“Rice with any which thing isn’t paella. This one is!”
(Casa Valencia Facebook)
By Leanna Carroll
In Spain, you’re never really more than a stone’s throw away from a delicious plate of paella. The national dish, which consists of rice, vegetables, meat, seafood, and saffron to give it is signature yellow color, is sought after by locals and tourists alike. However, given that it can be found on every street corner, most restaurants do their best to give their paella a unique twist in order to catch peoples’ attention. Although paella originated in Valencia, Madrid has a number of restaurants that you should consider the next time you’re craving the delicious dish.
Here are our top choices for paella, regardless of where you’re from or what mood you’re in.
Cool and Casual
Casa Luciano: Calle de Atocha, 120
Casa Luciano is located just a few blocks away from El Parque de Buen Retiro and makes the perfect conclusion to a relaxing summer day. The restaurant offers plenty of outdoor seating in both direct sunlight and shade. Additionally, it features eight varieties of paella- which is sure to please even the pickiest of eaters. Pay Casa Luciano a visit for a taste of one of the following paellas: de mariscos, de verduras, de arroz negro, mixta, fideguay, del señorito, valenciana, and fieduá de marisco. You won’t be disappointed!
Elegant and Upscale
La Barraca: Calle de la Reina, 29
First opening in 1935, La Barraca is credited with serving arguably the finest rices and paellas in all of Madrid. Located in the cultural and art center (walking distance from Madrid’s most notable museums and theaters including the Museo del Prado), La Barraca is the perfect destination for those wanting to experience a more luxurious treat. The menu includes an incredible sixteen rice and paella dishes that can satisfy your tastebuds regardless of what you’re craving. Here’s the full list: paella valenciana, paella mixta la barraca, arroz huertana de verduras, arroz al horn con cocido, arroz de boletus con jamon Ibérico, arroz con pato y seats, arroz campero, paella marinera de la casa, paella reina de mariscos, arroz seynoret de mariscos, fideua marinera, arroz caldoso, arroz con bogavante y almejas en paella, arroz con carabineros y sepia en paella, arroz ananda, and arroz negro con calamar y chipirones. Stop by La Barraca and treat yourself to an exquisite meal!
Urban and Youthful
Sidrería El Tigre: Calle de las Infantas, 23
With a few locations here in Madrid, El Tigre usually hides in side streets and can easily be missed – although it shouldn’t be. This tapas bar seems like an odd pick for a list of paella restaurants but in actuality it makes perfect sense. El Tigre, by catering to the younger crowd, is successfully transforming paella into a casual bar food. Step into El Tigre, order a few drinks, and you’ll be greeted to a plate of complimentary tapas (that’s right, free) including paella, among other dishes. The satisfying rice dish perfectly complements any drink and is guaranteed to change the way you think about paella. Give it a try!
Cozy and Authentic
Casa de Valencia: Paseo del Pintor Rosales, 58
As the name suggests, Casa de Valencia (literally, House of Valencia) prides itself on offering authentic paella despite being located in Madrid. The restaurant itself emits a warm and friendly atmosphere and serves up gigantic portions of their fifteen varieties of paella and other rice dishes. They include: arroz huertano, arroz senyoret, arroz con chipirones y ajetes, arroz con carbineros meloso en colder, arroz con langosta, arroz con bogavante, arroz caldoso de rape y almejas, arroz negro, fiduea, paella de verdurous, arroz a banda, paella marinera, paella mixta, and paella valenciana. For a hearty meal that you won’t regret, check them out!
Like most things, paella comes in many shapes and sizes- and they’re all equally delicious! Use this list as a guide, or wander around Madrid until you run into a paella restaurant (which you’re bound to do). Either way, ¡buen provecho!
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