Spaniards eat dinner at around 10 pm, so if you make a reservation around 8 pm, you’re likely to endup in an empty restaurant. Try and hit a few bars before, to build up that paella appetite. Moreover, if you’re looking for a full-blown experience, paella is traditionally eaten on Thursdays, so that’s when most restaurants are packed. The soccarat—stuffed or toasted rice at the bottom of the pan—contains the most flavour, so don’t forget to scrape! Also, avoid picture menus, as many Barcelona paella restaurants like this serve the dish previously frozen. Don’t hesitate to pair your paella with a glass of red (just my personal opinion). Without further ado, here’s where you should go paella hunting:
Carrer del Rosselló, 164, 08036
Go for their made-to-order mixed paella and you’ll have no regrets! It’s their specialty—a type of ‘surf and turf’. This affordable paella restaurant covers all the bases. On the menu you’ll also find meat, seafood and other vegetarian options. My favourite bit? Super friendly service! Ideal for a bustling local atmosphere.
The Paella Club
Carrer del Dr. Dou, 5, 08001
Fancy eating top-quality paella that you make yourself, under the guidance of a top chef? It’s almost like a masterchef experience with the work stations, fancy aprons and slick decor! But I assure you it’s really about learning how to cook a gourmet version of Spain’s iconic dish. It’s a five-course and bottomless wine experience, and one of the desserts is a frozen gin and tonic! Wowza right?
Av. del Litoral, 62, 08005
Looking for paella with a sea-view to match? This restaurant is right on the beach, so you won’t be far from great paella after a day in the sun. It’s famous paella negra (paella with squid ink) will leave seafood lovers astonished! It’s ideal for a romantic night out or a beach meal, but be careful—the portion sizes are overwhelming in the best sense of the word.
Passeig d'Isabel II, 14, 08003
Fun fact—Picasso was a regular at this classic Barcelona paella restaurant. If you’re looking for old world charm, then this is it! The restaurant takes its name from its seven entrance doors, which opened for the first time in 1836. It’s not only home to some of the best paella in Barcelona—it’s also a cultural haven, where the piano players create a vibe that almost makes you feel like you’re sitting in Rick's Café from the movie Casablanca. Here’s looking at paella, kid!
Carrer del Torrent d'En Vidalet, 26, 08012
This restaurant went a little beyond traditions and curated their menu to be allergenic sensitive. So whether you’re celiac, lactose intolerant or vegetarian, you can count on this restaurant and play it safe. Ideal for a night out in the picturesque Gracia district or a low-key family dinner. This family-run gem gives cosy feels and recommends a house special—paella de mar y montaña (surf and turf paella)
Eat, drink, and be merry as they do in Spain!