Paella comes from Valencia and is not a native Catalan dish. Here we prefer our rice dishes more soupy, slowly cooked in a rich Catalan fumet fish stock, and full of mouth watering shell fish such as clams, prawns and mussels. We might even add some rich aioli!
Choosing a top 5 was difficult, we had to visit all out favourites again just to be sure!
With no fewer than 28 different rice dishes, Arrosseria Xàtiva is one we go back to time and time again. Set in a former textile factory in the Les Corts district, they even offer up Paellas to eat straight from the pan with a wooden spoon. What’s not to like?
Be sure to sample the delightful ‘passejat’ rice, not a light or diet option, but utterly delicious. It contains chickpeas, chicken, pig’s ears and ‘morcilla’ blood sausage. Nyam nyam.
El Suquet de l’Almirall
The terrace at El Suquet de l’Almirall is one of the most popular places to enjoy eating and drinking outdoors in the city. Their famous Barceloneta paella is perhaps one of the most popular dishes as well/ dishes. Quim Marquès’s touch is noticeable in the cuisine of this restaurant, especially in the handling of Catalan fumet fish stock that enriches his rices and seafood sauces. This is one of the best and most authentic locations in Port Vell and well deserves its place in our top 5.
La Mar Salada
Any discussion of paella in Barcelona cannot avoid mention of La Barceloneta. La Mar Salada is not only famous for its Paellas, it is known as one of the finest seafood restaurants in Barcelona. With a former El Bulli chef, Albert, in the kitchen, it is no wonder that dishes such as their black ‘de senyoret’ rice with razorfish, monkfish and prawns continue to amaze.
Another Barceloneta institution, Can Solé has fed seafood rice to its hungry clientele for over a hundred years. To show their appreciation these diners have added to the framed photos, sketches and paintings that line the sky-blue walls.
Tuck in to incredibly fresh shellfish, pulled out of the water just next door. Try a plate of ‘chipirones’ in onion and garlic, Cantabrian anchovies or red shrimp to start. Next you can enjoy fillets of wild turbot, lobster stews and sticky paellas.
Away from Barceloneta but still close to the sea, as well as Las Ramblas, is Cheriff. We love this restaurant, as well as the relaxed and friendly neighbourhood of Poble Sec where it is located.
The best seafood paella in Barcelona? Maybe, it certainly comes close, but all our team members have their personal favourite. As well as their seafood rices, be sure to try their incredible lobster stew.