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One of the dishes that most people are eager to learn about when we take them on a day tour in Barcelona,  is Paella. Paella is often considered Spain’s national dish, but you may be surprised to learn that it is traditionally a regional Valencian dish that has been adopted by restaurants in Barcelona, Catalunya, throughout the rest of Spain and even further afield.


The origins of Paella (as we know it today) started in mid 19th Century Valencia, and “real” Valencian Paella (paella Valenciana) consists of white rice, green vegetables, meat (rabbit, chicken, duck, snails), beans and seasoning. In the more coastal regions of Valencia meat was often replaced with fish and shellfish, and the seafood paella (paella de marisco) also has its origins there. It was traditionally cooked in the open air at family gatherings in huge pans, which are called “paellas” in Valencian (where the word comes from) or “paellera” in the rest of Spain and South America.

The “mixed” version of paella (paella mixta), that contains both meat and fish, was created outside of the paella homeland and is considered something akin to an abomination by Valencians. The paella mixta combines the traditional “valenciana” & “marisco” recipes for the dish.


If you really fancy trying some paella whilst in Barcelona, here are two very important rules:

1) It is absolutely forbidden to eat on Las Ramblas. If you really want to spend some time watching life going by in this street, go with a Sangria and some olives, that’s it! Restaurants there are expensive and tend to serve frozen food only – and when eating paella, you deserve fresh, high quality ingredients!

2) If pictures of the paella are displayed on the outside of the restaurant, run. Same reason: it will probably be frozen too!

Then Where?

There are hundreds of restaurants that will try to sell you “authentic paella” – don’t be taken in, believe me! You will leave without truly having experienced the delicious dish that is paella. After years of experimenting, we came up with a list of the best places to eat paella in Barcelona:

Rias de Galicia
Carrer de Lleida, 7, Poble Sec

7 Portes 
Pg. Isabel II, 14, Barceloneta

Carretera de Miramar, 38, Montjuic

Can Majó
Almirall Aixada, 23, Barceloneta

Tried a good paella in Barcelona? Went to a restaurant that is not on the list and liked it? Share your experience below!

If you are coming to Barcelona anytime soon and would like to live a once in a lifetime experience, don’t miss the opportunity to learn how to cook your very own paella on our Hands On Paella Cooking Class and Local Market Tour.


If you are interested in trying the other amazing foods on offer here in Barcelona, check out our Tasting Barcelona Food and Wine Tours for nothing but authentic small group tours to experience Spanish food and wine.

2 replies
  1. Tabari Andrade
    Tabari Andrade says:

    Thank you so much for this! My girlfriend demanded that we buy “the €10 deal”, which had paella and tapas. I kept telling her that we should’ve asked locals where a real paella restaurant was, but she didn’t want to hear it. Tomorrow, we’ll hit up one of the spots on your list.


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