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Spanish and Catalan cuisine

Where to find the best paella and rice in Barcelona

Written by Christine

Paella is one of, if not the most, important and widely recognized dishes in Spanish cuisine.  Originating in Valencia but making its way to every region of the country, paella has become the standard Sunday family lunch meal and one of the foods you have to try when visiting Spain.  Barcelona boasts many rice restaurants from accomplished chefs, each with their own take on this gastronomic classic.  You can find paella and other variations of rice dishes, like arroz negro, throughout the city but here is a collection of some of the best in town.

Arrosseria Xàtiva

Photo credit: flaviorcleite via Visual Hunt / CC BY

Photo credit: flaviorcleite via Visual Hunt / CC BY

Even though Arrosseria Xàtiva has only been established in Barcelona for 10 years, it has quickly become known as one of the top rice restaurants in town.  The main location is in Les Corts but you can also visit the other location in the Gràcia neighborhood.  The rice dishes are the stars of the menu but you can also find classic Spanish and Catalan cuisine featuring fish, meat, and fresh vegetables.  The menu has 27 different rice dishes for you to choose from, including variations of paella, fideuá (similar to paella but made with angel hair noodles instead of rice), and arroz a banda (rice cooked in fish stock).  Most of the recipes are cooked in the traditional way from Valencia but some of them have a Catalan twist, such as a paella made with butifarra (traditional Catalan sausage).  Whether you are looking for rice dishes with meat, seafood, vegetables, or a mixture of these things, you are sure to find it on the extensive menu.

7 Portes

Photo credit: mj*laflaca via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: mj*laflaca via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Since 1836, 7 Portes has been serving up some of the best rice and paella in Barcelona.  This restaurant is a more upscale choice but is a superb option to get a taste of traditional Catalan cooking.  The methodology of the restaurant is to keep traditional Catalan cuisine alive and for it to be enjoyed the same way it has been since the restaurant first opened its doors.  Their rice menu is not as lengthy as Xàtiva’s, but their paella has been said by many in Barcelona to be the best that you can find in the city.  In addition to the mouth-watering rice dishes, you can find other Catalan classics like canelones and butifarra amb mongetes.  This restaurant is one Barcelona tradition that you should be sure not to miss!

La Mar Salada


Photo credit: PincasPhoto via VisualHunt / CC BY

Located right on the waterfront on Passeig Joan de Borbó in Barceloneta, La Mar Salada is in a prime location to serve of fresh fish and seafood, which is then highlighted in their rices.  Even though the focus of the menu is on fresh-caught seafood, you can enjoy a delicious paella while enjoying views of Port Vell and the sea.  The rice dishes include 5 varieties of paella to be shared between 2 or more persons, so it’s the perfect place to share a meal with friends or to enjoy a relaxing lunch date.  All of the rice dishes include fish, most of which comes directly from the sea of the Barceloneta beach.  This is a family-owned restaurant that has been operating since 1993, made famous because of its rice dishes.

Restaurant Can Majó

Photo credit: benjieordonez via Visualhunt / CC BY-ND

Photo credit: benjieordonez via Visualhunt / CC BY-ND

Another restaurant located in Barceloneta near the sea, Can Majó also specializes in seafood and rices, incorporating fresh and tasty seafood into their 10 variations of rices, like paella, arroz a banda, and fideuá.  You can sink your teeth into some seafood appetizers and then enjoy a scrumptious rice dish, prepared to order and to share (even though you won’t want to).  Take in the fresh sea air and beautiful environment of the restaurant as you savor the flavors of the rice but also the fresh fruits from the sea that are featured in every rice dish.  A Barcelona favorite, Can Majó is offers rices unlike any others.

About the author


Christine is a traveler, teacher, writer, and beach-lover, exploring Barcelona one tapa at a time!

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