6 of the Best Paella Restaurants in Madrid
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None of us are internationally renowned connoisseurs here at CityXplora, but each of us have travelled enough to know that you want to avoid most eateries located close to big attractions. No matter where it is you're visiting, you're more likely to fall into a tourist trap in and around these areas. That's why we've taken it upon ourselves to look out for the some of the very best establishments in each our cities. Our findings are informed by locals and experts whom we personally contact through various social media channels.
Today we decided to be a little specific and turned our attentions to the ever wonderful city of Madrid. Our query was simple, where can we find the best places to eat Paella in the Spanish capital? As you probably know, Paella is a Valencian dish that consists of rice and a meat component, typically chicken or seafood, and usually interspersed with a selection of vegetables. It's delicious, wholesome, and perhaps most importantly of all, popular throughout the world.
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Madrid Paella Restaurants:
1) La Barraca:
- Address: Calle de la Reina, 29, 28004 Madrid.
Our first recommendation in Madrid comes from 'A Taste of Spain' via Twitter @atasteofspain and GJ, also via Twitter @GJAtlUSA. La Barraca is tucked away just behind the bustling Calle Gran Vía, on the fairly narrow and quiet Calle Reina. It's a restaurant modeled after a traditional Valencian eatery, with the unmistakable characteristics of someones home. The 'homely' feel of the interior likely derives from the fact that the establishment is a family run business- and been so since 1935.
Before moving to Madrid the Solís family were originally natives of Valencia, yet the decades have done nothing to shake their ancestral connection. When preparing their paellas the Solís' use only the finest rice varieties: Bomba, a highly sought after 'Arroz de Valencia', frequently referred to as the 'King of Rices'; and Calasparra, cultivated in the Murcia region, in a mountainous town of the same which has been growing rice since the 14th century. Expect both a hospitable atmosphere and flavors resulting from 3 generations of care and refinement.
Photo Credit: @traveltheuniversealek.
2) Casa de Valencia:
- Address: Paseo del Pintor Rosales, 58, 28008 Madrid.
Casa de Valencia not only has a menu of much renown, but is also located in one of the most beautiful areas of Madrid. Parque del Oeste lies spread out across the opposite end of the street, its lush flora mirrored in the reflective surfaces between the restaurant's intricately designed wooden exterior. Both inside and out the scene is reminiscent of classic Valencian architecture. If plain descriptions of this place do nothing to convince you of its reputation, then know that it was officially inaugurated in 1975 by the King and Queen of Spain.
Casa de Valencia's menu revels in all the flavours of the Mediterranean Sea. Dig into a grilled cuttlefish, a red Mediterranean prawn salad, a sweet and simple shrimp scampi, or their signature specialty, authentic Valencian paella. Dishes are served with all the creativity and sophistication you'd expect from such a renowned and quality restaurant. It was recommended to us by James Blick via Twitter @theSpainGuy and Patricia López via Google+. James is a Spain-based travel and food writer who has featured in the Sunday Times, The Guardian, El País and the Toronto Star. He is also co-director of the Madrid Food Tour. Patricia is manager of the Madrid Local Guides community on Google+.
Photo Credits: Casa de Valencia.
- Address: Calle de Carlos Caamaño, 3, 28016 Madrid.
Now this was a popular one. It was recommended by 'My Little Madrid' @mylittlemadrid and Ximena Maier @lobster_squad via Twitter, as well as Patricia López via Google+. Samm lies a fair distance from the usual tourist trail, point in case being the Madrid City Bus Tour, which only gets as close as Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. But if you do find yourself venturing into the deeper corners of the Chamartín district then this is a restaurant well worth looking up. Samm specialises in a comprehensive range of Valencian cuisine, with the strongest focus being on the paella. Patricia cites it (alongside Casa de Valencia) as quite possibly the best place in Madrid to enjoy a genuinely authentic paella. Put simply, you're defiantly avoiding the tourist traps around places like Plaza Mayor. In fact, you're probably avoiding tourists altogether.
Photo Credit: @ch.perez.gon.
- Address: Calle de los Tres Peces, 20, 28012 Madrid.
El Ventorrillo Murciano is encouragingly tucked away, but still right within the city centre. It was the second suggestion by @mylittlemadrid on Twitter. Look for the cozy, wood-paneled exterior as you stroll down Calle de los Tres Peces. Inside is a small and intimate environment where you can be attended to quickly and attentively. The menu consists of numerous Murcian and Valencian delicacies, amongst which is a fantastic plate of paella.
Photo Credit: @rafenewyork.
- Address: Calle los Yébenes, 38, 28047 Madrid.
Of all the restaurants on this list, Aynaelda is the furthest from the city centre, and was recommended by Candela Fernandez via Google+. From what we've been told and have gathered for ourselves Aynaelda is perfect for larger groups looking a enjoy a hearty meal of extraordinary variety. Whereas as most of the places on this list specialise in paella dishes specifically, Aynaelda can be viewed as specialising in virtually every kind of Spanish rice recipe. Candela herself stated that "they do all kind of rice dishes, included paella. You can not go wrong with them", and the reviews we've been seeing seem to confirm this. So if you are travelling with a large group of friends or family, and are happy to chip-in for a taxi ride, then seriously consider giving Aynaelda a try.
Photo Credit: Restaurante Aynaelda.
- Address: Calle de Bravo Murillo, 3, 28015 Madrid.
Our last recommendation comes courtesy of the good folks at Madrid Food Tour via Twitter @MadridFoodTour. This ocean themed restaurant is popular with locals for its excellent seafood menu, non-touristy prices and inviting atmosphere. It's also fairly easy to find providing you deviate a little from the major sightseeing routes, such as Calle Gran Vía and Paseo del Prado. Reviews heap praise on its seafood paella, both in terms of quality and value. During the summer months it's also possible to sit out on the front terrace. When you think of Costa Blanca think casual surroundings and quality rice dishes.
Madrid Food Tour also feature a couple of top places for paella in Madrid. If you'd like some extra inspiration have a peruse of the restaurants on their blog as well.
Going To Barcelona?
If you also happen to be visiting Catalonia then you might be interested in part 2 of this blog: 6 Of The Best Paella Restaurants In Barcelona.