Calle Pascual y Genis 9
Tel.: +34 963 942 847
Overall rating: 5/10
Date of visit: January 2013
Admittedly, Neco is not the type of restaurant I usually go to, but we chose to go in simply because they had paella, which we were in the mood for.
I apologise for the pictures. I didn’t think about taking pictures and writing a review until after I had dipped into all the dessert (therefore no picture of the paella).
Neco is a buffet, where you pay €13 for all you can eat including Valencian paella, black rice, salads, chicken, desserts, etc. We only went for paella and dessert.
½ litre of water was €1.30, and a coffee with milk was €1.15.
The paella was well made with very nice rice that still had a bit of bite. As is so often the case with paella (because of the way it’s cooked, and which Spaniards could never dream of changing as it’s tradition), the chicken was a bit dry and overcooked, but still edible. As usual, I would also have liked a bit more seasoning (most Spanish food is low on seasoning). Nevertheless, all in all a very good paella, which is worth going here for (7.5/10). More about this in the conclusion below.
The desserts were a big step down, but I honestly didn’t expect anything special.
I tried what I assume was supposed to be crema catalana. It tasted like one of those powder mixes and was quite poor. On top was a very soggy biscuit that tasted like it had been on there all day (which it probably also had).
Another dessert was a pie with a filling that looked like pumpkin. It was difficult to judge by the taste, and we both only took one bit and left it, as it was a bit nasty.
An apple pie was bland apples (as usually is the case in Southern Europe, as it’s usually golden delicious apples) on top of way too much puff pastry. It was glazed so it looked juicy, which it was far from.
Another dessert was also with bland apples, this time in puréed form and sandwiched between two layers of dry pastry with walnuts on top. It was also glazed, but was even drier than the other one.
Lastly, a baked apple was slightly better, although mushy apples are my least favourite form of apple (overall 2-3/10 for the desserts).
If you want to try many different things and aren’t too picky, I suppose Neco is a reasonable place. Personally, I wouldn’t touch anything except for the paella and the black rice (which unfortunately was sold out when we were there). The salads were the usual thing you see in most Spanish restaurants: Iceberg lettuce, canned corn and tuna, tomato slices, raw onion rings, etc. Still, the place was full of people, so this is apparently what the Spaniards want.
€13 for a buffet doesn’t seem like much to Northern European standards, but if you just want paella and nothing else you can have just as good paella (albeit a small portion) in one of the three restaurants situated on the small square in front of Valencia’s central market (Mercado Central). If I’m not mistaken I paid €8 for a portion including a soda there. That restaurant also served three courses (with paella as one of them) for €10, although I can’t remember if that was including a soda. So, go to Neco if you only want paella and/or black rice and are very hungry, or if you really like the food you can find in at least 70 % of the restaurants in Valencia.