Top 5 restaurants to taste the best paella in Madrid

Do you want to taste the best paella in Madrid?

Well, I admit that it’s not easy to find a restaurant offering rice dishes that can compare to the ones in Valencia, but fear not! There are a few places in the capital where you can try high-quality paella without having to visit the Valencian region.

As a food enthusiast and a Madrid local, I have had my fair share of paella experiences, both good and bad. And through my culinary adventures, I have discovered the best places in Madrid to try out tasty paella and other delicious rice dishes that are definitely worth a visit.

So sit back, and let’s dive into the world of the best paella in Madrid!

What is paella?

There is no doubt that paella is the top-star dish of Spanish gastronomy. Paella is that recipe that all tourists want to try when as soon as they arrive in our country.

But unfortunately, many of the paellas that you will find in the bars and restaurants located in most tourist areas have nothing to do with the authentic taste of real paella. That is why in this post I will help you to find the best paella in Madrid.

Paella is a traditional Spanish dish that originates from the Valencian region of Spain. It is a rice dish that is typically made with round-grain rice, green beans, meat, and garrofó, cooked in olive oil and chicken broth.

The distinctive yellow color of the paella comes from the saffron, The paella is usually cooked in a large shallow pan which is specifically designed for making this dish.

The best paella in Madrid must have a delicious “socarrat”. This is the crusty layer at the bottom of the paella that becomes caramelized and toasted when it is cooking, yummy!

The paella is usually enjoyed with a glass of Spanish wine or a refreshing sangria.

Other popular rice dishes in Spain

If you are searching for the best paella in Madrid you need to know that paella is just the beginning of an outstanding diversity of rice dishes such as rice with lobster, “del senyoret” rice, “a banda” rice, and black rice.

  • The rice with lobster (Arroz con Bogavante) is a popular Spanish rice dish that features succulent lobster and aromatic saffron-infused rice. It is a popular seafood variation of paella that is often served in a large paella pan, making it a great choice for sharing with friends and family.
  • Rice “del Senyoret” is so named because wealthier families in Valencia used to have their seafood peeled before cooking seafood rice. Like other rice dishes, it is made on a base of fish, and in this case squid, prawns, and mussels are added to the rice. The succulent seafood makes it a delicious and unforgettable dining experience.
  • “A banda” rice is a variation of paella that features rice and seafood. The name “a banda” means “apart” in Spanish, referring to the separation of the fish and seafood from the rice in the dish. Its rich and intense flavors and unique preparation methods make it a standout dish in Spanish cuisine, and one that is definitely worth trying.
  • Black rice is a traditional Spanish rice dish that is characterized by its dark color and rich seafood flavor. The distinctive black color is achieved through the use of squid ink, which is added to the rice during the cooking process. This gives the dish its unique flavor and appearance.

Tips for ordering paella

When it comes to ordering paella in Madrid, there are a few things you should keep in mind to ensure you get the most delicious and satisfying dish possible. Here are some tips to help you order paella like a pro:

Look for the “socarrat”:
One of the most important parts of a good paella is the “socarrat”, the crispy layer of rice that forms at the bottom of the pan. The socarrat is highly prized by paella connoisseurs, as it is considered to be a sign of a perfectly cooked paella. You will get a delicious socarrat in any of the restaurants on my list of the best paella in Madrid.

Choose the right size:
Paella is traditionally a family-style dish meant to be shared among a group, but many restaurants in Madrid offer individual-sized portions as well. If you’re dining solo you may want to opt for a smaller portion to avoid wasting food and money.

Know what you’re ordering:
As I have explained before, there are many variations of paella in Spain, and all of them are delicious if you choose the right restaurant. Depending on your taste, you should choose whether you want to try the traditional paella or another variety with seafood from those mentioned in the previous section.

Timing is everything:
Paella is a dish that takes some time to prepare. If you’re in a rush or have a tight schedule, it may not be the best option for your meal. It’s also worth noting that some restaurants in Madrid only serve paella if you order it in advance.

Don’t forget the drinks:
Paella is an appetizing meal that pairs well with a variety of Spanish beverages. If you’re looking for a traditional Spanish pairing, you can opt for a red wine like Rioja. For a more refreshing option, you can try a cold beer or a glass of sangria.

How to eat paella

Eating paella is a social and fun experience that is typically shared among a group of people. Here are some tips on how to eat paella like a pro:

  • Fork or spoon: Paella is eaten with a fork if it has been served on a plate, that is if we are going to eat our portion. In case we are going to eat directly from the paella pan, tradition says that we must use a spoon. Formerly the protocol was that this spoon should be made of wood.
  • Start from the edges: Begin by scooping rice from the outer edges of the pan and work your way towards the center of the pan, where the rice is the most cooked and the socarrat is the crispiest.
  • The socarrat: To nobody escapes that the “socarrat” is the most attractive of the paella. When it appears, it must be distributed equally among all the diners.
  • Better for lunch: Paella is typically eaten for lunch, not for dinner.
  • Savor the flavors: Take the time to enjoy the various flavors and textures in the dish, from the tender rice to the savory meat or seafood to the aromatic spices and herbs.

By following these simple tips, you can enjoy paella like a true Spanish foodie and savor all of the delicious flavors and textures that this classic dish has to offer.

Top 5 restaurants with the best paella in Madrid

Choosing the best paella in Madrid is a topic that is often the subject of much debate and controversy among food enthusiasts.

It’s not surprising that opinions vary widely depending on individual preferences and experiences, but I am sure that my list will serve as a guide to those seeking an unforgettable paella experience in the capital.

Let’s dive in and explore the 5 restaurants that have stolen my heart with their exceptional paella dishes.

St James

Address: C/ Juan Bravo 26 | C/ Rosario Pino 14 -16 | C/Alcalá 12 (Galería Canalejas)
Phone: +34 915 75 60 10 | +34 915 70 46 91 | +34 91 343 89 40
Email: | |

If you’re looking for the best paella in Madrid, St. James restaurant is a must-visit for foodies in search of authentic Spanish cuisine.

Counting three establishments in the capital, St. James has built a reputation as one of the top restaurants in the city. I had the pleasure of dining at St. James recently, and I have to say, I was blown away by the paella. On the menu, there are more than 30 varieties of rice dishes as well as meat, fish, and a wide variety of desserts.

This restaurant is a must-visit for anyone who loves authentic Spanish cuisine. So why not book a table and experience the magic of St. James for yourself? I promise you won’t be disappointed.


Address: C. del Poeta Joan Maragall 43, 28020, Madrid (Melia Castilla Hotel)
Phone: +34 915 67 51 97

Looking for an exceptional paella dining experience in Madrid? Look no further than L’Albufera restaurant, located in the Melia Castilla Hotel. This restaurant is known for preparing the best paella in Madrid, and for good reason.

When you visit L’Albufera, you can choose from a variety of paella options, including the classic Valencian paella with chicken and rabbit, “del Senyoret”, “a banda”, black rice, or seafood paella with fresh shrimp and lobster.

This is possibly one of my favorite restaurants to eat the best paella in Madrid with family or friends. You will find a cozy atmosphere with classic and elegant decor. It also has a covered and glazed garden terrace.

Besides, if you want to accompany a delicious paella dish with a unique experience and enjoy an incredible Real Madrid soccer match, Melia Castilla is one of the best hotels near Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

Marina Ventura

Address: C. de Ventura de la Vega 13, 28014, Madrid
Phone: +34 914 29 38 10

When it comes to finding the best paella in Madrid, Marina Ventura Restaurant should be on your list. With an outstanding location close to the most popular attractions such as the Puerta del Sol and El Prado Museum, this restaurant is the go-to destination for locals and tourists alike.

Marina Ventura’s specialties include rice with octopus, rice “del Senyoret”, rice with duck and mushrooms, and rice with lobster. Let me tell you about my personal experience at Marina Ventura Restaurant. As a paella lover, I was thrilled to visit this restaurant and what can I say, the paella was a work of art.

Moreover, the restaurant offers a wide variety of paella options, including seafood, vegetarian, and even black paella made with squid ink. So, whether you’re a meat lover, a seafood enthusiast, or a vegetarian, you’re sure to find a paella that suits your taste buds.

Marina Ventura Restaurant also boasts a fantastic selection of Spanish wines and desserts that perfectly complement the meal. And with their reasonable prices and convenient location, it’s no wonder that it has become one of my favorite restaurants to eat the best paella in Madrid.


Address: C. de Segovia 8, 28005, Madrid
Phone: +34 660 65 90 61

If you’re searching for the best paella in Madrid, look no further than D’stapa restaurant. This amazing eatery offers not only incredible food but also an unbeatable location, just a stone’s throw from the iconic Plaza Mayor and the Royal Palace.

D’stapa is a must-visit for anyone looking to sample authentic Spanish cuisine. After a long morning of exploring the city’s historic landmarks and attractions, there’s nothing quite like tasting the best paella in Madrid at D’stapa.

The rice is a standout dish, with a perfect balance of flavors and textures that will leave your taste buds dancing. One thing that sets D’stapa apart from other restaurants in Madrid is its extensive menu of rice dishes. In addition to its famous paella, the restaurant offers a wide variety of other rice-based dishes, such as rice with lobster, “del Senyoret”, “a banda” and black rice.

With so many delicious options to choose from, it’s no wonder that the restaurant has become a go-to spot for rice lovers in Madrid.

Casa Benigna

Address: C. de Benigno Soto 9, 28002, Madrid
Phone: +34 914 13 33 56

Casa Benigna is a top-rated restaurant for those seeking the best paella in Madrid, and I can personally vouch for that. Only the freshest and highest quality ingredients are used.

But it’s not just the ingredients that make Casa Benigna’s paella so exceptional. The way it’s prepared is also a crucial factor. The chefs at Casa Benigna have perfected the art of cooking paella, using traditional techniques and cooking over an open flame. This gives the paella a unique flavor that you won’t find anywhere else.

When you order paella at the traditional Casa Benigna, you can choose from a variety of options, including the popular “A banda” rice, black rice, and chicken rice with vegetables. Whatever you choose, you won’t be disappointed.

Another great thing about Casa Benigna is the atmosphere. The restaurant is cozy and traditional, making it a great place to enjoy the best paella in Madrid with friends or family.

FAQ about the best paella in Madrid

What’s the average cost of a paella dish in Madrid?

The average cost of a paella dish in Madrid can vary depending on the restaurant and the specific dish. However, you can expect to pay anywhere from 15 to 30 euros per person in the restaurants on my list of the best paella in Madrid. Rice with lobster is usually the most expensive variation of the paella.

What is the socarrat?

The socarrat is a term used in Spanish cuisine to describe the caramelized layer of crispy rice that forms at the bottom of a paella pan during cooking. This crispy layer is the result of the rice being cooked in a thin layer over high heat, causing it to toast and caramelize, creating a delicious contrast to the soft rice above.

Can I find vegetarian or vegan paella in Madrid?

Yes, it is possible to find vegetarian and vegan paella options in Madrid. While traditional paella typically includes meat, seafood, or both, many restaurants in Madrid offer vegetarian or vegan versions of this popular dish.

What drinks pair well with paella?

There are several wines and drinks that pair well with paella. One classic pairing is a Spanish red wine, such as Rioja. Dry white wines such as Albariño or Verdejo pair pretty well with seafood paella.

What is in your opinion the best paella in Madrid? Leave your comments!

2 thoughts on “Top 5 restaurants to taste the best paella in Madrid”

  1. After reading your article on paella in Madrid, we were so excited to try one of the restaurants you suggested. Unfortunately, we were extremely disappointed with Marina Ventura. The restaurant was beautiful and the waiter very nice and attentive but the paella was disappointing. There was no socarrat at all and when we mention we were looking forward to caramelized rice they took the dish back, cooked it a bit more and we ended up with scorched rice instead. Just thought you should know

    • Hi Cindy! I am sorry to hear that the experience was not the best. And thank you for sharing, your comment will be useful for the rest of the readers to decide which restaurant to choose.


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