Rice. What appears to be such a simple food 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, start running in the opposite direction, and quick! A picture is 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 the most delicious Spanish delicacies but also one of the easiest dishes to mess up. When not carefully prepared, it can be tasteless grain, for example when it hasn’t taken on the flavor of the sofrito (made from bell peppers, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and olive oil) or if the fumé (fish broth responsible for all the flavor in Paella) is not freshly made, it can also be recipe for disaster. On the contrary, when properly prepared, it can be a taste of heaven.
Barcelona Eat Local has the inside tips about where to eat the best Paella in Barcelona. Check out our top 5 (in no particular order).
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 daily fish market, just 100 meters from the restaurant and the vegetables, dairy, products, and eggs are all organic. Choose between the classic paella, or the Catalan touch, 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 aren’t to be missed.
Nestled away in the heart of the Barceloneta, not too far from one of our secret stops on our Barceloneta Tapas and Beer Tour, Cheriff is a local classic, a Barcelona local´s favorite. 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.
Martínez has it all, beautiful views, great service and excellent Paellas. Sitting on top of Montjuic and enjoying the views there’s no better place to enjoy a Paella than at the Terrace of Martínez; they offer great quality as well as a great variety of Paellas and the local sister, fideua.
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 Paella’s origins in Alicante, Valencia. As they say, Elche is “a temple for Paella lovers” and we agree!
Just a hop, skip and a jump away from the beach, Kaiku may go unperceived in the busy Plaza del Mar, but the cuisine should not be missed! With much of their produce coming straight from their own gardens and the fish right from the Barcelona fish market, you have the recipe for Paella heaven. And we’re not talking your classic paella, with the help of some wood smoke, these seafood Paellas, as well as the different varieties with squid ink, octopus, pork ribs, and artichokes are transformed into culinary smoky magic.
Voted as one of the best walking tours in Barcelona, Barcelona Eat Local offers food tours in iconic districts of the City of Counts, where we partner with local restaurateurs who offer the best of local gastronomy.
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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