Where to Eat the Best Paella in Barcelona
Rice is what appears to be such a simple food, but is full of complexities that only a real Catalonian or Spaniard could point out to you. In this article, we attempt to demystify the quintessential Spanish Food: Paella, as well as tell you where to find the best Paella in Barcelona.
First things first, you see a picture of Paella on the menu (here in Barcelona), start running in the opposite direction, and quick! A picture is a code word for frozen. Real Paella enthusiasts can tell just from the smells coming from the kitchen and the appearance whether it’s going to be good Paella.
Paella is one of the most delicious Spanish dishes and full of complexities for preparing it the right way. Rice, the main ingredient, should be medium-grained and should soak the flavor of the different ingredients which can be veggies, seafood, and meat, sometimes altogether cooked in the same pan. The result is a dark, rich, and smoky dish that can be a taste of heaven.
The Barcelona Eat Local Food Tours team has tasted paella in every corner of this fantastic city and here are our insiders’ tips about where to eat the best Paella in Barcelona. Check out our top 9 (in no particular order).
EAT PAELLA IN BARCELONA CLOSE TO THE SEASIDE
EL SUQUET DE L´ALMIRALL. Many locals would see the address of El Suquet de l’Amirall and go running in the other direction. Located on arguably one of the most touristic thoroughfares in the Barceloneta neighborhood, El Suquet de l’Almirall is anything but a tourist trap. Their fish comes straight from Barcelona’s fish market, just 100 meters from the restaurant and the vegetables, dairy, products, and eggs are all organic. Choose between the classic paella, or its Catalan sister fideuà (Paella with noodles), or La Paella DO Barceloneta, and you can’t go wrong. They also have vegetarian-friendly Paella and soupy lobster rice, which you should definitely try.
PEZ VELA. Just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Barceloneta beach, Pez Vela may appear a touristy restaurant, but it is a restaurant with delicious arroces that should not be missed! With much of their produce coming straight from their own gardens and the fish right from the local market, you have the recipe for a taste of heaven. At this restaurant, we’re not talking about classic paella, with the help of some wood smoke, as well as the different varieties with squid ink, octopus, pork ribs, and artichokes, paellas are transformed into smoky magic.
CHERIFF. Nestled away in the heart of the Barceloneta, Cheriff is one of the Barcelona locals´ favorite spot. If you ask anyone who’s been living in Barcelona for more than 5 years, they’ve been to Cheriff, and the reason is clear, delicious Paellas with no fuss dining and fresh seafood. All paired with delicious Catalan wines.
XIRINGUITO ESCRIBA. This is one of the Barcelona local’s preferred spot, right by the beach and with a touch of glamour. The seafood tapas are really good as starters.
CAN MAJO. One of Barceloneta’s classic restaurants, family owned and with plenty of years of experience, always busy and always delicious!
EAT PAELLA WITH THE LOCALS IN BARCELONA – TOTALLY OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
TERRAZA MARTINEZ has it all, beautiful views, great service, and excellent Paellas and arroces. Sitting on top of Montjuic and enjoying the views of the Barcelona seaport and beyond is unbeatable. This restaurant is a bit more pricey compared to the others on this list.
ELCHE. Totally off the tourist track, Elche sits back close to the Parallel metro stop. Having been around for more than fifty years, they offer great ambiance and service as well as some of the best Paellas in town thanks to the fact that the owners are from the area where Paella was created: Alicante, Valencia. As they say, Elche is “a temple for Paella lovers” and we agree!
ARROZ-HOFMANN. The famous Barcelona renowned culinary brand has opened a restaurant to celebrate Spain’s most famous dish at Passeig Sant Joan and their offer is solid. Fish and other Mediterranean inspired recipes are served here as well and are worth the try. The small patio is a perfect spot for a romantic “paella” encounter.
AROSSERIA XATIVA. Having two locations in town it is a great restaurant where one can enjoy the Barcelona local atmosphere as they are totally off the beaten track, yet around the city center. They have a menu with plenty of paella variations, including gluten-free options and all include the classic wooden spoon to eat paella-like a local!
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Author: Jessica Freedman is a travel blogger, Instagrammer and devoted foodie who dedicates her time to find the best foods while traveling. You can follow her adventures at Fanatical Foodies.