Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Madrid - where to eat paella near my hotel?

Madrid - where to eat paella near my hotel?

Jul 16th, 2012, 06:11 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 2,059
Madrid - where to eat paella near my hotel?

I will be in Madrid this September staying at the AC Hotel Recoletos, Calle de Recoletos, 18. My son and I are hoping to find a nearby restaurant in which we can dine on paella. Does anyone have a recommendation? Thanks
jerseysusan is offline  
Jul 16th, 2012, 06:17 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,520
Ask the hotel---they answer this all the time.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jul 16th, 2012, 06:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,934
My Spanish friend in Madrid told me that paella is not good in Madrid, but if we must have one, these were the ones recommended by a food critic:

La Barraca (Reina, 29): This one is closer to your hotel. The reviews are mixed. http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restauran...ca-Madrid.html

Samm (Carlos Caamaño, 3): This one is further north, southeast of Chamartin. http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restauran...mm-Madrid.html
greg is offline  
Jul 16th, 2012, 07:27 AM
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 173
My advice is to heed greg´s words.

Paella is a dish that is traditionally connected with Valencia. That is not to say that you cannot find good paella elsewhere. But the emphasis has to be on the word "·good".

Ask most visitors to Spain about the food they associate with the country and the odds are that they will reply "tapas" and/or "paella".

And therein lies the problem. Many (most?) restaurants that serve paella serve the dish to tourists who know next to nothing about what paella should taste like. So they get a dish made with inferior ingredients - cheapest possible rice, colouring instead of saffron, frozen everything.

Their paella may have even been made earlier and simply reheated in the microwave. No self-respecting chef would ever do that. Paella must be freshly made, to order.

But what do most tourists get? Yes, you guessed it. And do they know any better? Yes, you guessed that too. And do some of them walk out of the restaurant a little disappointed? Yes, a lot probably do.

Will they have paid the same price as someone who has just had the real thing? Probably.

So go somewhere that has a strong reputation if you want something good. And be prepared to travel a little by bus or Metro to find it. It may not be near your hotel.
TonyBishop is offline  
Jul 16th, 2012, 07:36 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 22,027
I would not seek out paella in Madrid. There is such fantastic seafood available in that city that you should concentrate on that and leave the paella for a visit to the cities known for rice dishes.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jul 16th, 2012, 07:41 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 22,027
ps. Here is my food report from my last year's visit to the city. I doubt if you can do much better than the seafood restaurant that we visited on the first night. But do not expect to find paella on the menu there, or in most of the other seafood meccas in the city:

ekscrunchy is offline  
Jul 16th, 2012, 08:10 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 788
Generally speaking, I agree about the paella in Madrid. The closest restaurant to the AC Recoletos for a 'decent' paella is La Barraca on Calle de la Reina 29.

However, there are also some interesting restaurants near the AC Recoletos:
Tapas restaurant: La Cesta de Recoletos on Calle Recoletos 10.

Traditional Basque cuisine: Pelotari on Calle Recoletos 3.

Steaks: MEATing on Calle Villalar 4.

Café Gijón on Paseo de Recoletos 21. Iconic café founded in 1888 which played host to Ernest Hemingway, Ava Gardner and Truman Capote among others.
Revulgo is offline  
Jul 16th, 2012, 08:13 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 67
Don't eat paella in Madrid. Specially don't do it on tourist areas. They will serve you any dish based on rice and tell you it's paella...
Agosto is offline  
Jul 16th, 2012, 08:30 AM
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 173
Ahh, the Café Gijón. The Café Gijón is also an award which aims to promote creative writing.

And who won it in 2010?

None other than Montejaque´s very own Antonio Montes. http://www.abc.es/20100922/cultura-l...009221156.html

How do I know that? Because I too live in Montejaque (population 1024) and I have had a drink with the man. A lovely, modest man who nevertheless writes a very good novel.
TonyBishop is offline  
Jul 16th, 2012, 09:09 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,492
You may just see paella on a menu of the day as you walk down the street. You may be lucky, to, in that it turns out very well that day. It's not even easy to tell people where to get a good paella in Valencia.. It's a bit of a finicky dish to make and turns out differently every time.

of course there are some places that seem to hit it closer on the head more often than others!
lincasanova is offline  
Jul 16th, 2012, 10:10 AM
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 173
And, if that is not complicated enough, there are several kinds of paella, not just one.

It can consist of any of the following ingredients: chicken, shellfish, chorizo, monkfish, squid, clams, serrano ham, peas, roasted peppers....

Then there are all the "arroz" dishes that are also made with saffron-flavoured rice but are never called "paella" by the chef/grandmother/father, even if you and I might.

I have even eaten snail paella up in the mountains of Catalonia.

So, you can´t just walk into a restaurant and order "paella"
TonyBishop is offline  
Jul 16th, 2012, 10:24 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 26,710
And many Spaniards make it at home, and if at all possible, in a huge pan outdoors.

As noted before I do not use saffron when making it at home, (in the US). There are too many competing flavors and you often lose the subtle, elegant, and distinct taste of saffron.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Jul 16th, 2012, 10:54 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 12,069
Not near your hotel... but if you find yourself near the Teatro Real close to dinner time, El Escarpin on Hileros served us a very nice paella. They had a comfortably low-key vibe there that we liked. (However, this was 9 years ago. Caveat emptor.)
mr_go is offline  
Jul 16th, 2012, 11:00 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,165
We had very good Paella in Madrid at a small restaurant, Museo de Vino located on a narrow street(Calle Cruz) near Plaza Mayor. It was full of lots of fresh seafood , most of it still in the shell except for calamari, etc, and the rice was perfectly seasoned and still yellow rather than overcooked/reheated brown and soggy.So I disagree that good Paella cannot be found in Madrid-we had bad experiences with it in Sevilla and Barcelona. I would avoid any of the places where they have pictures of the dish posted outside of the restaurant.
nini is offline  
Jul 16th, 2012, 02:21 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 2,059
Thanks everyone for your comments and recommendations. I know Madrid is not the best place for paella but I can still hope!
jerseysusan is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Feb 26th, 2017 02:17 PM
May 4th, 2014 01:21 PM
Mar 20th, 2014 07:55 PM
Jul 8th, 2012 10:16 AM
Nov 24th, 2004 09:50 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:25 PM.