Corte Ingles is a biggest Spanish department store, however unlike most of well-known world’s department stores, in its very broad range of products it also includes groceries in the basement and the rooftop restaurant.
It’s not surprising that, with the aim of helping you spend “countless” hours shopping, the company has opened restaurant and café-bar; and correspondingly, the café-bar on the sixth floor of El Corte Inglés (Calle Colon, 27). However, rooftops are not common at department stores. While for fine dining you may find some more romantic place than this one, the café-bar with its nice views on the old city, has its merits.
La Placa Gastro Mercat offers a wide range of food so most likely everybody (even those with sort of “gourmet-taste”) may find something visually, taste-wise and certainly price-wise attractive. The choice is quite overwhelming. To make it short: you will find there famous Paella Valenciana (and in general rice (arroz)-based dishes, grilled meat (parilla), Italian cuisine (pizza and in general Mediterranean stuff) and Japanese sushi and sashimi (to make it short).
You will also find wide selection of salads, cold cuts (charcuteria) including cheese and all sorts of Spanish jamón… snacks and tapas (bocadillos y tapas), and of course drinks (coffee, beer, wine, soft drinks – you name it) and pastry (pasteleria). The bar has also a “corner” for children with small tables and chairs, giving them chance to be “themselves” 😊. In other words, it is a friendly family place….
It’s also worth mentioning that by regular café-bar standards, the choice and visual composition of meals offered by Gastro-Mercat is quite impressive. But this is just the beginning of the story. Thanks to bar’s location on the sixth floor of the building, from the large, open terrace (part of the bar) you will have panoramic views on the old city of Valencia. Imagine sipping cup of freshly brewed coffee (café con leche) accompanied by equally fresh, crusty croissant or enjoying glass of beer and at the same time taking pleasure in watching the historic center from the “above”. Sea of roofs, labyrinth of crowded streets and then soaring towers of the City Hall (Ayuntamiento), Central Post Office (Correos) as well as an imposing Bank of Valencia with its beautiful exterior ornamentation!
Once you visit Corte Ingles’ rooftop bar (and find some time to sit and contemplate the beauty of life as seen from the top) it may be also interesting to shortly learn something about the company.
El Corte Inglés History
The beginning of the El Corte Ingléss (English Court) was very modest. It all started in 1934 when two men with vision: Ramón Areces Rodriguez and his uncle Cesar Rodriguez Gonzalez bought an old tailor shop in Madrid.
The declining tailor’s business has one significant advantage – location between important streets Preciados, Carmen and Rompelenzas. If you add to that men’s vision and their experience gained when working in sort of department stores in Havana (Cuba) the result was almost certain. In 1939 they also bought an adjacent estate at Preciados 5. In 1940, the Corte Ingles was born with intentions to successively convert the whole block into one large shopping complex. The rest is history – after going through more or less turbulent times the El Corte Inglés emerged as the largest chain of department stores (Supermercados) in Spain.
The first Valencian El Corte Inglés located on the Calle Sorolla 9 was inaugurated on April 1971. The project has its own, today mostly forgotten history. The location of future Corte Ingles was the site of the 15th century Gothic church and convent of Santa Catalina de Siena. Unfortunately, the convent despite its historical value was demolished. The church however was taken apart stone-by-stone and rebuilt pretty much in the same form (although not necessarily all from the original components) in the neighborhood of Orriols. Since 1976, it serves the parish under the new name of Church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.
Well, quite a story! Needless to say, that the first Valencian El Corte Inglés was an instant success. Soon after the next El Corte Inglés center located between Calle Perez Bayer and Calle Colon (just one block away from Calle Sorolla) was built and it is the one where recently opened the rooftop café-bar. Well, when you will sit comfortably on the 6th floor terrace, try to enjoy the food, drinks and the story left behind…
Address: Carrer de Colón, 27, 46004 València