For millennia, eating was (and still is) considered as one of our fundamental needs to feed organism with vital “life-sustaining” components. And then we discovered the “Dining”, an event taking our eating experience far beyond just the feel of hunger and taste (or distaste). It’s a culinary “celebration” strait from the “Garden of Eden”, engaging almost all our senses and awarding with joy and pleasures.
One of such earthly locations of “Epicurean Heavens” in Valencia is “El Asador de Aranda” – the splendid restaurant located in the heart of the Old Town on Carrer de Félix Pizcueta, 8. For most of no-Spanish speaking foreigners the name adds melodious tunes into the promise of fiesta, however, even translated to English it still keeps some dose of charm. For clarity – “Asador” means “Rotisserie” (and that tells you already a lot), but “Aranda” is just pleasantly-sounding Hispanic proper name. In this particular case, it reflects the origins of the founders of “El Asador de Aranda” – a small town in the Northern Spain, (Province of Burgos) – Aranda de Duero.
But the town’s name is not the only feature inherited by the chain of Spanish restaurants “Asador de Aranda”. It’s also the whole concept of the business, that was built by the Palomero family around the Castilian specialty – a dish called “Lechazo”. It is a roasted baby lamb traditionally served with a salad and a sort of “bread-cake” for dipping in meat juices (as nothing so “heavenly” good should be ever wasted). Actually, the dish is one of the hallmarks of the Northern-Spain’s cuisine and under the name “Lechazo de Castilla y León”, is protected by IGP (Indicación Geográfica Protegida).
The concept of establishing the chain of rotisseries was born back in 60’s, but the first “El Asador de Aranda” was opened only in 1983 (Madrid). The initial success lead to a concerted effort to promote the traditional Castilian culture of roasted lamb all over the Iberian Peninsula. Today, the brand Asador de Aranda counts about 20 restaurants operating in all major cities across the Spain.
The Rotisserie Aranda firmly sticks to Castilian traditions, so its famous “Lechazo” (Roasted Suckling Lamb from Aranda de Duero IGP Castilla y León) comes from an ancient Iberian breed of sheep called Churra or Churro (they are raised on lands of Zamora in the province Castile and León). Obviously, El Asador de Aranda largely extended its offer of roasted meats (for what it is widely recognized by foodies) including also (Suckling) piglets, grilled chops, T-bone steaks etc…. Needless to say, that all meats are slow-roasted according to traditional recipes in wood-fired clay-oven with minimum of “extra ingredients”, but instead with a lot of passion and firm adherence to centuries old traditions. The whole roasting process itself is carefully implemented. The ovens are made from pure adobe to eliminate any extra chemicals that will certainly have an impact on the taste of meats (and health of the customers). Also, the wood is carefully selected as only the south-Mediterranean holm oak is allowed for roasting.
But this is not all, so the lamb (cordero) and pig (cerdo) are complemented by chickens (pollo) and veal (ternera) in an exquisite explosion of tastes, aromas and colors. Also, the bar offers worth of your attentions extensive offer of tapas.
Good meat also deserves good wine, and you will certainly find one out of the wine’s list offered by the restaurant. As the matter of fact, the birthplace of “Lechazo” – Aranda de Duero is also the capital of the “Ribera del Duero” – one of recognized wine regions located along the course of Duero river and for its quality, protected by the Spanish Denominación de Origen (DO).
As the result, El Asador de Aranda is one of the best places for “carnivorous” foodies. In fact, if you are vegetarian, quickly turn back before aromas stemming from roasted meats trap you in their invisible “tentacles” beyond the “point-of-no-return” 😊.
From the list of desserts (apparently not so generous), it may be worth to mention the Millefeuille with Pastry and Chantilly Cream. It is restaurant’s “specialité de la maison” undoubtedly with deep Castilian roots and an experience dating to 60’s.
But El Asador de Aranda offers much more than just the quality of its culinary offer and services. It is also a “noble” environment that makes from lunch or dinner – the dining feast. In fact, seen from the street with its three arches supported by columns skillfully combining old architectural style with the lines of modern-days elegance, El Asador de Aranda already promises more than you would expect. Crossing the doors (BTW – itself quite impressive piece of carved-woodwork) you enter the elegant interior where the wood overwhelmingly shapes the forms (ceilings, furniture, tables, chairs, walls – some real antics) and sets the interior’s ambience.
Summarizing – El Asador de Aranda is an oasis of Castilian tastes and aromas emanating from the roasted meats in wood-fired ovens – all in the middle of an overwhelmingly “Paella-and-Rice” oriented Valencian cuisine.
Address: El Asador de Aranda
Calle Félix Pizcueta 8, Valencia
Open: 12am-4 pm and 8pm – 11:30pm
Specialties: Roast lamb in traditional wood oven
Phone: 963 52 97 91