Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter is a historic centre full of winding streets and centuries-old monuments that’s also the starting point for anyone visiting the Spanish city for the first time. And while Barcelona’s popularity as a travel destination means many of its restaurants are tourist-traps, we’ve rounded up the best places to eat authentic paella in the Gothic Quarter.
Located on the iconic Plaça Reial, one of Barcelona’s most charming squares, Les Quinze Nits is surprisingly affordable given its prime location. Housed in a historic building, its dining room is modern and guests can opt to sit on the large outdoor terrace facing the square. The paella here stands out for being made from rice rich in flavour and texture that’s grown in Spain’s Albufera Natural Park.
Considered to be one of the oldest restaurants in Barcelona, Los Caracoles is located not far from the famous Las Ramblas avenue. The dining area is full of rustic charm and lined with old-fashioned memorabilia and tiled walls. While the restaurant serves a wide selection of traditional Catalan and Spanish dishes, including four different paellas, we recommend the Los Caracoles rice—a house speciality that comes generously garnished with fish and seafood.
This traditional Catalan eatery is located on one of the Gothic Quarter’s most famous streets, the Carrer d’Avinyó, after which the ladies in Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon are named (and not the French city of Avignon, as some mistakingly assume). A reasonably priced restaurant which is popular with local workers at lunchtime during the week, Pitarra offers a rustic paella that, though lacking in the finesse of a rice dish from a fancier restaurant, is hearty and does the trick.
Considering that it’s located just off Las Ramblas, La Fonda is another restaurant that’s been able to avoid pricing Barcelona’s locals out. The restaurant’s high-ceilings create a sense of openness and space, although it also makes the dining experience a little noisier. La Fonda’s menu has six different rice dishes to choose from, including a mixed paella, a seafood paella, a fish paella and a creamy black rice made with squid ink, none of which costs more than €13.45 per person.
A cozy tapas bar, Los Pergaminos is serious about its food. Most of its guests decide to perch on stools at the counter or gather around one of the barrels in front of the bar, though there are also a handful of tables in the back of the bar. The menu abounds with tantalising tapas—many traditional but some more contemporary and exotic—and the paella is a good, old-fashioned dish served in generous portions.
La Cassola is a family-run business led by four local sisters with a passion for Catalan cuisine. A casual restaurant with traditional décor, its atmosphere is warm and welcoming with an attentive and friendly staff. The restaurant is closed on both Saturdays and Sundays, but is a popular lunch spot Monday through Friday. If you do manage to get a table, you have to try the home-cooked paella that’s hearty and deeply satisfying.
Located on the street from which it gets its name, Ferran is a classic Gothic Quarter restaurant with an impressive dinning room reminiscient of a Renaissance palace with dark wood panelling and chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. The head chef has been in the restaurant business for over 50 years and the kitchen’s specialty is its seafood and fish, which includes its delicious paellas. Be prepared to wait about 25 minutes for a paella as they are all cooked to order and definitely worth the wait if you want the rice to have the right texture.