6 of the Best Paella Restaurants in Barcelona
by Martin Mclean
Here is our list of Barcelona's 6 Best Paella Restaurants. With a clear focus in mind we took to Twitter and Google+ to seek advice from various locals and experts. They were kind enough to give us their personal recommendations on very best places to savor this classic staple of Spanish cuisine.
Barraca (Passeig Marítim Barceloneta, 1, 08003 Barcelona
We open this list with a recommendation from 'A Taste of Spain' via Twitter @atasteofspain, who also suggested our first Madrid restaurant. Their top pick for Barcelona is a bright and airy establishment situated right in the middle of Barceloneta Beach Promenade. Not only does Barraca boast this coveted seafront view complete with golden sands, but it serves up some incredible Spanish cuisine. They specialise in Mediterranean tapas and rice dishes, which bodes well for their paella credentials. Main course prices float around the 18 Euro mark, and include such treats as Organic Vegetable Paella Rice or the tantalising Bomba Rice Paella with Squid, Fresh Fish, Clams, Mussels and Parsley.
So if the vistas and flavours of the Mediterranean are what you crave, take a break from your explorations and consider heading to La Barceloneta, where you can be assured of stunning views and great seafood at Barraca's.
La Barca del Salamanca (Moll del Gregal, 17, 08005 Barcelona)
Our second recommendation is a slight scene change from Barraca, and was suggested by 'JessicaGlobal' via Twitter @JessiPTY. Barca del Salamanca is a seafood restaurant first and foremost, with clientèle ranging from local regulars to tourists from all around the world. It is located right next to La Barceloneta along the northern edge of Port Olímpic, a lively marina where the twin peaks of Torre Mapfre and the Hotel Arts grace the coastal skyline. Whether you choose to enjoy your meal on the open air terrace or indoors, it'll quickly become apparent why this eatery has become such as reputed culinary institution. The venue's extensive wood-paneled interior and thematic decorations harken back to the golden Age of Sail, and the scents of the countless dishes only add to the atmosphere.
Prices range from 50 Euros to a typically touristy 28 Euros. What you are guaranteed, however, is generous portions and a diverse range of choice. Expect steaming bowls of paella whose taste you can't shake a stick at.
Before moving onto our next restaurant here are a few things diners had to say about La Barca del Salamanca:
"Yesterday I ate the richest paella of the whole city besides, the waiters are friendly and chatty. No doubt, I'll come back".
"Came across this restaurant while taking a little stroll around the marina. Will be going back. So many locals (all ages) eating there which always indicates that it must be good! We have just eaten salt baked sea bream, well worth the 30 minute preparation and cooking time, the fish smelt fantastic as it was served and tasted amazing".
Segons Merket (Carrer Balboa 16)
Our third recommendation has us turning back to Barceloneta. Segons Merket is the first of three restaurants pointed out to us by the experts at Renoir Guides via Twitter @RenoirGuides. It's a little harder for the average tourist to find, being tucked away down the narrow and leafy Carrer Balboa, but in most cases this only adds to the allure. From outside Segons Merket bares all the hallmarks of an underrated gem: small, secluded terrace; bold and inviting signage, and plenty of local patrons. In fact the whole exterior bares an uncanny resemblance to a seaside fish and chip shop. Inside, however, you'll find a grand selection of seafood and tapas dishes, from Black Rice with Shrimp and Clams to richly flavored Oxtail and Gnocchi Pasta.
From what we've gathered Segons Merket has a great reputation for character, service and quality, and is often frequented by private tour guides looking to offer their customers one of the finest culinary experiences in Barcelona.
Restaurante Kaiku (Plaza del Mar, 1, 08003 Barcelona)
Renoir Guides' second suggestion prides itself on using only the best, locally sourced ingredients. Each day Kaiku has its fish delivered from the Barceloneta Fish Market just 200 meters away, and with it they cook up some unique spins on various Spanish classics. Try their popular Smoked Bomba Rice Paella with skillfully arranged mussels and shrimps, or a generous portion of scallops with lemon sauce.
There's no precise menu available online due to the fact that Kaiku source everything on a daily basis, but this in no way detracts from the variety. On top of ordering fresh fish from the nearby market they even have a private garden in which they grow zucchini flowers, tomatoes, fennels and more. Put simply, you'll be hard pressed to find an eatery whose dishes are of greater freshness and served in a more creative fashion.
El Xiringuito Escribá (Avinguda Litoral 42)
Our second recommendation that's not in La Barceloneta, and our third by Renoir Guides, is a place that explicitly bills itself as 'the' best place for paella in Barcelona. I guess the customer will have to be the judge of that, but we'll give them the benefit of the doubt in this article. What Xiringuito Escribá do undoubtedly have is a wonderfully spacious seaside location, literally, there's nothing in the immediate vicinity bar sand, trees and some parked vehicles. Their covered terrace touches the beach and looks enchanting at night with its array of mood enhancing lights. Both inside and out the smells and activities of the kitchens are on full display to everyone, an arrangement which enhances the vibrant, open-plan feel of the establishment.
The appetisers range from a simple batch of Catalan Flatbread and Tomato to Scrambled Eggs with Baby Squid and Iberian Ham Chips. If you'd like you can also order an individual salad (perfect for a light lunch) or a plate of marinated shellfish. The main rice dishes are where Xiringuito Escribá really shine. Try a Mushroom and Asparagus Paella, or a hearty Rice Broth with Lobster.
Restaurante 7 Portes (Passeig Isabel II, 14, 08003 Barcelona)
7 Portes is easily the most famous restaurant on this list, if not 'the' most famous eatery in Barcelona. First opened in 1836 by Catalan businessman Josep Cuyàs it was named for the fact that the café had seven doors through which the public could enter. Close to two centuries later and 7 Portes has assembled a visitor's book that would be envy of some big arts venues. Amongst some of the restaurant's most distinguished happy eaters are: Catalan artist Joan Miró, musician Lou Reed, footballer Pelé, actor Harrison Ford and many more. Also, Picasso used to be a regular.
7 Portes might sound like a 3 Michelin starred restaurant, but its clientèle is as vast and varied as its menu. Try an interesting Noodle Paella flavoured with alliolli sauce; Paella Manolete, packed with a succulent selection of meats, or if you just can't wait to dig in, order a 'Rich Man's' Paella, which comes de-shelled/de-boned. Though the focus of this article has been on paella, we can't help but give a final mention to 7 Portes' other mouthwatering specialties: "Seven Doors" Cannelloni, Monkish in a Garlic Sauce with Clams, and Catalan Sausage with White Beans. 7 Portes was recommended by ApartmentBarcelona.com via Google+.
Since most of the restaurants on this list are based in and around La Barceloneta we thought you'd like to know that the Barcelona Open-Top Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour https://www.cityxplora.com/products/barcelona-city-tour has a couple of stops throughout this area. Stop 6 is about a minute's walk away from La Barca del Salamanca, stop 7 is right next to Xiringuito Escribá, and stop 5 is within easy walking distance of all but 7 Portes and Segons Merket. These last two are much closer to stop 4.