Best Paella in Spain I Top 10 Paella Restaurants in Spain
Paella is probably Spain’s most famous cuisine. It is basically a traditional Spanish rice dish, often made with chicken or seafood, can be found everywhere in Spain and almost every restaurant has paella on the menu, but the best place to eat it has to be where it was first invented, in Valencia. Don’t worry if you can’t get there though, because today we’re looking at the best paellas in Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid, Seville, and Palma de Mallorca. Before we take you to the ride of Paella and your curiosity of where to eat paella in Spain, you must know something cool about this dish:
The best definition of a Spanish paella is kind of boiled rice with saffron and other ingredients. The most common paella recipes include seafood like mussels, prawns, and calamari, although some, such as the typical paella Valenciana, also contain chicken or rabbit. You can even get vegetarian paellas with carrots, peas, courgette and any other veggies you can think of.
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Types of Paella
There are different types of Paella. Rabbit and Seafood Paella is a traditional Paella.
- Rabbit Paella
- Seafood Paella
- Black rice Paella
- Meat Paella
- Vegetarian Paella
Best Paella Restaurants in Spain
Spanish people have dinner starting from 9 p.m. and going until as late as midnight. This may be very late for you, but no worries, most restaurants open around 6-7 p.m. When you pick one of our recommended Paella spots in Spain, we recommend making a reservation. Just to be safe (and to avoid disappointments and skip waiting in line). The price for paella is usually shown per person. The minimum for a good paella is two people.
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1. Casa Elías
Gastronomic experts and culinary guides define this paella as the best paella in Spain. Rice with rabbit and snails, herbs, and slowly cooked on firewood. Upon your arrival at the restaurant, you will know that the choice is unbeatable. The first thing you see when you arrive is a large window that welcomes you with the burning firewood ready for your paella.
Address: Calle Rosales, 7, 03649 El Xinorlet, Alicante, Spain
2. Restaurante la Sirena
We continue in Alicante where only rice is called paella Spanish food just due to a kind of healthy competition with its Valencian neighbors. Here, we decide to taste the Arroz a banda (rice cooked in fish stock) with prawns which always comes with a delicious garlic mayonnaise sauce and cooked with ñoras which is a type of dried pepper which is the main ingredient of a secret sauce and the best rice from Alicante is used.
Address: Av. de Madrid, 14, 03610 Petrer, Alicante, Spain
3. Quique Dacosta
This chef has already been mentioned as the genius of rice and Mediterranean cuisine as well as his 3 Michelin stars restaurant in our top 10 paella restaurants in Spain. His art in the kitchen has majestically moved to rice: The grain is firm and crispy, does not stick together but it is integrated into the dish, cooked with an exquisite technique; this certainly is a different concept from what is found outside our country.
Address: Carrer Rascassa, 1, 03700 Dénia, Alicante, Spain.
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4. La Cuina Mediterranea de Galbis
Valencian people should not be angry as we have started in Alicante as they are the experts of the authentic best paella in Spain. Juan Carlos Galbis will surprise you with a recipe where waterfowls and Valencian vegetable gardens are the most important elements and in a gastronomic place where the chef cooks for his friends and there is a close, friendly, tasty and authentic atmosphere. His father is well-known for cooking the biggest paella in history.
Address: Carrer de Santa Bàrbara, 37, 46250 L’Alcúdia, Valencia, Spain
5. Casa Carmina
We continue in Valencia because there are hundreds of places that can be part of this top 10 paella spots. Between the sea and the Valencian Albufera, this small place offers one of the most exquisite Valencian paellas. Stew rice with beans and turnips, paella with lobster, with cuttlefish and artichokes, with seafood, with monkfish and mushrooms: Tough choice.
Address: Calle Embarcadero, 4, 46012 El Saler, Valencia, Spain
6. Posada Real Santa María del Campo Rus
It must be said that the best Valencian paella is found in Castilla La Mancha, especially in Cuenca, in this restaurant which is run by the chef Julián García and it was decided in the last contest “The World’s Best Paella” held in Sueca, Rice City in Spain. Arroz bomba (short-grain rice), chopped chicken and rabbit, garrafo, green beans, and crushed tomatoes, snails, saffron, rosemary, paprika, coloring, chicken stock, olive oil, and salt. The most traditional ingredients of the Valencian paella are the main elements of this Castilian paella.
Address: Av. Dr. Espejel, 5, 16621 Santa María del Campo Rus, Cuenca, Spain
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7. Que si Quieres Arroz Catalina
Located in the heart of Casa de Campo in Madrid, you will find one of the best rice restaurants in the capital. Madrid is the best city for paella in Spain. The chef is Rafa Morales with 14 years of experience working with Ferrá Adriá and with 2 Michelin stars at El Bulli Hotel in Seville. Now he is dedicated to cooking the most delicious paellas you will find in Madrid, which is stewed in duck stock and accompanied by rabbit, artichokes or snails.
Address: Palacio de la Mision, Calle Principal de Provincias, 9, 28011 Madrid, Spain
8. Glass Mar, Madrid
There are those who say that landlocked Madrid gets the best seafood in all of Spain because it’s rushed straight to the capital in freight trucks as soon as the day’s catch comes in. It is one of the paella restaurants in Spain. Chef Ángel León has been using these fresh ingredients to innovate in the world of haute cuisine paella in Madrid in his restaurant Glass Mar near the Puerta del Sol. Here you can try unique paella dishes from sticky rice with plankton to an Arroz with cuttlefish broth or garlic sauce. Truly groundbreaking.
Address: Carrera de S. Jerónimo, 34, 28014 Madrid, Spain
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9. L’Albufera, Seville
If you want to eat like a local in Seville, head to this restaurant in the far south of the city you will get the best paella of Spain. It’s a bit of a long journey from the city center but well worth it for the more than 20 different types of paella and Valencian-style arroces with every ingredient you can imagine. You can choose whether you want a portion for two, four or six people and the price is very reasonable too.
Address: Calle Corbeta, 5, B, 41012 Seville, Spain.
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10. La Payesita, Palma de Mallorca
Finally, if you’re looking for a restaurant right on the beachfront in Mallorca’s capital city, you should definitely check out La Payesita, one of the best paella restaurants in Spain and possibly one of the great restaurants on the island of Mallorca. It’s nothing fancy – just good old, honest food and excellent service in a truly marvelous setting.
Address: Carrer de les Nanses, s/n, 07610 Can Pastilla, Balearic Islands, Spain.
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6 Top Spots for this Valencian Dish – Devour Tours
For many people, paella is the quintessential Spanish food, and one they wouldn’t dream of leaving without trying. Make your trip unforgettable by heading to one of these spots for the best paella in Madrid.
Classic Valencian paella. Photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli
You’ve arrived in Madrid and you’re hungry. Surrounded by signs advertising a variety of different paellas, you settle on what you assume is the national dish of Spain.
Bad move! What you’ll likely be served is a precooked, microwaved meal that has nothing to do with the delicious original version from Valencia, or any of the many other fabulous Spanish rice dishes.
So what do you do if you want to try the best paella in Madrid? Trust us to help you find one! Here are our recommendations for paella restaurants in Madrid, as well as a bit of background about the dish itself.
What Is Paella?
FAQs about Paella in Madrid
Which city in Spain has the best paella?
What is the most popular paella?
What rice is best for paella?
What Is Paella?
It is widely accepted that paella originated in Valencia, a region on Spain’s eastern coast. Bordering Valencia we also find Murcia, another area famous for its rice dishes.
The reason rice dishes evolved in this part of Spain is largely due to the Moors, a Muslim people of north African decent. They controlled various parts of Spain from the years 711 to 1492, and had an enormous influence on Spanish cuisine.
The Moors planted rice in the area that we know today as Valencia and Murcia. The crop flourished in the region, which led to rice dishes becoming an important part of the local cuisine. The types of rice we find in the area (specifically the bomba and calasparra varieties) are very unique because of their ability to absorb a lot of liquid while still holding their shape, which makes them perfect for paella.
Traveling to Valencia? Don’t miss our top picks for paella restaurants in Valencia!
The first paellas were not glamorous and quite unlike the seafood-laden versions you may be familiar with. They were more or less a barbecue-type food typical in the countryside.
People used local rice, beans, and snails to make the first paellas. As their paellas evolved, they added in rabbit and chicken hearts and livers. Nowadays you can find just about anything in a paella, but if you want to try the really authentic version, go for the snails!
So, this brief history leaves one thing clear: paella is not a typical dish in Madrid. However, if you’re in the city craving your dose of this symbolic Spanish dish, don’t worry—the following places serve some of the best paella in Madrid!
Seafood paella: Spain’s most iconic rice dish, but a far cry from the earliest versions! Photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli
Where to Find the Best Paella in Madrid
Casa de Valencia
This restaurant, true to its name, serves up an authentic Valencian paella in Madrid. Founded in 1975 and inaugurated by the King and Queen of Spain, Casa de Valencia hasn’t changed much in nearly 50 years. Don’t go expecting a trendy place—you come here for the food!
We recommend the arroz del senyoret, or “gentleman’s rice.” Hailing from Valencia, this is a delicious twist on paella where you don’t have to do any work—all of the seafood comes pre-peeled! Their paella valenciana, perfectly cooked and seasoned, is just as delicious.
Sometimes when talking about Spain’s famous rice dishes people forget about Murcia. Bad idea!
Murcia is home to some of Spain’s best rice dishes, such as the famous arroz al caldero. It’s technically not a paella since it’s made in a pot. But it’s just as delicious as its better-known cousin, and Restaurante El Caldero is the best place to try it.
Insider’s Tip: Don’t miss El Caldero’s homemade aliolis, the perfect condiment for any of their rice dishes.
Traditional preparation of Murcian arroz al caldero.
If you don’t mind going a bit north of Madrid’s center, there’s a treat in store for you at Restaurante Samm, another contender for the best paella in Madrid. Here they make the rice just right, and you get to enjoy it on their lovely interior terrace.
To complete your memorable meal, don’t miss the appetizers at this place, either. The calamari with alioli is to die for!
Bar La Gloria
Malasaña is Madrid’s brunch capital, but those looking for something more traditional in this neck of the woods, Bar La Gloria makes a point of not serving it! Forget the eggs Benedict—here you can find an authentic paella valenciana every Sunday.
Given this spot’s popularity, reservations are necessary to make sure you don’t miss out on the Sunday paella! Groups can also inquire about paella on Saturdays.
A perfect paella valenciana is a true work of art. Photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli
Come to Casa Benigna for the quirky and eclectic decor; stay for the exquisite Mediterranean rice dishes made with the freshest natural ingredients.
Founder Norberto hails from a small town in the province of Alicante and brought the culinary traditions of his homeland to the Spanish capital in 1990. With recipes lovingly passed down from his mother, Carmen, Norberto and his team have created a welcoming haven of great food and great company right here in Madrid.
Owned and operated by the Solís family for three generations, La Barraca has been a reference for Valencian cuisine in Madrid since 1935.
The secret to their beautifully presented paellas is as simple as it gets: high quality bomba rice from the fertile paddies of the Valencian region. They also have a respectable wine list, so you’re sure to find the perfect glass to pair with your paella.
FAQs about Paella in Madrid
Which city in Spain has the best paella?
For consistently great paella, head to its home turf of Valencia. However, migration to Madrid from other parts of Spain, including Valencia, over the centuries has fortunately made it easy to find great paella here in the capital, too.
What is the most popular paella?
Outside of Spain, the most popular image of paella is the seafood version laden with shrimp, mussels, clams, and more. However, the original version of paella from Valencia is more turf than surf—it uses chicken, rabbit, and (traditionally) snails!
What rice is best for paella?
Short-grain Spanish varieties of rice, like bomba and calasparra, are ideal for paella. This is because they can absorb much more liquid (and therefore, flavor) than other varieties without becoming mushy.
Update Notice: This post was updated on January 23, 2023.
Want to make even more delicious memories on your trip? Join our Ultimate Spanish Cuisine Tour to discover local secrets and sample more of the city’s best bites!
Where to eat paella in Barcelona. Spain in Russian
Barcelona is the most visited city in Spain and paella is arguably the most popular dish in the country. Therefore, it is not surprising that many tourists want to try this dish in the capital of Catalonia. And about which restaurants in Barcelona to eat paella, we will discuss in the article.
Restaurant Suquet de l’Almirall
Suquet de l’Almirall is one of the best restaurants in Barcelona to eat paella. It is located in the Old Port of Barcelona (Port Vell). The institution uses first-class products and knows how to make them play in full force.
In summer, the restaurant’s terrace is a key place to eat the best paella in Barcelona. Paella Catalana (€ 22.50) and LA PAELLA DO Barceloneta (€ 28) are some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes. It is said that the secret of paella is the fragrant fish broth, which gives a unique taste to the dish.
In addition to paella, the restaurant offers other seafood dishes created by the magical hands of chef and owner Kim Marquez. Marquez is a hereditary culinary specialist; his family has been working at the stove for four generations.
In addition to dishes from the menu, which is changed every two years, new seasonal offers also periodically appear on the slate.
Restaurant Suquet de l’Almirall is the perfect place to enjoy traditional dishes with a modern twist and eat paella in Barcelona. And recently, the owners of the restaurant opened a small “spin-off” in the Boqueria market, which was called Paella Bar.
Address: Passeig de Joan de Borbo, 65.
Barraca’s cuisine is created by celebrity chef Javier Pellicer and is the brainchild of Tribu Woki, a chain of restaurants throughout Barcelona. Barraca is the place to eat paella in Barcelona with impeccable service and fresh food. The restaurant is so focused on paella that it is even called Arroceria de la Barceloneta (Barceloneta restaurant specializing in rice dishes).
Restaurant Barraca in Barcelona offers six types of paella, including options such as paella with organic vegetables (€ 16), with squid, mussels and fish slices (€ 19.50) or paella with chicken, spare ribs, green beans and artichokes (€ 18.50).
Address: Passeig Maritim Barceloneta, 1.
Restaurant La Mar Salada
Located in Barcelona’s Old Port (Port Vell), the restaurant has been operating since 1993 and specializes in rice, seafood and tapas dishes.
The kitchen is run by Mark Singla, who invented the famous liquid tortilla with potatoes while working at the El Bulli restaurant, it is also called deconstructed.
The chef at Barcelona’s La Mar Salada hasn’t gone unnoticed either: his rice with lobster and wild mushrooms (€26.50) is considered impeccable. You should also try the shrimp paella (€ 19.50) or black rice with cuttlefish and artichokes (€ 21).
Address: Passeig de Joan de Borbo, 58-59.
Restaurant 7 Portes
Restaurant 7 Portes in Barcelona is one of the iconic places in the city. The institution has a rich history and is already 180 years old, it was opened in 1836.
Restaurant in Barcelona focuses on traditional cuisine and uses only Spanish products. A large selection of recipes that have evolved over time and the establishment’s rich experience mean that 7 Portes caters to all generations.
One of the restaurant’s signature dishes in Barcelona is Paella Parellada, which is ordered by almost 70% of customers. Delicious rice with mussels, squid, shrimp, rabbit, minced pork and butifarra black pudding does not leave anyone indifferent.
A place to eat paella in Barcelona is valued not only for its cuisine, but also for its schedule: the restaurant’s kitchen is open from 1 pm to 1 am without a break. As the restaurant is close to the Maremagnum shopping centre, a stroll along Barcelona’s port is the perfect ending to your dinner.
Address: Passeig Isabel II, 14.
Restaurant Can Sole
Can Sole, the perfect answer to the question of where to eat paella in Barcelona, is over 100 years old, dating back to 1903. The institution is famous for its traditional cuisine and the high quality of the products used, and considers perfection in cooking and the pleasure of its customers as the goal of its work.
The restaurant’s menu includes about 18 types of paella and 10 varieties of fideua noodles, but they are all made only with seafood. Paella with sea urchins and scallops attracts attention (€ 29.50), spiny lobster (€34), Norwegian red king crab (€34.50) or Can Sole seafood (€20).
Address: Carrer de Sant Carles, 4.
Restaurant Can Majo
An inviting terrace and 100% Mediterranean cuisine are the highlights of the Can Majo restaurant in Barceloneta.
The restaurant in Barcelona was opened in 1968 by a married couple, Maria and Enrique, making emphasis on quality cuisine and specialization in “sea” dishes as their main rules.
Seafood appetizers and paella with lobster are in the greatest demand. You should also pay attention to paella with cod and vegetables or a la cazuela variation in a fisherman’s style.
Address: Almirall Aixada, 23.
Restaurant Arrosseria Xativa
“Good rice and good people” is the principle of another paella restaurant in Barcelona.
In the menu you will find about 30 types of dishes. There is paella with shrimp and monkfish (rape), paella with shrimp, cuttlefish and green peas, paella with seafood, a variation with mushrooms and vegetables, Valencian paella and many others.
Address: Carrer del Torrent d’En Vidalet, 26; Carrer de Bordeus, 35.
Opened in 1996, Barceloneta is renowned for its incomparable seafood quality and excellent service.
Dinner options include paella with meat and seasonal vegetables (€18.60), black rice with cuttlefish (€18.9)5) or Moll del Rellotge fish and seafood paella (€ 22.85).
You should come here to try the real Mediterranean and Catalan cuisine and enjoy the views of the port of Barcelona from the terrace of the restaurant, because both of them are on top.
Address: Moll dels Pescador, Port Vell, Carrer de l’Escar, 22.
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Part 5. Eat the right paella already “all-Spanish”: it refers, first of all, to the region of Valencia (which includes the province of Alicante).
It is generally accepted in Spain that it is in the “native” region that any dish is cooked in the right way, and the result will be the most delicious (therefore, the best gazpacho in Andalusia, the best tapas / snacks in the Basque Country, octopus in Galicia, and bread with tomato – in Catalonia). However, today you will find paella on the menu of most restaurants in the country.
Paella is a rice-based dish with saffron added, other ingredients can vary almost indefinitely: various types of fish, seafood, meat, chicken, legumes, snails, herbs, etc.
It also differs in appearance, for example, I know yellow (classic), red (due to a special type of shrimp, crushed to a powder), green (vegetarian) and black (painted with cuttlefish ink).
Unfortunately, the photo of the green one was not preserved: it was so tasty that it quickly lost its presentation!
But the most famous is the seafood paella, perhaps as a symbol of a holiday in the Mediterranean?
However, it is not enough to come to Spain or Valencia or Alicante to be guaranteed to try a DELICIOUS paella. Yes, it will be offered everywhere, but most of the easily accessible restaurants in the tourist area suffer from the general disease of such places: quantity at the expense of quality, and so it will do.
Look again at the photo above: this is what a delicious paella looks like. It is not necessary that the shrimp be in three layers, but the same principle works here as with porridge and butter!
And this is the average from a tourist restaurant:
Feel the difference, as they say! It tastes (difference) the same as it looks: you can eat the second one, and even not bad, but it’s not the same . .. the best. A good one just can’t help but like it!
However, there are other signs that you should look for when trying to find a decent paella:
- a simple looking restaurant. If it looks like a working dining room – very good!
- the smaller the locality where the restaurant is located, the better; the same goes for the number of tourists around
- cooking on fire: coals (carbón) or wood (leñas), and this will most likely be indicated somewhere prominently
- amazing smell that makes you stop and sniff!
- full restaurant subject to availability in neighboring
- a large number of locals, Spaniards, especially families
- location in the oldest quarters of the city
- modern restaurant look, glass, metal and hi-fi
- the other extreme – decoration in the style of a fast food restaurant
- large photos of all types of food offered
- English menu
- price for paella 8-10 euros and less per portion in the city (maybe in a small village)
- very large restaurant
- near a popular beach or attraction. Move at least 200 meters away from them and your chances of tasty and less expensive food will skyrocket
One sign proves nothing, but 2-3 parameters will almost certainly work, helping to make a choice.
Well, some turnout passwords, how could it be without this!
Restaurante El Mirador at the TRYP Gran Sol hotel
Rambla Méndez Núñez, 3, 03002, Alicante ESPAÑA
Tel: (34) 965 14 66 18
Fax: (34) 965 211439
Restaurante El Mirador is located on the top floor (26th) of the 4* TRYP Gran Sol Hotel, the tallest building, at the intersection of Rambla Méndez Núñez and the promenade, with the image of the sun – pictured. Instead of walls, there are glass walls, thanks to which a wonderful view of the pier, yachts, and the sea opens up.
Open from 13.00 to 16.00 and from 20.00 to 23.00.
Excellent service, high level restaurant, very tasty food. They are especially good at paella – take it, you won’t lose.
The average cost of dinner per person is approximately 30 euros.
They don’t speak English either, but the menu will be in Spanish and English.
You can book a table here.
Restaurant La Cova
Paraje Illeta, s/n
Tlf-965 63 43 71; 677 11 36 00/93
Excellent seafood restaurant with stunning views of El Campello port (located directly above it and not far from the previous restaurant La Fonda, but on a higher level)
The restaurant is recommended by guidebooks, a serious establishment, not cheap, dinner per person 30-50 euros.
It is located at the very port of El Campello, more precisely, above it on a high bank overlooking the sea, between the road at the exit from the city towards Benidorm and the sea.
Bar-pub, that is, the most popular institution! The food is simple but very tasty.
Address: Calle de Valencia, 130, 3560 El Campello
Set lunch, aka Menú del día, menu of the day, costs 8 euros on a working day, 15 euros on weekends.