Finding somewhere decent to eat on Barcelona’s most famous street isn’t particularly straightforward, given the area’s status as a tourist hotspot. Yet if you know where to go, there are some places that do a much better job than others of serving authentic Spanish cuisine. Here are the best places to eat paella on La Rambla when you have a hankering for traditional Spanish food.
Located on a side street just a few meters off La Rambla, Los Torreros is a traditional Spanish eatery that pays tribute to the tradition of bullfighting. The dining room is reminiscent of an old Andalusian bodega, with tiled walls and black and white pictures. The menu offers a wide choice of tapas from across the different regions, as well as an ample selection of paella dishes, including seafood, vegetable, meat and mixed options.
The restaurant Les Quinze Nits is located on one of Barcelona’s most famous squares, the Plaça Reial, which stands alongside La Rambla. Despite its prime location, the restaurant has maintained reasonable prices and the midweek lunchtime menu is a bargain at just €11.90 per person. À la carte a paella will cost from just €11.45 per person, which makes this one of the more competitively priced restaurants on the square.
A relatively new local with an old-fashioned name, Ultramarinos – which was what corner shops were once called – has an extensive food offering composed of both Spanish classics and more modern, international favourites such as pizzas and hamburgers. The signature ‘Ultramarinos’ paella comes with a mixture of fish and seafood and is cooked to order. The large dining area boasts bright, funky decor that lends itself well to both daytime meals and evening drinks, of which there are plenty to choose from on the cocktail list.
A branch of a local group of seafood restaurants, MariscCo Paella Restaurant is located just off La Rambla in a former taxidermist’s workshop where artist Salvador Dalí famously dissected a rhinoceros. The 19th-century building has retained much of its original charm on the outside, while the inside has been given a lighter, more modern appearance. There’s a wide selection of fresh seafood on display at the iced counter that is ideal for sharing, while the seafood paella is generously topped with prawns, clams, mussels and other tasty morsels.
Located towards the bottom of La Rambla, not far from the Christopher Columbus monument and the harbour, Casa Lola is a modern tapas restaurant and is part of a chain with a number of establishments across the city. Alongside the varied tapas, there are four paella dishes to choose from: seafood, vegetables, mixed meat and a black rice cooked in squid ink. The atmosphere is fun and laid-back in this informal eatery with its long wooden benches, patterned tile floor and red-brick walls.
The Hotel DO is a luxury boutique hotel housed in a stunning period mansion on the Plaça Reial. The hotel prides itself on the quality of its food and has three different spaces for diners: the rooftop bar, the formal restaurant and the outdoor terrace. La Terrassa del DO is the most popular for guests not staying in the hotel, as it offers the chance to enjoy the hotel setting overlooking the arcades of the Plaça Reial. The menu includes prime cuts of meat, grilled lobster and fresh seafood, as well as classic tapas and rice dishes. While some purists loathe the mixture of meat and seafood in a paella, the shrimp and pork paella is surprisingly satisfying.
Step off La Rambla into the bustling world of the Boquería market and you’ll find the Paella Bar Boquería. As you might have guessed, the restaurant specialises in paella and offers everything from a traditional Valencian paella (with rabbit and chicken and no seafood) to a ‘tourist paella’ (their own name) made with lobster and chorizo – the inclusion of which is a known heresy in the world of paella making! The paellas are made to order and generous in size, while the locale is perfect for soaking up the buzzing atmosphere of the market.