When you think about Spain there are several (and stereotyped) things that pop up in your mind: flamenco, beaches, sangria and...paella! It surely is the most famous Spanish dish, made up by rice and various ingredients like seafood and/or meet. But, did you already know that the real paella recipe is from Valencia and it has a quite strict rules?
First of all, the seafood ones are not what a traditional paella actually is. The traditional one has its roots in the countryside; this means that the main ingredients don’t include fish at all! Instead, it has rabbit, chicken, snails and green beans.
However, nowadays Spaniards and tourists (but also locals) use to order seafood paella as well (we can’t deny that is too delicious!). But, be careful, never add chorizo to paella, Valencian folks get very protective of their dish!
Anyway, whether you wish to taste a traditional paella or a new version one, here we provide you with a brief overview of the best paella in Valencia, in order to avoid the typical tourist-trap places, that promise a picture perfect paella at the cheapest price, while it is actually a frozen one!
1. Restaurante L’Estimat
Located in Playa Las Arenas, at the port of Valencia, this arrocería (the Spanish word for a restaurant that mainly serves rice dishes), L’Estimat offers such a familiar and cosy atmosphere, providing its clients with the best high quality paella cooked following both the traditional recipe and the new ones.
2. Restaurante Levante
According to the locals, this place offers one of the best paella in Valencia and it also is quite far from the touristy area. The most delicious (and ordered) dish is the original Valencian paella, that can be accompanied by more than 10,000 bottles of Spanish wines, kept in the cellar of the restaurant.
3. La Pepica
If you’re looking for a unique paella experience, this restaurant is made for you! Located in Playa La Malvarrosa, the most popular beach in Valencia, La Pepica is an iconic place that offers you the chance to eat a great seafood paella in a great location: a terrace overlooking the beautiful Mediterranean sea.
4. La Riuà
The picturesque historic heart of Valencia is home to La Riuà is one of the best restaurant where you can taste paella in more than a ten different varieties, from the traditional recipe to the new version ones.
When it comes to eating paella, everyone should follow a certain etiquette (especially if in Valencia, the cradle of this great dish).
1. Eat paella at lunch time, never in the evening. In fact, a good and traditional Valencian restaurant won’t serve you paella after 4 p.m.
2. You will probably have to share a big paella pan: the rule says that once it’s been placed on the table, you can’t turn the pan; what’s in front of you is your own portion, no matter if you prefer what’s on another side.
3. Eat in the pan, of course. It’s a moment of sharing, therefore, it’s strictly
So, whether you’re living in Valencia or you’re just visiting, follow our tips to try the best paella in Valencia.
See you soon,
Beatrice, an italian passionate about coffee (and food) that fell in love with Madrid, its international vibes and its latin rhythms. She's a dreamer that loves telling stories and travels through her photos.