Ash
Written by Ash

10 Restaurants You’ll Find the Best Damn Paella in Barcelona

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A simple rice dish said to have been made by servants with the leftovers from royal banquets in Moorish Spain, paella is easily Spain’s most famous culinary export and tourists devour it by the pan.

But don’t pick up the fork just yet!

There’s a lot of pricey pre-made paella fleecing tourists daily.

Allow me to point you in the right direction – here are some tips for the best paella in Barcelona.

Also! If you’re visiting and don’t know left from right in the city please consult my Barcelona guide for all sorts of cool hacks, attraction discounts, and tips on where to stay.

7 Tangy Tips for Eating Paella in Barcelona

  • Spaniards eat dinner at around 10 so you probably won’t need a reservation around 8/830.
  • 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’) or toasted rice at the bottom of the pan contains the most flavour.
  • Avoid picture menus! Many Barcelona paella restaurants like this serve it previously frozen.
  • Bomba rice can be swapped for fideua noodle, one of Catalonia’s classic dishes.
  • Learn how to cook it yourself at a unique culinary workshop with bottomless wine!

The Best Paella Restaurants in Barcelona

Bodega Joan

Area: Eixample | Carrer Rosselló 164 | Metro: Diagonal (green line, blue line)

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:

UPDATE: I’ve worked out a deal with Bodega Joan to offer readers an exclusive 25% discount on a paella tasting menu including three classic Spanish tapas plus wine and coffee.

Click the banner below for more info:

a pan of seafood paella at bodega joan restaurant in barcelona spain a pan of seafood paella at bodega joan restaurant in barcelona spain
Get a paella tasting menu at the legendary Bodega Joan!

The Paella Club

Area: Raval |  Carrer del Dr. Dou 5 | Metro: Liceu (green line) | Booking

Why not eat top quality paella in Barcelona that you made yourself under the guidance of a top chef?

The slick decor, fancy aprons, and Masterchef-like work stations may make this look 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.

Xiringuito Escribà

Area: Barceloneta | Avenida del Litoral 42 | Metro: Llacuna (yellow line) | Website

Some of the best paella in Barcelona with a sea view to match.

It’s right on the beach so you won’t have to walk far after a day in the sun. Seafood lovers will marvel in its famous 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.

7 Portes

Area: Barceloneta | Passeig Isabel II 14 | Metro: Barceloneta (yellow line) | Website

Here it’s all about old world charm.

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

Area: Eixample | Passeig Lluis Companys 2 | Metro: Arc de Triomf (red line) | Website

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 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.

L’Arrossería Xàtiva

Area: Gracia | Torrent d’en Vidalet 26 | Metro: Fontana (green line) | Website

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.

Ideal for a night out in the picturesque Gracia district or a low-key family dinner.

Barraca

Area: Barceloneta | Paseo Maritim 1 | Metro: Barceloneta (yellow line) | Website

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.

tourists listening to tour guide alvaro garza in the gothic quarter barcelona spain tourists listening to tour guide alvaro garza in the gothic quarter barcelona spain
Discover the secrets of the old city with Alvaro!

La Fonda

Area: El Gotico | Carrer dels Escudellers 10 | Metro: Liceu (green line) | Website

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.

Can Solé

Area: Barceloneta | Calle Sant Carles 4 | Metro: Barceloneta (yellow line) | Website

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 a bit of real Barcelona with a modern touch.

RESTAURANTE ARUME

€€€ Area: El Raval | Carrer d’En Botella 13 | Metro: Universitat (L1/L2) | Website

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 rice this is a great shout. You’ll have a choice between Galician seafood paella or duck paella with padron peppers.

It’s also a fantastic tapas restaurant in its own right. Here you’ll find a modern execution of classic Galician dishes with eye-catching presentation.

Do yourself a favour and grab the crunchy octopus and a blackberry mojito.

Please Bother Me in the Comments

You now know where to get the best paella in Barcelona but maybe something isn’t quite clear? If you need help on paella 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.

Anything goes!

And don’t forget to let me know… how was your Barcelona paella experience?

60 comments
  • December 2, 2018 at 1:44 pm
    Ritzel Tuazon Boer
    Hi! I just discovered your page and what a find. We are heading to Barcelona for the Marathon and my question to you is: What are your top 5 restaurants that you feel represents Barcelona on a plate? We do not have any diet restrictions.
    • December 2, 2018 at 3:14 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Ritzel, No dietary restrictions! That's a first and certainly welcome because I can just fire away ;) For me off the top of my head I would go with Cerveceria Catalana because it does traditional Spanish with a local flare. I would also put La Flauta in that category. The restaurants in Barceloneta (the old fishing village) also have a certain local charm. La Mar Salada and La Bombeta are right up there. Finally I could not leave out La Boqueria Market and its many food stalls. The restaurants there are also classic, often dating back generations. One that jumps out is El Quim de la Boqueria. My wild card would also be one mentioned in this article: 7 Portes. This is a great way to experience the way the city was before people like you and I showed up :) Ash
  • July 24, 2018 at 2:19 pm
    Sarah
    Hey Ash, I am coming to Barcelona in September with a group of 18 friends and family. We are looking for some where to eat for the night of my birthday that is fun, has a good atmosphere and great food. Any suggestions would be great :) Thanks.
    • July 24, 2018 at 3:20 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Sarah, A lot of my recommended restaurants won't be able to host a big group like this, but in my lists two in particular with large seating areas would be Bodega Joan and Xiringuito Escriba. Both have a very traditional vibe, friendly waiters, and all around great food. The paella tasting menu offered via my blog in the banner above for Bodega Joan could be a great choice (not to mention super easy to book), but also the paella at Xiringuito Escriba is amazing. Here's a little video of Bodega Joan that may convince you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BjqhiFuLL8 Hope this gets you off on the right foot! Ash
  • December 4, 2017 at 4:54 am
    Ellen Piekalkiewicz
    We will be in Barcelona on Christmas Day and looking for a place for lunch but we are on a limited budget. Any suggestions for non touristy places?
    • December 4, 2017 at 7:57 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Ellen, Unfortunately as we're into December now you'll find a lot of the value places are already booked up for Christmas Lunch. That said, it certainly can't hurt to call and see if they can squeeze you in. On this list for value I would go with La Fonda for their tasty paella and cross-section of Spanish classics. Plus it's right central so it'll save time and transport money. For more Spanish/tapas options you may want to look into La Bombeta or Jai-Ca, both in the Barceloneta district. These are places filled with locals, but yes... like anything good in the city there will be tourists. As a wild card I would throw in my favourite place Sports Bar. The name sounds horrible but it's really authentic Italian food at reasonable prices. Again, anything central with a good quality-price ratio is going to be touristy so I can't promise anything... but at La Bombeta they have a sign saying 'we don't speak English' so they're in the right spirit ;) Ash
  • September 1, 2017 at 2:13 am
    Laura
    Hi Ash, I'm really enjoying reading your blog and your humorous writing style! I'll be visiting Barcelona in November, do have recommendations for good places to go to for crema catalana? Granja Viader comes up a lot, however I'd love to try other places too. Recommendations for other desserts are very welcome too. Thank you!
    • September 1, 2017 at 9:24 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Laura, First of all thanks for the compliments on the site, I hope this resource has helped you out! Crema catalana eh? I've got to say you're the first to ask me about this ;) I always think of La Pastisseria Barcelona when I think about anything sweet... they were named the best bakery in the world in 2011. Their specialty are their croissaints (hell, pick one of those up too) but I hear the crema catalana is on par. You may also want to try Granja Dulcinea. They're chocolatiers (hell, you may want to pick up some chocolate too!) but the crema catalana there was voted best in the city by a respected Spanish blog. I'll be honest, no local desserts can even touch crema catalana for quality. But if you're coming in October/November keep an eye out for the traditional panallets - a type of almond paste ball with pine nuts. Also mel i mató is a nice, light dessert made of cottage cheese, honey, and walnuts. Keep an eye out. Personally, and I hate to sell out the culture of my adopted city, the best dessert I've had in Barcelona is the tiramisu at Sports Bar (crap name, amazingly authentic Italian pizzeria) that swaps out the traditional lady fingers for a chocolate biscuit and adds Nutella as well - has anything ever been worsened by adding Nutella? I'll let you answer that ;) Anyway, any more questions I am here! Enjoy your trip :) Ash
  • June 9, 2017 at 2:27 am
    Darlene
    Hi, I'm taking my twin daughters (26 yrs old) to Barcelona in two weeks, I've been researching restaurants to go to. I made a reservation at 7 portes, but am having second thought after seeing other paella restaurants. Would you suggest keeping it, or trying another on your list? I've read it's a bit fancy. Thanks! Darlene
    • June 9, 2017 at 12:41 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Darlene, Thanks for writing :) Yes 7 Portes is a classy place with piano player etc... I would recommend it above all for romantic evenings or older people. It's kind of stuck in a time warp. If you don't think your 26 year olds will be impressed with this kind of scene... I would recommend making a reservation at Xiringuito Escriba' because it's a cool spot by the beach and the paella is superb. It'll also save you a bit of money! Again, you can't go wrong with any on the list but for young people 7 Portes would probably be my least recommended. OK - any more questions I am definitely here :) Have a nice trip, Ash
  • April 29, 2017 at 4:55 pm
    Quinton
    Hi there! I'm traveling by myself and saw that most paella is meant for at least 2 people. Any suggestions on where someone should go if they are traveling solo? Or should I just eat enough for 2? :) I am staying at the Rock Palace based on your suggestion, so hopefully there is something close by!
    • April 29, 2017 at 6:45 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hey Quinton, Ah the dreaded solo travel paella Well, it's not the most common thing around but I've been there before. The only single serving one I've personally sampled that was top notch was the seafood one at Arume. You may be able to get a seat at the bar without reservations but it's advised to book ahead. It's not exactly right around the corner from the hostel but I imagine you'll end up in the Raval area at some point any way. Another idea is find a buddy at the hostel and head for the port. I recently had an amazing one at Xiringuito Escribá ... even alone without starters you should be able to tackle one if you're really hungry. Best of luck! Let me know if you need any more Barcelona help Ash
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