My take on the famous Spanish dish after trying three varieties: a local’s pick, market-friendly and the highly touristic.
Paella is known to be an overall Spanish dish, but technically, it’s more Valencian, which is a bit more south from Barcelona. It’s easy for us to say that it’s a Spanish dish, but Spaniards consider it as Valencian. Obviously, it’s easy to find restaurants and even bars that serve paella and I have to say I didn’t have a bad one during my stay. My aim was to try as much as possible and compare. I ended up trying three.
For an elegant dining experience and great food even recommended by locals, there’s the very popular Les Quinze Nits. It’s very easy to find, dons elegant interior, nice service and great food. I’ve seen photos of people lining up in front of the main entrance to get a seat. Unfortunately, they don’t take reservations.
While I was eating, I asked G’s cousin M and his wife about the process of making paella. It sounded simple actually, except the fact of the heat, which needs to be changed accordingly. And then there was a catch. You need the pan, which was made to cook the paella. It all boils down to the appliances! Same with the Korean chicken barbeque dish called dakgalbi. You need the huge round pan. It’s good however you make it, but if you want the real deal, you need the pan. It just makes sense. “And of course, mom’s paella is always the best,” M said.
Our second paella was near the Boqueria market. A couple of bars and restaurants serving paella and seafood are lined up around the market, so it’s quite convenient to sit down and have a meal after all the bustling and the clutching onto your bag and wallet. Touristic, out in the open, but clean, simple service and nice food. (Touristic places like these tend to have a yellower color and less vegetables and seafood. So in the end, you find yourself ended up with a lot of rice.)
Port Olímpic is one of the best places to find a place to eat. Or drink. Or party. The port/ marina was used
It’s basically at the end of the beach, lined up with white tents, bars, restaurants, small clubs and cafes. Very touristic and it’s even fun to look into the different restaurants and their menus. This is the place where tour packages take their tourist for a “authentic” Spanish meal: a starter, drink, main dish and dessert, all in one. Perhaps a bit tacky for those who are looking for a quieter, more special venue, but as a tourist, thumbs up. The food, I have to say, was much better than the one near the Boqueria market.
All photos by rachelsanghee