Where are the best paellas in Barcelona?

Escape the tourist traps. Find out what paella is and where to find the real deal

Want to find out the best paellas in Barcelona? Here’s our local’s list. Include a paella lunch for a perfect day in Barcelona.

Japan is famous for sushi. Pizza comes from Italy. Mexico has tacos. Everybody relate moussaka with Greece. What about Spain then? Without a doubt the most emblematic dish in Spain is paella. A rice-based recipe that converts all Spanish grandmothers to adored rock stars on Sunday family lunches. So, unless you have Spanish grandma, here are some firsthand tips to taste the best paellas in Barcelona.

What is paella and what are the main types of paella?

But what exactly is paella? Basically, Paella is a rice-based dish cooked in a wide and low pan – from the Latin word patella, literally pan. Story has it that the origin of paella is the region of Valencia, known countrywide for its rice crops.

Depending on the region and the ingredients in it, rice-based dishes can go by a huge range of names here in Spain. It’s very common to read on the menus “Paellas and Rices”, to distinct the paella from Valencia and the rest of the delicious rices in Spain.

What are the types of paella then? You can use pretty much anything you like, so there is no limit to the number of types. However, some types are very popular and you can find them all around Spain. The king is the Paella Valenciana and it’s made with rabbit, chicken and sometimes pork. The Paella Mixta, which translates as Mixed Paella, is a combination of the Valenciana and seafood. Paella Marinera contains only seafood. Last but not least, Arroz Negro – Black Rice – is cooked with squid ink. There are vegetarian options too, like the Paella de Verduras.

Besides Paella, another delicious variation of this rice-based dish is Arroz Caldoso, which is a soupy, more watery paella. A local specialty here in Catalonia is Fideua, a vermicelli paella, served with Alioli – a garlic mayo sauce.

Whatever type you prefer, make sure you try this Spanish classic during your vacations in Barcelona for an unforgettable Mediterranean culinary journey. 


You will taste on of the best paellas in Barcelona in La Mar Salada. A seafood and paella restaurant in Barceloneta neighborhood. The philosophy of the restaurant is to always offer fresh and seasonal food.  Albert, one of family members who runs the restaurant, buys the fish at the Fish Auction a many times per week. With practice, he ended up understanding the species, flavors, qualities, origins and textures. It’s an experience that applies in the menu of La Mar Salada. With 3 spaces to choose – the terrace, interior and dining room – this seafood restaurant is suitable for all sorts of groups. Don’t miss a paella on the terrace on a sunny day!



The Xátiva restaurants offer a well-represented Mediterranean menu with quality starters, salads, meat, fish and seafood dishes. There’s also an excellent section of international rice dishes, although most of the dishes on the menu are genuine, traditionally made Valencian rice and paella dishes, using quality ingredients such as “bomba” rice from the Ebro Delta in southern Catalonia.



Joan Escribá founded this restaurant in 1992. Here you will find a cozy place to enjoy a large number of seafood dishes in a modern and intimate atmosphere where rice is the star ingredient. There is a wide selection of tapas, entrées and plates of seafood to savor while your paella is cooking. Just a few meters from the shore, it’s one of the best seafood restaurants along the beach.



Another essential seafood restaurant a few steps away from the seafront. Barraca restaurant is a landmark in Barceloneta, ran by the Michelin star chef Xavier Pellicer. Undoubtedly one of the best paellas in Barcelona. The key ingredients are indisputably the fresh fish from the market and the organic, locally sourced products. Barraca’s terrace, at the heart of the seafront promenade, is the perfect place to enjoy a paella in Barcelona. 



Andrés Iborra and Carmen Vicente opened “El Elche” in 1959, the name was chosen in honor of the couple’s hometown in Valencia region. This bar-restaurant in Barcelona’s Poble Sec district, was soon attracting numerous artists and show business celebrities. The restaurant Elche is the result of more than fifty years of hard work, with paella becoming its all-time classic. More than an institution, it is a veritable temple for paella lovers, in the heart of Barcelona’s former theatreland of Paral·lel.



One of oldest establishments in Barcelona. In the early nineteenth century a powerful Catalan businessman, Josep Xifré, commissioned the construction of a building in Passeig d’Isabel II, between the Old City of Barcelona and Barceloneta quarter. Xifré wanted to open a prestigious café bar and in 1836 “Café de les 7 Portes” opened its seven doors. In 1929 it was converted into a restaurant and soon it became one of the most popular establishments in the city, for its paellas and the variety of traditional Catalan dishes. Even today, it continues to be a hub for food lovers from all over the world.


1881 by SAGARDI

1881 by SAGARDI is the rooftop restaurant over the History Museum of Catalonia, one of the best paellas in Barcelona with amazing views over the old port and the Old City of Barcelona. In 1881, construction of the former General Trade Warehouses began following the architectural style instituted by the British in ports all over the world. Today, the refurbished building became a beautiful museum that narrates the history of the Catalan region and an entrepreneur tech center.


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