and unfortunately often missed by unaware visitors is the large painting by Salvador Tuset (1883-1951) displaying a group of performing musicians. Taking cover in the darkness of the Café’s corner, musicians seem “spreading” frozen on the canvas tunes…. (actually so far, the Café Infanta does not offer any live music so you may try to listen to those…).
Truly, it is a quite different world from the one just behind the doors. Warm ambiance in muted-colors, filled with mid-20th century nostalgia, makes it a charming place. Dotted with candles and discreetly placed old lamps certainly the Cafe is a romantic meeting spot…. Some may also find here “bohemian” spirt enhanced by the displays of artists on the walls…. And there are more options – all those “hungry” of vibrance, can just move out to the Café’s “terrace” on the Tossal Square to find themselves back in the center of the vivid street’s life but still enjoying all that the Café can offer.
In fact, the Café Infanta offers wide selection of soft and alcoholic drinks (it is considered as only one of few in Valencia that serves some of the best cocktails known as “Agua de Valencia”). But the Café also offers comidas (food) from traditional Spanish cuisine (although often with modern twists). So, you can count here on desayunos (breakfasts), almuerzos (lunches), cenas (dinners), postres (desserts) as well as without any doubt – so Spanish: tapas. Of course, all that can be “watered” with almost any imaginable drink of your choice. And in this aspect, the Café Infanta is truly very international as you will find here (on top of the local “Valencian Water”) also well recognized cocktails like mojito (famous Cuban cocktail so appreciated by Hemingway), caipirinha and caipinegra (both of Portuguese “origins) and the list can go on…
No wonder that the Café Infanta is a favorite “harbor” for El Carmen’s visitors wishing to “temporarily” drop-down the sails after spending hours on the narrow streets of this historic neighborhood. It seems to be a “not-to-miss” destination, part of your trip to the past, place of escape from the city’s hectic life….
Address: Café Infanta
Plaza Tossal 3, Valencia
Phone: 963 92 16 23
Opening hours: 9:30 am – 2:00 am