The best paella in Madrid
Paella. history and some basic facts
In case you are visiting Barcelona we recommend you our post with information on where to eat a quality paella in Barcelona. Let´s start by saying that paella is not a traditional dish from Madrid. Paella is of the great dishes of Spanish cuisine. The name comes from the Latin "patella" which means ‘frying pan’. It can be enjoyed throughout Spain, but its geographical origin is on the Mediterranean coast, specifically in the area of Albufera, near Valencia, a rice production area which began with arrival of the Moors in the Iberian Peninsula and where today the best paella is found. This does not mean that it is the only place where great paella can be eaten, because it is eaten in many varieties throughout Spain. Today, paella is considered a delicacy and is enjoyed in all sorts of modifications in its preparation even though it was originally a humble dish that included ingredients easily found in the surroundings of Albufera and Valencia: rice, green beans, white beans, tomatoes, chicken, rabbit, olive oil, saffron, salt and water. These are the ingredients that are used in the original Valencian Paella. Others ingredients can be added, such as artichoke, duck, snails, garlic, paprika and rosemary without affecting the original recipe.
Valencian rice come in three varieties, Bomba, Senia and Bahía, all of them are semi-long rice varieties which allow for better absorption of juices during cooking time in the famous paella pan, or paellera (in Valencia, paella). The pan is very wide and flat and is traditionally used on an open wood fire that allows for very even heat distribution and evaporation of the broth in a rapid and uniform way.
Other alternatives when it comes to preparing paella are: Paella Alicante contains squid, prawns, swordfish and chicken; Paella Marinera is made with fish broth and clóchinas – a type of local mussel – squid, clams, crayfish, lobsters; and Mixed Paella which is made from both meat and fish. There are other ways to prepare the rice, although they cannot be truly called paella, except for some similarities in its presentation: Banda Rice is served with "ali-oli" sauce, made from mashed garlic with olive oil, and with a separate fish dish; Baked Rice is made in an earthenware dish with soup and sausage, pork ribs, garbanzo beans and tomato; Crusty Rice has chicken or rabbit with garbanzo beans, garlic and spicy red peppers. This baked version is prepared with beaten egg to form the famous "crust" that gives it its name. Black Rice is made with fish broth and squid with its ink that provides its characteristic dark color, and finally, Rice with Beans and Turnips.
Although Madrid is known for its traditional dishes such as stew, tripe, and garlic soups, is not difficult to find excellent restaurants specialized in more varied regional and international cuisine, and of course, paella has its place of honor in many of them. Be advised that in Madrid, there is a bar or a restaurant for every 165 inhabitants, so if you want to enjoy special paella in our capital city, Winetourismspain suggests, by areas, these best restaurants to eat paella in Madrid:
Best restaurants to eat paella in Madrid city center – near Plaza de España
Casa de Valencia (Paseo del Pintor Rosales, 58. Tel: +34915441747. Average price: 35 – 50 euros).
Arroces Carlos (C/ Ferraz, 36. Tel: +34917957286. Average price: 25 – 40 euros).
Cañas y Barro (C/ Amaniel, 28. Tel: +34654814031. Average price: 20 – 25 euros).
Best restaurants to eat paella in Madrid city center - near Gran Via
La Barraca (C/ Reina, 29. Tel: +34915327154. Precio medio: 25 – 35 euros).
La Paella de la Reina (C/ Reina, 39. Tel: +34915311885. Precio medio: 35 euros).
Bar La Gloria (C/ Noviciado, 2. Tel: +34910831401. Precio medio: 20 – 25 euros). Hay que reservar la paella ya que sólo se sirve los domingos.
Best restaurants to eat paella in Madrid city center - near Prado museum (barrio de las Letras)
El Caldero (C/ Huertas, 15. Tel: +34914295044. Precio medio: 30 – 40 euros).
Centro de Madrid – Zona Tirso de Molina, Lavapiés y La Latina
El Ventorrillo Murciano (C/ Tres Peces, 20. Tel: +34915288309. Precio medio: 50 euros).
Best restaurants to eat paella in Madrid city center - Bilbao and Alonso Martinez
La Despensa Mediterránea (C/ Cardenal Cisneros, 6. Tel: +34914461794. Precio medio: 25 – 30 euros).
Doña (C/ Zurbano, 59. Tel +34913192551. Precio medio: 35 euros).
Best restaurants to eat paella in Madrid - North of Madrid
Samm (C/ Carlos Caamaño, 3. Tel: +34913453074. Precio medio: 35 – 45 euros).
Casa Benigna (C/ Benigno Soto, 9. Tel: +34914133356. Precio medio: 40 euros).
El Garbí (C/ Infanta Mercedes, 92. Tel: +34915706386. Precio medio: 30 – 35 euros).
Arroces Segis (C/ Infanta Mercedes, 109. Tel: +34915715622. Precio medio: 40 – 45 euros).
Entre Naranjos (C/ Numancia, 2. Tel: +34911404734. Precio medio: 30 euros).
Best restaurants to eat paella in Madrid - Western Madrid
Que si quieres Arroz Catalina (C/ Principal de Provincias, 9. “Palacio de la Misión”. Tel: +34914647777. Precio medio: 30 – 40 euros).
Best restaurants to eat paella in Madrid - Eastern Madrid
St. James (C/ Juan Bravo, 26. Tel: +34915756010. Precio medio: 45 – 50 euros).
El Rasell (Plaza López de la Plata, 4. Tel: +34911558890. Precio medio: 45 – 50 euros).
If you enjoyed this post we also recommend our post on which wines to pair with paella?
If you will be in Madrid we also recommend that you book our wine tasting and tapas walking tour. A fantastic tour to enjoy Madrid, tapas and excellent wines in the company of wine experts (paella is not eaten though...)