Best Paella Restaurants in Barcelona: Top Nine Paella Restaurants

Best Paella Restaurants in Barcelona: Top Nine Paella Restaurants

Paella, at its core, is squat round rice cooked in a sofrito in a large low sided pan until the stock has been absorbed. The rice at the perimeter of the pan should have a much-coveted crunchy/chewy texture, known in Catalan as soccarat. The genius of the dish is that it can be scaled up easily without losing flavour integrity and when paired with the outdoors and sunshine- it is a delight. As for what should go in it to make it authentic and other culinary skirmishes, I won’t wade in. What I will point out is that the rice fields of the Delta del Ebro are an hour away from the city. For every bag of basmati at my local supermarket, there are ten types of local bomba rice. Rice is a way of life here. From the mundane to a celebration, it’s ubiquitous. So where should you go for paella in Barcelona if you want to try the best examples? Here are nine of the best that stand out from the rest. Most are in Barceloneta because eating paella with a view and a briney breeze will enhance the experience.

-> Camping Mar <-
-> Can Sole <-
-> Cruix <-
-> La Barraca<-
-> Pez Vela <-
-> Salamanca <-
-> Terraza Martinez <-
-> Xiringuito Excriba <-
-> 7 Portes <-

-> Camping Mar <-
Pg. Joan de Borbó, 103, 08039 Marina Vela.
( (FIB Review 2022)
The newest restaurant on the list, Camping Mar, has no relation to the idea of camping. It’s an upmarket spot from the En Compania de Lobos group. The service and kitchen are so well trained and confident that you will be eating within minutes of ordering. It doesn’t have the view that you would expect from the location, but they’ve employed the services of a talented landscape designer and architect so that the space is different and surprising. In keeping with its contemporary design, the dishes tend to have an unexpected tweak and feature not often encountered ingredients like a salad of braised leeks with burrata.

-> Can Sole <-
Santa Carles 4, Port Olímpic.
( (instagram/can_sole)
An institution with pictures on the walls to back it up. This is an old fashioned restaurant that wears its age proudly. The bill at Can Sole can quickly add up, particularly if seafood platters and Cantabrian anchovies tempt you, but it’s worth the splurge.

-> Cruix <-
Carrer D’Eneteça 57. 08015
( (instagram/cruixbcn) (FIB Review 2020)
I am sending you away from Barceloneta into Eixample for this restaurant. It’s a long and thin restaurant format often found in Barcelona. What they lack in restaurant design, Chef Miquel Pardo makes up with his novel take on the paella, namely making the whole thing about the crispy soccarat. And whilst most arrocerías play it safe with the appetisers and other dishes, Cruix takes creative license with them, resulting in such clever dishes as a dessert called “sad day at the beach”.

The rice dish at Cruix Barcelona-> La Barraca <-
Passeo Marítim 1, 08003. Barceloneta
( (instagram/barracabarcelona)
A two-floor restaurant with a terrace out in front. It’s worth holding out for a table on the first floor for the best views of the beach and to be able to look into the open kitchen. Paellas are good and come out fast. La Barraca has good alternative seafood options if you are laying off the carbs, like the plate of mussels and clams pictured below.

-> Pez Vela <-
Passeo del Mare Nostrum 19/21 (bajos del Hotel W, “HotelVela”)
( (instagram/grupotragaluz) (FIB Review 2021)
Pez Vela sits below the steel and glass “sail” building of the striking W Hotel. The outside and inside spaces are pleasingly hard to delineate, and everything is broken up with planters of dwarf fig trees and swaying grasses. The restaurant opens out onto the always entertaining beach of Barceloneta. Owned by the highly successful local restaurant group Tragaluz.

A large serving of paella with marisco

-> Restaurante Salamanca <-
Carrer de Pepe Rubianes, 34 08003.
( (instagram/restaurantesalamanca) (FIB Review 2020)
The place where your fried whitebait will be served on a plate embellished with a paper doily. Is it necessary? No. Should you enjoy it? Yes. Restaurante Salamanca is a mid-budget place, its terrace tightly packed and the waiters rushing back and forth to tend to customers. The weekly menu del dia is excellent value with generous portions.

-> Terraza Martinez <-
Carretera de Miramar, 38. 08038 Montjuic
( (instagram/terraza_martinez/)
Terraza Martinez is where you should head for the best view with your paella. That and the great curation of plants within the restaurant. Extra care is taken in making the dishes with delightful flourishes of colour and flavour to animate what is at its base a brown comfort food.

-> Xiringuito Escriba <-
Av. del Litoral, 62, 08005
( (instagram/xiringuitoescriba_barcelona/)
Far enough away from the main tourist drag of Barceloneta to discourage some tourists, Xirnguito Escriba is much loved by locals. Xiringuito (Chiringuito in Spanish) refers to a shack (sometimes going up seasonally), typically on a beach. The understanding being it’s an informal space. The seashell mobiles turning in the breeze and the lineup of paellas bubbling away are disarming. Since it’s such a popular choice, reservations are essential.

-> 7 Portes <-
Pg. Isabel II, 14. 08003
( (instagram/7portes/)
One of the oldest restaurants in Barcelona, dating back to 185 years ago when it was a cafe frequented by local politicians. The name refers to its seven doors. Even without its impressive longevity, it has its elegance as a draw. Tucked in from the street under the heavy stone arches. The waiters are professional and bow-tied, hinging at the waist to fill your glass. A perfect place for a special occasion.

Often you won’t see paella advertised at all, just arroces (which means rice in Spanish).  The minimum order is two portions, and what will come will look like a serving for four. Go hungry, or be prepared to take it home with you.

A few (extra) words about Paella: paella originated in Valencia. Rice has been cultivated for 6000 years, and it was the Moors introduced rice and irrigation to the Iberian peninsula. Arroz, the Spanish word for rice, originates from the Arabic phrase arruzz. Because paella was a dish prepared by farmers, it featured things they could find in the fields, typically snails, rabbits and chicken. Valencians enjoy Marinera paella, but paella can include anything, even liver or blood sausage.

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