A simple rice dish said to have been made by servants with the leftovers from royal banquets in Moorish Spain, paella is easily Spain’s most famous culinary export and tourists devour it by the pan.
But don’t pick up the fork just yet!
There’s a lot of pricey pre-made paella fleecing tourists daily.
Allow me to point you in the right direction – here are some tips for the best paella in Barcelona.
6 Tangy Tips for Eating Paella in Barcelona
- Spaniards eat dinner at around 10 so you probably won’t need a reservation around 8/830.
- Prices on menus are usually per person (minimum two people).
- Paella is traditionally eaten on Thursday so restaurants may be more crowded then.
- The soccarat (‘singed stuff’) or toasted rice at the bottom of the pan contains the most flavour.
- Avoid picture menus! Many Barcelona paella restaurants like this serve it previously frozen.
- Bomba rice can be swapped for fideua noodle, one of Catalonia’s classic dishes.
The Best Paella Restaurants in Barcelona
Here it’s all about old world charm.
Picasso was a regular at this classic Barcelona paella restaurant opened in 1836. Named after the spacious restaurant’s seven entrance doors, it’s not only home to some of the best paella in Barcelona but the piano players create a Casablanca-like vibe to add an impeccable touch of class to the meal.
Ideal for a couple’s night out or business trips on the company card.
Some of the best paella in Barcelona with a sea view to match.
It’s right on the beach so you won’t have to walk far after a day in the sun. Seafood lovers will marvel in its famous paella negra (paella with squid ink) but careful! Be careful with the generous portions to make sure you have room for dessert.
Reservations are a must or you’ll be waiting at least 30 minutes.
Ideal for a post beach meal or romantic night out.
Finally, a Barcelona paella restaurant outside the tourist nonsense.
This family-run gem is something to behold – they recommend the house special paella de mar y montaña (surf and turf paella). It’s a menu apt for celiacs – all the fried food is battered in gluten-free chickpea flour.
The entire menu is allergen sensitive so whether you’re celiac, lactose intolerant, or vegetarian you know you’re playing it safe.
Ideal for a night out in the picturesque Gracia district or a low-key family dinner.
This historic Barcelona paella restaurant is a powerhouse that covers all the bases.
Take one bite of their mixed paella (a type of surf and turf) and you’ll know it’s their specialty dish, though rice-phobics would be just as well ordering their carne picanha: a sirloin cap char-grilled to perfection.
Since the paella is made to order you’ll need to wait about 25 minutes, but in the meantime you’ll have plenty of time to drink wine and enjoy some of the city’s best Spanish tapas plates like Serrano ham, gambas al ajillo (garlic prawns), or Galician octopus.
It’s got the friendliest waiters in the city (say hello to Jose for me!) and it’s also the only of the city’s top restaurants where you’ll be able to enjoy the football game.
Ideal for local atmosphere, variety, and value.
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Their slogan is ‘Rice and Sea’ – enough said.
This so-called urban beach restaurant in tourist central at Barceloneta beach is overseen by double Michelin starred chef Xavier Pellicer. It naturally serves some of the best paella in Barcelona – just make sure you get a seat in the upstairs dining room because the view from there is incredible.
Expect to pay 30-35 euros, which is a great price-quality ratio for the neighbourhood. The organic vegetable paella is a great vegetarian option.
Ideal for beach lovers and people watching.
Marta Amb Tu Cuinem
If you’re looking for adventure and knowledge, look no further than Marta’s apartment! More than just a cooking class, Marta explains the history of the dish and takes you through the preparation step by step.
By the end you’re dining on some of the best paella in Barcelona on her sixth floor patio overlooking Plaza Tetuan.
The value here is amazing since you bring your own wine 😉 It’s a meal at restaurant prices only you’ll leave Spain knowing how to recreate the dish at home – after meeting new friends and maybe even checking out a few cool bars together.
Drop Marta a line on Facebook and she’ll set you up.
Ideal for foodies, authenticity, and socializing.
With great prices usually reserved for previously frozen paella, this Barcelona paella restaurant offers ridiculous lunch menu specials that’ll have you full for about a tenner a head. They’re also one of the few places with a full kids menu.
It’s a stone’s throw from the famous Rambla but don’t let the touristy appearance fool you – locals chow down here daily. The traditional paella valenciana (paella with rabbit and chicken) is a favourite.
Ideal for bargain hunters and those ready for a night out in the Gotico.
This place has been recommended to me by more than one local – if you don’t trust them then I can only say that a hundred years of history doesn’t lie! It’s a bit pricey because of the location but the big portions and Master-chef-like presentation are second to none.
A little place occupying a two story house that’s a real throw-back to a time when Barcelona was more than tourism. The owner came by for a chat which was a personal touch not seen in more touristy options.
Ideal for a bit of real Barcelona with a modern touch.
Please Bother Me in the Comments
You now know where to get the best paella in Barcelona but maybe something isn’t quite clear? If you need help on paella or any of the best things to do in Barcelona then get at me in the comments below with any questions.
And don’t forget to let me know… how was your Barcelona paella experience?