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Paella Do’s and Don’ts

What is it?

Paella is a rice dish that originated in Valencia, but many people actually view it as Spain’s national dish.

There are various types of paella, including vegetable, seafood, and mixed.

  • The original Valencian paella consists of white rice, green beans, meat (chicken, rabbit, or sometimes duck), garrofó (a variety of lima beans), and various seasonings such as saffron or rosemary.
  • Vegetable paella omits the meat and replaces it with other vegetables such as peppers or artichokes.
  • Seafood paella replaces meat with seafood and takes out the beans and green vegetables. (My personal favorite!)
  • Mixed paella is a “freestyle combination” of meat from land animals, seafood, vegetables, and sometimes beans.


Finding a good paella can actually be much more difficult than one would imagine. Here are some guidelines that may make the process easier:

  • Paella is preferably eaten for lunch, not dinner.
  • Avoid ordering paella anywhere close to Las Ramblas or the Sagrada Familia. Restaurants around there tend to serve frozen paella (ew!) You want to make sure you’re consuming fresh, high quality ingredients.
  • Don’t go to a place where a man outside telling you they have paella or to come try their paella. It’s probably frozen as well.
  • Don’t ever go to a place where they have a photo of paella displayed outside the restaurant. Again, it’s probably frozen.
  • And most importantly, look for a restaurant that advises that the paella will take a minimum of 20 minutes to prepare and must be for a minimum of 2 people – you must be prepared to wait for a good paella!

Best Paella Restaurants in Barcelona

I’ve had the chance to eat at a few absolutely incredible restaurants…

7 Portes

Location: Pg. Isabell II, 14Website

This restaurant opened in 1836 and was frequently visited by Picasso himself. They offer a mix of traditional specialties, innovative creations as well as seasonal dishes.

It’s really popular with tourists and a little bit on the pricier side, but it is definitely worth the visit!


Can Solé

Location: Calle de Sant Carles 4Website

With big portions and beautiful dish presentation, it’s no wonder that this is the place many locals will recommend. This restaurant was founded in 1903 as a port stop for fisherman and this made the establishment what it is today.


The owner actually came out and talked to us so it gave the restaurant a very personal feel!

But, there are still other paella restaurants I’ve been dying to try…

Marta Amb tu Cuinem

Location: Plaza de TetuanWebsite

This place was recommended by a friend of my parents. What sets this place apart is you actually get to make the paella yourself! The owner, Marta, takes you through the preparation process step by step and you get to bring your own bottle of wine as well!


Bodega Joan

Location: Carrer del Rosselló 164Website

This is a very historic paella restaurant in Barcelona. It’s one of the cities top restaurants and their mixed paella is supposed to be out of this world!


So there you have my tips on eating a great paella. Do let me know if you have any suggestions or recommendations!




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