The best paella in restaurants in Barcelona have come a long way. What was once simple a rice dish made by servants with the leftovers from royal banquets is now Spain’s most famous culinary export.
But don’t pick up that fork just yet! There’s a lot of pricey pre-made paella fleecing tourists daily.
Come along, and let me find you some good paella in Barcelona – whether you’re a first time feaster or somebody looking for the gourmet paella of your life.
The Best Paella Restaurants in Barcelona
This affordable paella restaurant covers all the bases. Take one bite of their made to order mixed paella (a type of ‘surf and turf’) and you’ll know it’s their specialty dish.
There’s also meat, seafood, and vegetarian options.
It’s got the friendliest waiters in the city and is ideal for a bustling local atmosphere. If you want to eat, drink, and be merry as they do in Spain this is my suggestion.
Here’s what a reader had to say:
As you may have gathered, I’ve worked out a deal with Bodega Joan to offer readers an exclusive 25% discount on a paella tasting menu for €25 pp including three classic Spanish tapas plus wine and coffee.
Most good paella tasting menus start at €35 per person and push €50, so if you’re looking for a cheap paella in Barcelona that doesn’t skimp on quality you may want to click the banner below.
The Paella Club
Why not eat the best paella in Barcelona that you made actually yourself under the guidance of a top chef?
The slick decor, fancy aprons, and Masterchef-like work stations for cooking paella may look like a TV competition but I assure you this experience is all about learning how to cook a gourmet version of Spain’s iconic dish – without pretense.
Did I mention it’s 5 courses and bottomless wine with one of the desserts being a frozen gin and tonic?
For more info on the workshop that’s got a 5 star rating on Tripadvisor check out my Paella Club page.
Some of the best paella in Barcelona with a sea view to match.
It’s right on one of Barcelona’s best beaches so you won’t have to walk far after a day in the sun. Seafood lovers will marvel in its delicious paella negra (paella with squid ink) but careful! Be careful with the generous portions to make sure you have room for dessert.
Reservations are a must or you’ll be waiting at least 30 minutes.
Ideal for a post beach meal or romantic night out.
This charming hole in the wall, family style restaurant has been serving authentic paella in Barcelona since 1972.
I love the location of Envalira in the emblematic Plaça del Sol, because it gives you the chance to really soak up the Catalan community vibes of the chain-free Gracia neighbourhood.
In fact, if you’re looking for traditional Catalan dishes then the arrós a la Milanesa, a type of paella-risotto hybrid with chicken broth, parmesan cheese, and saffron this is a delicious rice dish.
When I was new to Barcelona I had friends visiting so in a panic I polled my English students on the best paella restaurant in Barcelona. One of them, a cop from Valencia (the home of paella) swore on this place.
The lobster paella and fresh seafood tapas really delivered here. I imagine this is due to its seaside location and longtime connections with the fishermen in this area. Go here for the fish paellas.
Tasting menus at Cheriff start from €45 per person which puts it mid range price-wise.
Here it’s all about old world charm. They’ve been making paella here so long, we can’t help crown them the best authentic paella in Barcelona, even if rejecting new age techniques means they aren’t the tastiest.
Picasso was a regular at this classic Barcelona paella restaurant opened in 1836. Named after the spacious restaurant’s seven entrance doors, it’s not only home to some of the best paella in Barcelona but the piano players create a Casablanca-like vibe to add an impeccable touch of class to the meal.
Ideal for a couple’s night out or business trips on the company card, it’s a tad pricey.
Hotel Restaurant La Ciudadela
This new entry on the list made it not just for the quality of the paella, but for the different rice specialties available for people who don’t like fresh fish (wait, who doesn’t?).
The duck paella really hits it out of the park here. You’ll also love the appetizers like their melt in your mouth bellota ham. There’s also some amazing shrimp carpaccio if you just have to have seafood.
The two medium-sized dining rooms have a family atmosphere ideal for groups.
The Catalan wine list is also one of the best in the city if you want to sample local vineyards.
This Barcelona paella restaurant is the only one that gives you a dreamy panoramic view of the city, Tibidabo Mountain, and the Mediterranean sea.
Perched on top of Montjuic, which is a tourist attraction in its own right and home to the famous Poble Espanyol, this luxurious ‘mountain bar’ would make the ultimate honeymoon or special occasion paella.
Their authentic paella menu features dishes with produce from Boqueria Market – the standout here is the traditional Valencian paella made with rabbit and chicken.
Tasting menus start at €55 per person.
Finally, a Barcelona paella restaurant outside the tourist nonsense.
This family-run gem is something to behold – they recommend the house special paella de mar y montaña (surf and turf paella). It’s a menu apt for celiacs – all the fried food is battered in gluten-free chickpea flour.
The entire menu is allergen sensitive so whether you’re celiac, lactose intolerant, or vegetarian you know you’re playing it safe.
The best paella in Barcelona for a night out in the picturesque Gracia district or a low-key family dinner.
If you’re touring around hard in the busy Gothic Quarter and need to know where to eat paella in Barcelona that is not tourist trap this is it.
If a small menu, no nonsense place that carts out modernized versions of tapas in a classic setting sounds good, this is the Barcelona paella restaurant for you.
If we had one complaint it’s that it’s only a paella of the day selected by the chef, so you won’t have much choice – but expect some unique paella dishes like foie gras with pork ribs and tart apple.
If you’re looking for a casual vibe that’s not afraid to unload some gourmet, signature tapas in addition to their rice dishes you’re in for a treat – this is arguably the best paella in Eixample, which says a lot.
Restautant CruiX is just a couple minutes away from Plaça Espanya and the Magic Fountain, making it a great post-event paella.
What stands out here are the €35 set menus that include their arròs de gambes a l’allet, a paella with garlic prawns.
The chef here has trained at some of the best restaurants in Barcelona, including Michelin-starred ABAC.
Their slogan is ‘Rice and Sea’ – enough said.
This so-called urban beach restaurant in tourist central at Barceloneta beach is overseen by double Michelin starred chef Xavier Pellicer. It naturally serves some of the best paella in Barcelona – just make sure you get a seat in the upstairs dining room because the view from there is incredible.
Expect to pay 30-35 euros, which is a great price-quality ratio for the neighbourhood. The organic vegetable paella is a great vegetarian option.
Ideal for beach lovers and people watching.
With great prices usually reserved for previously frozen paella, this Barcelona paella restaurant offers ridiculous lunch menu specials that’ll have you full for about a tenner a head. They’re also one of the few places with a full kids menu.
It’s a stone’s throw from the famous Rambla but don’t let the touristy appearance fool you – locals chow down here daily. The traditional paella valenciana (paella with rabbit and chicken) is a favourite.
Ideal for bargain hunters and those ready for a night out in the Gotico.
This place has been recommended to me by more than one local – if you don’t trust them then I can only say that a hundred years of history doesn’t lie! It’s a bit pricey because of the location but the big portions and Master-chef-like presentation are second to none.
A little place occupying a two story house that’s a real throw-back to a time when Barcelona was more than tourism. The owner came by for a chat which was a personal touch not seen in more touristy options.
Ideal for rice dishes with a bit of real Barcelona and a modern touch.
I said at the top that most places serve paella for a minimum of two people: so I’m putting Arume because it’s the best place to eat paella for one in Barcelona.
If you’re dining alone or simply with somebody who doesn’t want a rice dish this is a great shout. You’ll have a choice between Galician seafood paella or duck paella with padron peppers.
It’s also one of Barcelona’s best tapas restaurants in its own right. Here you’ll find a modern execution of classic Galician dishes with eye-catching presentation.
This isn’t just about the best paella in Barcelona – so grab the crunchy octopus and a blackberry mojito.
7 Tangy Tips for Eating Paella in Barcelona
- Spaniards eat dinner at around 10:00 pm so 8:30 is a great time to get in without resos.
- Prices on menus are usually per person (minimum two people).
- Paella is traditionally eaten on Thursday so restaurants may be more crowded then.
- The soccarat (‘singed stuff’) toasted rice at the bottom of the pan has the most flavour.
- Avoid picture menus! Many Barcelona paella restaurants like this serve it previously frozen.
- You can learn how to cook it yourself at a unique paella workshop with bottomless wine!
Types of Paella to Eat in Barcelona
Keep in mind that most authentic Barcelona paella restaurants will have their paella listed in both Spanish (paella) and Catalan (arròs) – if you’re in a really local place it may just be Catalan.
Since most English paella menus in Barcelona use the Spanish version I’ll be using that as well.
- Paella de marisco: aka paella marinera, this traditional Spanish paella includes roasted red peppers, peas, clams, mussels, and prawns cooked in a seafood broth.
- Paella valenciana: the original paella recipe from the city of Valencia includes chicken, rabbit, and green beans and is cooked in chicken broth with saffron and paprika.
- Paella del señorito: this Barcelona seafood paella is cooked with squid, langostines, and clams.
- Paella mixta: the ultimate indulgence! A type of surf and turf paella that includes chicken breast, prawns, pork ribs, and clams.
- Arroz negro: This is almost identical to the paella de marisco, only this one gets cooked with squid ink turning it an imposing black colour. The dish is also traditionally served with alioli (a type of garlic mayonnaise).
- Fideuà: this traditional Catalan dish utilizes a very short noodle similar to spaghetti (but broken into smaller, 5 cm pieces) that’s cooked the same way as paella. It can be made in any of the traditional paella styles.
Best Paella in Barcelona Spain FAQ
Is paella popular in Barcelona?
Contrary to popular belief, paella is not a dish that Spaniards consume constantly. That said, for family Sunday lunches or special occasions paella is popular in Barcelona.
How much does paella cost in Barcelona?
The cheapest paella in Barcelona will cost around €25 per person. You can find cheaper paellas for around €10-€15 per person but these are tourist traps that are simply heating up frozen portions.
What’s the best paella in the Barcelona Gothic Quarter?
There are an abundance of tourist trap paella restaurants in Barcelona and most of them are in the Gothic Quarter. Avoid it, but if you have to then Los Pergaminos is one place you’re guaranteed a quality homemade paella.
What is the best paella de Marisco in Barcelona?
The best paella de marisco in Barcelona is at Xiringuito Escriba.
What’s the best paella mixta in Barcelona?
The best paella mixta in Barcelona can be found at Bodega Joan.
Where can I eat the best vegetarian paella in Barcelona?
Due to its market fresh vegetables and modern culinary approach, I would say the best vegetarian paella in Barcelona can be found at Barraca.
What’s the best cheap paella in Barcelona?
If you’re looking for just single rice dishes then Los Pergaminos offers the best value paella in Barcelona. That said, if you want an affordable paella tasting menu for the full experience Bodega Joan is the place to be.
Where do locals eat paella in Barcelona?
Locals usually avoid the tourist areas of the Old City and go to paella restaurants in Gracia, Eixample, and Barceloneta. The top paella restaurants in these areas would be Xiringuito Escriba, Bodega Joan, and Restaurant Envalira.
Still Looking for a Paella Restaurant Barcelona?
You now know where to get the best paella in Barcelona but maybe something isn’t quite clear? If you need help on these rice dishes or any of the best things to do in Barcelona then get at me in the comments below with any questions.
And don’t be afraid to join the paella discussion by first giving me a like on Facebook and then joining my group I’m Off to Barcelona – here you can ask any questions, air out grievances, and chat with thousands of Barcelona travelers.