While paella traces it’s origins to Valencia, the dish can be found all around the Spanish Mediterranean, with each region having a unique variation.
Paella means pan in the old Valencian language and the word is likely derived from the Latin word for pan; patella. The first paellas were made by farmers in Valencia using rice and available local ingredients such as rabbit to cook lunch in a pan over a wood fire.
Restaurant 7 Portes
The emblematic 7 Portes Restaurant in El Born has a rich history reaching back to the 19th century. Josep Xifré i Casas (1777-1856) was an ‘Indiano’, a weathly Catalan businessman who made his fortune in Cuba. He built the Porxos d’en Xifré building taking a hand in the design himself, inspired by the Rue Rivoli of Paris. Making his home and office in the new building, he also chose to include a luxurious cafe on the site. The cafe opened in 1836 and had seven doors through which the public could enter.
In 1929, 7 Portes was turned into a restaurant. Paco Parellada, owner of the famous Fonda Europa in Granollers, took over the restaurant in the early 1940’s. At that time 7 Portes began serving the famous Paella Parellada, which has since become the specialty of the house. A long time favorite of politicians, journalists, writers and artists, famous 7 Portes patrons have included Alexander Flemming, Orson Welles and Pablo Picasso.
Restaurant Elche is located off the beaten tourist track, in the neighborhood of Poble Sec. Andrés Iborra and Carmen Vicente opened “El Elche” in 1959, the restaurant named after the couple’s hometown in the province of Alicante. The bar and restaurant soon attracted many artists and celebrities in show business along with the patrons of the nearby theatres on the Avinguda del Paral·lel. Later, their sons Eduardo and Andrés took over the restaurant, maintaining a rich family tradition.
The family run Can Majó was founded in 1968, a time when Barceloneta was still a fishing village. Specialties of the house include caldero de arroz con bogavante (cauldron of lobster with rice) and appetizers such as chipirones a la Andaluza (Andalusian style baby squid).
Opened in 1903, Can Solé is situated in a two-floor house in the heart of Barceloneta. The restaurant offers classic paella dishes and accomodates groups, families and the occasional celebrity.
Opening Hours: 13:30 to 20:30 and 16:00 to 23:00 | Closed Sunday and Monday night. Address: Carrer Sant Carles, 4 08003 Barcelona | View Map
Phone: +34 93 221 50 12
Restaurant Barceloneta, established in 1966, offers Catalan-Mediterranean cuisine with views over Port Vell. Sea snails are a popular appetizer along with the classic paella dishes on offer.
Opening Hours: 13.00 to 00.00
Address: Carrer de l’Escar, 22 Moll dels Pescadors – (Port Vell) 08039 Barcelona | View Map
Phone: +34 93 221 21 11
Roig Robí means ruby red in Catalan; a reference to the color of certain wines. Based in lower Gràcia just above Diagonal, the restaurant is a short walk from the majestic Hotel Casa Fuster. Known for its excellent rice and cod dishes, Roig Robí’s traditional Catalan cuisine is served in a charming setting including a terrace and ratan chairs.
Arroz con espardenyes (Rice with sea cucumbers)
The Escribà family, also famous for their pastries, founded this classic beachfront restaurant in 1992. Xiringuito Escribà‘s sumptuous Paella de mar y montaña (sea and mountain paella) includes clams, shrimp, chicken, sausage, pork rib, asparagus, and mushrooms.
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 13:00 to 16:30 and from 20:00 to 23:00 hrs. Saturdays and Sundays from 13:00 to 17:00 and 20:00 to 23:00.
Address: Avenida del Litoral, 42, 08005 Barcelona | View Map
Phone: +34 93 301 16 47
Can Ros Restaurant
Barceloneta’s Can Ros Restaurant started out as a wine cellar in 1911 before becoming a restaurant in the 1950’s. It is still run by the 5th generation descendants of the founders Ramon Cid and Carme Blanch.
Opening Hours: 13:00 to 16:00 and from 20:00 to 23:00. Closed on Mondays except holidays.
Address: Carrer Almirall Aixada, núm. 7 08003 Barcelona | View Map
Phone: +34 93 221 45
Martinez is perched on Montjuic, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Here you can enjoy sweeping views of the sea along with some of the best rice dishes in town. Martinez prides itself on its Socarrat rice, the caramelized crust that sticks to the bottom of the paella pan.
Opening Hours: 13:00 to 18:00 and from 20:00 to 24:00.
Address: Ctra. de Miramar, 38, 08038 Barcelona, Spain | View Map
Phone: +34 931 06 60 52
Tucked away in the heart of Barceloneta, Restaurante Cheriff has a neighborhood feel while serving paellas of legendary repute. The restaurant is named after its founder and the family run business has been passed along to Cheriff’s daughter and son-in-law.
The ingredients are typically rice (short- or medium-grain), sofrito (a base of green or red peppers, onions, garlic, olive oil, and tomatoes), broth (using chicken or fish stock), herbs and spices (saffron, paprika, and rosemary), seafood, meat or vegetables.
Yes, paellas are sometimes made with chicken. Vegetable only paellas are also common. The original Paella Valenciana used chicken, rabbit and snails with green and white beans.
Paella comes from Valencia and the rice-growing land on Spain’s Mediterranean coast. Rice was first brought to Spain by the Moors in the 10th century. Paella was originally eaten by farmers and laborers. It was cooked outside over a wood fire using local ingredients that they had available.