Visiting Spain without trying paella, is like going to Italy without tasting any pizza or pasta – it would be a culinary shame! So hop along on our journey, where we have handpicked the best paella restaurants in Barcelona.
From Valencia to Barcelona: Paella’s History
Spain’s national dish first came to prominence during the 19th century, where it was originally cooked in fields over wood fires. It was the food of rice farmers and laborers around the region of Valencia – with its humble history lying in the rice fields of Eastern Spain.
Arroz is the Spanish word for rice. This word is derived from Arabic since the rice tradition was introduced by the Moors more than 1200 years ago. The dish paella uses round grains of rice and whatever ingredients local workers could get their hands on.
Paella is actually the name of the pan the rice is cooked in, and not the meal itself. Traditionally, it is eaten straight out of the pan it is cooked in. Each person would use their own wooden spoon to taste and indulge in this local delicacy.
The true paella Valenciana contains saffron-scented Bomba rice, a traditional trilogy of chicken, rabbit, and snails and then, of course, a layer of toasted rice at the bottom of the pan. This layer, considered a delicacy, is known as socarrat and is essential to the success of your paella dish.
Today, this dish has more than 200 variations and has become a national dish in Spain’s culinary arts.
One of the most enjoyable things I did in Barcelona was take a cooking class. Learning to make paella is an unforgettable hands-on culinary experience! Pre-book your paella cooking class in Barcelona now.
Our Favorite Paella Restaurants in Barcelona
Although this is a Valencian dish, we’ve embarked on an expedition to find the best paella Barcelona has to offer. With many quirky, cute, and hidden spots scattered throughout Barcelona, there will always be a spot to try the Spaniard’s favorite dish – the traditional way.
In the charming district of Gracia, you’ll find this rustic, warm, and intimate restaurant. With a cozy seating space, wooden interior and flowers on the table you will immediately feel at home.
Visiting Arrosseria Xativa will be a real authentic experience. Here, you can indulge in paella served in the traditional way – with a wooden spoon. They have quite an extensive wine list of more than 75 wines.
Xativa serves over 25 different paella and rice dishes, including the famous Valencian paella, black rice paella, or their famous “sea and land” paella, which is paella with meat and fish.
On the menu, they list ingredients people might be allergic to- an added bonus! If you have special dietary requirements, Xativa will cater to your needs.
Xativa Gracia | Carrer del Torrent d’En Vidalet, 26 | 1pm – 12am | €30 – €40 p.p. | No reservation needed
If you’re opting for a more classic and elegant dining experience, 7 Portes would be the place to visit. Their plating is immaculate and everything from the seafood to the meat is prepared to perfection. Although this is a popular option amongst tourists, it is well worth a visit.
7 Portes is a known classic in Barcelona and they serve all our favorite paella variations. The standard paella, which traditionally contains rabbit and fish, is one of the restaurants bestsellers.
7 Portes | Passeig d’Isabel II, 14 | 1 pm – 1 am | Main Course €25 and 2-course meal €50 | Reservation recommended
Insider’s Tip: If you’re planning a trip to Barcelona, I highly recommend adding a food tour to your itinerary! I ate my way through El Born, Raval, and Gotico on a Savor Spain tour and loved every minute of it.
Ciudad Condal is one of the most popular options in the touristy part of Barcelona. With stunning wooden interior and old-world charm, you’ll feel like you’re in another world. They serve up a delicious paella with meat and beans. This restaurant is popular among locals and tourists alike, so you might have to wait a while to be seated.
Image by @hadjivasilioua
Please note that you cannot order paella on a Sunday. This restaurant, however, is very well known for its tapas. Why not try that with a delicious drink of sangria? We’re sure that they will have plenty of other traditional food options to try out.
Ciudad Condal | Rambla de Catalunya 18 | 12 pm – 3 pm and 6 pm – 11 pm | €15-20 | Can’t make reservations
Can Sole is, without a doubt, a local favorite. This double-story restaurant opened its doors in 1903. If you’re looking for the best paella in Barceloneta, a visit to this local gem in Barcelona’s beach area won’t disappoint.
Paella’s start at €20 and local favorites include the black rice paella, cooked in squid ink. The lobster paella is another favorite, although it’s a little more expensive. Considering all the good reviews, we would definitely recommend giving it a try.
They originally started cooking for the fishermen of Barceloneta, and more than 100 years later we can still see why they’ve proudly served Spanish food to more than 4 generations of families in Barcelona. Truly legendary.
Can Solé | Carrer de Sant Carles 4 | 1 – 4 pm ; 8 – 11 pm | €20 – €35 | Reservation recommended
Upon visiting Xiringuito Escriba, you’ll get to taste their house specialty – rice dishes. Flavors and aromas from all of Spain are included in the seasonal cooking of this restaurant. It’s not pretentious, it’s very traditional and it is absolutely delicious.
When you’re sitting in Xiringuito Escriba, it will feel as if you’re sitting in the middle of a kitchen. The roof is painted in bright, light blue patterns that recreate the feeling of the ocean nearby. This atmosphere makes the experience so much more authentic.
Be sure to try out favorites like mushroom and asparagus paella (for the vegetarians), or the sea and mountain paella. This option includes chicken, ribs, Norway lobster, mussels, cuttlefish, vegetables, and mushrooms. Hmm… we’re in paella-heaven.
Xiringuito Escriba | Av. del Litoral, 62 | 1 pm – 10:30 pm | €20 – €25 | Reservations recommended
Pez Vela Chiringuito
Pez Vela Chiringuito has a fantastic sea view in a prime location in Barcelona. Here you’ll experience the best of both worlds: food with a view. Their terrace offers fantastic views over the sea and the city of Barcelona, making this seafood restaurant one of our top choices when visiting Barcelona.
When in Barcelona, seafood paella should make it to the top of your list. At Pez Vela, there are a few mouth-watering options available. You can try classic seafood rice with squid, prawn, and clams. If you’re feeling more adventurous, maybe opt for the baby squid and artichoke black rice – now that sounds like a culinary treat.
They also have paella options that don’t contain seafood. So, if you’re not a seafood enthusiast, there will be plenty to choose from.
Pez Vela Chiringuito | Passeig del Mare Nostrum, 19 – 21 | 12:30 pm – 12 am | €20 – €30 | Reservations recommended
This restaurant is a must-visit when you want to eat paella in Barcelona. Make sure that you have a reservation at this popular spot, it can be quite busy at dinner time. Its ocean-blue walls paired with elegant, simple interior choices make this a beautiful spot for dinner.
If you’re on a budget, Can Majó is one of the best options for you. With paella starting at €14, you will struggle to find a better place to beat the price and the taste. Locals love this little restaurant, and we hope you’ll love it too.
Some of our favorite paellas include paella with lobster and shellfish, and their mountain rice with rabbit, chicken, pork ribs, and vegetables. We think this restaurant deserves a spot on the list of Barcelona’s top 10 restaurants.
Can Majó | Carrer de l’Almirall Aixada, 23 | 1 – 4 pm and 8 – 11 pm | €14 – €20 | Reservations recommended
And last, but not least, we have picked the restaurant with the best view over Barcelona. Here, you can sit on the terrace and sip on sangria, while they’re preparing your perfect plate of paella in the kitchen.
People come to Terraza Martinez for the view, but don’t let that fool you. Do we think that this is the best paella restaurant in Barcelona? Well, probably not, but their red prawn paella is to die for. It’s widely recommended by locals and tourists, so maybe you should try it out.
Terraza Martinez | Ctra. de Miramar, 38 | 1 – 11pm | €15 – €25 | Reservations recommended
What to try in Barcelona besides Paella
If you’re the ultimate foodie who needs to eat at a Michelin star restaurant in every country you visit, it’s worth making a reservation at Tickets Restaurant. This will be a once in a lifetime experience, so make sure to stop by when you’re in town.
If you’re tired of traditional Spanish food, skip the queue at Mcdonalds and try some of Spain’s favorite fast food options. Sometimes sightseeing can take up a lot of time and a quick bite to keep you going is always a good idea. We promise these options won’t disappoint!
Now that you have tasted some of the best paellas in Barcelona (and the soul of Spain), you can surely say that you’ve experienced harmony between ingredients from the ocean and the countryside. This beautiful and fragrant rice dish proudly represents Spain and forms the heart of the Spanish gastronomy. Our taste buds are still tingling. Thank you, paella, it’s been a pleasure to meet you.