Okay, you know you have to eat paella in Spain, but how do you know you're getting the real "good stuff" that everybody raves about? Don't worry - we're here to help! We've eaten our way through Barcelona and have compiled a list of our favorite local paella restaurants. Try them all and decide which sizzlin' spot is the star of the city!
Photo by Instagram user: @visitloveeat
Out-of-this-world paella and a view? Yes, please. Make your way to this beachside hotspot and expect fresh seafood, awesome service, and a breathtaking view. Pour some Rioja red wine and dine while watching a picture-perfect sunset. Av. del Litoral, 62, 08005 Barcelona
Photo by Instagram user: @guiaramonin
La Mar Salada
Calling all seafood lovers! This classy restaurant is your heaven. The bright, fresh flavors of local seafood are what make La Mar Salada's paella so special. Relax outside on the port-side terrace or enjoy your meal in the laid-back, yet elegant dining room. Passeig de Joan de Borbó, 58-59, 08003 Barcelona
Photo by Instagram user: @freakiefoodies
It's safe to say that this famous restaurant is Barcelona's most-beloved paella paradise. Not only is it a favorite among local foodies, it's also been frequented by important political and cultural figures like Alexander Flemming, Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso and many more. Yes, really. 7 Portes has been serving its signature "paella parallada" (which translates to "rich man's paella") since the 1940s. Whether you're looking for meat, vegetarian, or seafood options, this popular restaurant cooks up all different types of perfect paella. One key piece of advice: make a reservation. Passeig d’Isabel II, 14, 08003 Barcelona
Photo by Instagram user: @elche_restaurant
A cool blend of tradition and modern, Elche is recommended by every local when asked where to eat paella - and trust us, they're right. This restaurant cooks up some flavor-packed paella, which pairs perfectly with a smoothe glass of local wine. Carrer de Vila i Vilà, 71, 08004 Barcelona
Photo by Instagram user: @cheriff_restaurant
If you wanna' go where the locals go, this is that spot. Tucked away in the narrow streets of Barceloneta, Cheriff is known to be one of the most authentic restaurants in the area. Expect the freshest seafood, perfectly-cooked rice, and flavor that will blow you away. Carrer de Ginebra, 15-17, 08003 Barcelona
Photo by Instagram user: @fhmtsang
When in Barcelona, Can Majo is a must. Hot day? Sit outside and enjoy some yummy pre-paella gazpacho. Paella doesn't always need to be eaten during dinner. Why not go for lunch!? Enjoy ocean views while you savor the bold flavors of spiced seafood and sweet sangria. Almirall Aixada 23, 08003 Barcelona
Wait! Before you head to the restaurant, consider these important tips:
- In Spain, locals eat dinner around 10pm, so you won't need a reservation until 8-8:30. Most restaurants don't even open for dinner until 8, so definitely eat a snack if you're used to a 6pm dinnertime.
- Paella prices on menus are usually per person, since they're served in large family-style portions. Make sure your server is aware of how many of you are eating.
- Paella is traditionally eaten on Thursday, so that's when restaurants may be most crowded. But on the bright side, some restaurants offer great deals on "paella Thursdays," so it's the time to get most bang for your buck.
- Don't be afraid to scrape up the toasted rice at the bottom of the pan! It usually contains the most flavor.
- Bomba rice can be swapped out for fideua noodle, another Catalan classic. Why not try one of each?
- If pictures of paella are displayed outside a restaurant, keep it movin'. Most restaurants that advertise photos of food on their menus or exteriors are tourist traps. Let's just say, you'd never see a local eating there.