Hola, food explorers! If you’re here, it’s likely you’re dreaming of the quintessential Valencian dish – paella. But I wouldn’t blame you for also probably being a bit daunted by the task of hunting down the best plate in town.
I mean, with every restaurant boasting “the best paella in Valencia,” how can you possibly make a choice?
Well, as someone who actually lives in Valencia and who’s a self-professed paella enthusiast, I’ve been on the frontlines, taste-testing my way through the city’s offerings and doing my own personal food tours in Valencia (it’s a tough gig, I know…) to bring you this insider’s guide.
After all, living in the birthplace of paella, it’s practically my civic duty to ensure everyone gets to experience the real deal!
So I’m here to help you bypass the tourist traps and venture into the local hotspots, keeping in mind that this isn’t just about finding a meal – it’s about discovering a tradition steeped in culture and a dish that tells the story of its people.
So, are you ready to embark on a quest for the perfect paella? Buckle up, it’s going to be a delicious ride!
Planning a trip to Valencia last minute?
If you’re booking your trip to Valencia last minute, I’ve got you covered. Below are some of the top tours, hotels, and more!
⭐ Top tours in Valencia
- City Highlights Guided Bike Tour (great way to see the city)
- Palosanto Flamenco Show (incredible night out)
- Old Town Tour, Wine and Tapas in an 11th Century Monument (all the highlights at once)
- Catamaran Cruise at Sunset (experience the Mediterranean – with cava)
- Oceanogràfic – Valencia Aquarium (biggest one in Europe!)
🛏️ Top hotels in Valencia
- Only YOU Hotel Valencia (5-star luxury)
- Vincci Palace (boutique hotel with beautiful décor)
- Hostal Antigua Morellana (great budget option in a superb location)
🚌 Want to see everything with minimal effort while you’re in Valencia? Check out the 24- or 48-Hour Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Ticket!
Best paella in Valencia
1. Casa Carmela
If you’re looking for the best paella in Valencia, you simply have to visit Casa Carmela. This family-run restaurant has been serving up traditional paella for over a century, and it’s still just as popular as ever.
Located just a stone’s throw away from Malvarrosa Beach, Casa Carmela is the perfect place to enjoy a delicious meal after a day in the sun. Plus all of the ingredients are fresh and locally sourced, so you can be sure that you’re getting the best quality food.
One of the things that makes Casa Carmela so special is that they cook their paella over orange wood, giving it a unique and delicious flavor. You can choose from a variety of paellas, including the traditional paella Valenciana or paella de marisco (the seafood version of paella).
The restaurant itself is cozy and welcoming, with a charming decor that will make you feel right at home. Be sure to make a reservation though, as Casa Carmela is very popular with locals and can get quite busy.
2. Restaurante Levante
Restaurante Levante is definitely a must-visit spot for those wanting some of the best paella in Valencia. This restaurant has been serving up delicious paella for over 50 years, and it’s no wonder they’ve won so many awards for their amazing dishes.
It’s slightly outside of the city center but you can easily get there after a short stroll through the Turia Gardens. I’d even argue that the fact it’s not quite as central as some of the others – while still getting incredibly good reviews – shows that you’re definitely getting something super local here.
And those reviews aren’t for nothing, as the food here is superb. In fact, Restaurante Levante is so committed to using fresh, local ingredients that they even have their own special wooden spoon that they use to stir their paella!
This wooden spoon is a symbol of their commitment to quality and tradition, and it’s just one of the many things that makes this one of the best restaurants in Valencia.
3. El Racó de la Paella
For those wanting an authentic Valencian paella experience, look no further than El Racó de la Paella in the Campanar neighborhood. This locally sourced restaurant is a true gem, offering woodfire heat and only the freshest ingredients. You’ll be transported to the heart of Valencia with every bite.
One of their most popular dishes is the paella de bogavante, where the star of the show is lobster. The flavors blend together perfectly, creating a truly unique and delicious experience.
The chefs at El Racó de la Paella take great pride in their craft, and it shows in every dish. They use only the highest quality ingredients, sourced from local farms and markets. You can taste the difference in every bite. So why not treat yourself to a truly authentic Valencian meal at El Racó de la Paella? You won’t regret it.
4. La Pepica
If you’re craving for a delicious paella while enjoying the stunning view of Malvarrosa beach, La Pepica is the perfect destination for you. With over a century of experience, La Pepica has been serving traditional Valencian dishes, specializing in seafood and rice dishes.
La Pepica’s menu offers a wide variety of seafood, including fresh calamari, shrimp, and clams. Their paellas are cooked to perfection, with a generous amount of seafood and perfectly seasoned rice. The restaurant also offers a vegetarian paella for non-seafood lovers.
The restaurant’s ambiance is cozy and inviting, with a terrace overlooking the beach. And La Pepica’s history is also worth mentioning, as it’s been a favorite spot of famous personalities such as Ernest Hemingway and Joaquin Sorolla.
Overall, La Pepica is a must-visit place for seafood and paella lovers. With its fresh ingredients, traditional Valencian recipes, and stunning beachfront location, you’re sure to have a delightful dining experience.
5. El Trompo
El Trompo is another great paella restaurant in Valencia that’s definitely worth checking out. Located in Paseo Maritimo, right on the beachfront, this restaurant has been a favorite among locals and tourists alike for its unbeatable quality and service.
The location is equally unbeatable and you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that this is just a tourist trap, given the fact that it’s right on the beach. But, honestly, the food is excellent, with their seafood paella being a must-try, with generous portions of fresh seafood cooked to perfection.
Aside from their paella, El Trompo also serves other Mediterranean and European dishes that are worth trying. From grilled octopus to homemade croquettes, their menu has something for everyone.
6. Restaurante El Graner
If you’re looking for a traditional paella experience in Valencia, Restaurante El Graner is a must-visit. Located in the charming village of El Palmar in Albufera, the original home of paella, this family-owned restaurant has been serving up delicious paella for over 30 years.
The menu at El Graner is simple yet authentic, with paella being the star of the show. The different types of paella they sell are cooked to perfection in a wood-fired oven.
Plus, the decor here really emphasizes just how traditional the place is. You’ll see all sorts of tools used back in the day for getting the amazing food you find now.
I have to say that I’ve also had all i pebre (which is made from eel – I know how it sounds, but stay with me here!) here as a main dish once and it was, frankly, spectacular. If you’re visiting Valencia and want to try something truly traditional that’s not necessarily rice-based, then this could be a good alternative.
7. La Riuà
La Riuà is a fantastic family-run restaurant, located in Valencia’s picturesque historic center, that’s won numerous awards for its delicious paella. Once you taste it, you’ll understand why.
La Riuà offers over a dozen different varieties of the famous rice dish, including their popular vegetable paella. This dish is a vegetarian’s dream, packed with fresh and flavorful vegetables that are cooked to perfection.
But whether you choose the meat or vegetarian version, all ingredients are sourced from local markets, ensuring that they are of the highest quality and freshness.
Aside from the food, what makes La Riuà special is its authenticity. The restaurant has a warm and welcoming atmosphere, with traditional Spanish decor and friendly staff who are passionate about their food. You’ll feel like you’re eating in a local’s home rather than a touristy restaurant.
8. Restaurante Flor de Valencia
Restaurante Flor de Valencia has been around for over 100 years and has built a reputation for serving some of the most delicious paella, as well as other related dishes, in the city.
(Seriously, I tried the arroz negro – black rice – here and it was superb.)
Restaurante Flor de Valencia is also one of the few restaurants in the city itself that still cooks its paella over a wood fire. This traditional cooking method gives paella a unique flavor that you won’t find anywhere else.
Whether you’re a fan of the classic Valencian paella or prefer something a little different, like the arroz negro, you won’t be disappointed by the quality of the food at this restaurant.
9. Casa Roberto
Paella lovers can’t miss Casa Roberto. This restaurant has been serving the original recipe of Valencian paella for over 40 years, and it’s safe to say they’ve perfected it. The restaurant is located in the trendy Ruzafa neighborhood, and it’s always buzzing with locals and tourists alike.
When you arrive at Casa Roberto, you’ll be greeted by friendly staff that will make you feel right at home. The menu offers a variety of paellas, from the classic Valencian paella to mixed and vegetarian options. The portions are generous, so make sure to bring your appetite.
The star of the show, of course, is the Valencian paella. Casa Roberto uses only the freshest ingredients, including locally sourced rice and saffron, to create a dish that is bursting with flavor.
The rice is perfectly cooked, and the combination of rabbit, chicken, and snails (yes, snails!) is simply divine. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the black paella, which is made with squid ink and has a really unique taste.
10. El Forcat
El Forcat was one of the first places I ever tried paella in Valencia and it still remains one of my favorites. In fact, I almost considered not including it in this article so that I could keep it all to myself!
But how could I do that to you, especially with how good the food is here! The paella options are incredible, but they also serve fantastic fideuà here if you feel like branching out slightly.
And what makes this place even better is the fact that the atmosphere at El Forcat is so warm and welcoming, with friendly staff who are happy to help you choose the perfect dish. The restaurant is also reasonably priced, making it an excellent choice for a delicious and affordable meal.
(Given it’s located smack in the middle of El Carmen, it could also be a great choice of lunch if you’re looking for food during Las Fallas but don’t want to stray too far from the action.)
11. Restaurante Bon Aire
Restaurante Bon Aire is definitely worth a visit if you’re planning a day trip out to Albufera (which you definitely should if you’re visiting Valencia). Located in the charming village of El Palmar, this restaurant has been serving up delicious paellas for over 50 years.
The menu at Bon Aire is focused on traditional Valencian cuisine, with a variety of paella options to choose from. The Valencian paella, made with chicken and rabbit, is a must-try, although the seafood paella is also a popular choice, with fresh seafood cooked to perfection.
You’ll also get a great view here over the Albufera lagoon, meaning you’re going to be gazing upon the very place where the rice you’re eating was grown. It’s basically as locally grown as you can get!
For those wanting an authentic and delicious paella experience, Pasqualet in El Palmar is a must-visit. This restaurant has been serving up some of the best paella in Valencia for years, and it’s no wonder why.
From the moment you step inside, you’ll be greeted with a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and the enticing aroma of freshly cooked rice and seafood. Of course, the rice dishes are incredible, although the seafood options here deserve just as much attention as the paella, with fresh and flavorful dishes like grilled octopus and mussels in white wine sauce.
Pasqualet is super local and unpretentious, where the focus is on the food – and, at the end of the day, what more could you want out of your lunch spot?
13. Puerta del Mar
Now, one thing you’ve probably been told is that you should only eat paella for lunch. Tell a Valencian that you plan to have paella for dinner and you’ll instantly be launched into a monologue about how the only time to eat paella is in the middle of the day and any other time means you’re going to be stuck at the most touristy restaurant in town.
While it’s certainly true that paella is traditionally eaten for lunch only, if you’ve only got a few days in the city and are short on time, then you might face the choice of eating paella for dinner or having no paella at all. And we all know what the correct option there is!
So Puerta del Mar has some of the best paella in Valencia, including at dinner time. Yes, it’s aimed at tourists, but the food is legit, so you don’t need to worry about getting stuck at a tourist trap.
The traditional paella Valenciana is just as good as you’ll find at any more local restaurant during the day, but you’ll have a tricky choice to make between that and the seafood version.
Step into a world where rice is royalty and every dish tells a story, welcome to Navarro! Located in the heart of Valencia, Navarro is a culinary institution steeped in tradition, with a family legacy that spans over seven decades.
Here, their Paella Valenciana is more than just a dish, it’s a celebration of the local culture and gastronomy. From the authentic Valencian rice to the locally sourced ingredients, Navarro’s paella is a tantalizing explosion of flavors that dances on your taste buds.
Yet, it’s not just the paella that’s worthy of your attention. The restaurant’s warm ambiance, friendly staff, and extensive wine list all contribute to the overall unforgettable dining experience.
15. Arroceria Maribel
Picture this: you’re sipping on a crisp, cool glass of white wine, basking in the Mediterranean sun, surrounded by the intoxicating aroma of paella cooking over an open flame. Sound like a dream? Well, it’s reality at Arroceria Maribel.
Arroceria Maribel is a hidden gem nestled in the outskirts of Valencia. This family-run establishment has been serving up some of the best paellas in town for over three decades.
What’s their secret? Tradition. Each dish is carefully prepared using age-old recipes passed down through generations.
Their Paella de Marisco (seafood paella) is a crowd-favorite, boasting a symphony of flavors from the sea that perfectly complements the subtly aromatic saffron-infused rice.
But the magic of Arroceria Maribel isn’t limited to the plate. The restaurant offers stunning views over the lush Valencian countryside, providing a serene backdrop for your culinary adventure.
16. Alquería del Pou
Welcome to Alquería del Pou, where the rice is rich, the atmosphere is inviting, and the paella is legendary! Set in a beautiful old farmhouse, Alquería del Pou offers a unique dining experience that fuses rustic charm with modern elegance.
This is a place where the chefs’ love for paella is evident in every bite, as they source their ingredients from local markets and use traditional cooking techniques to ensure the most authentic taste.
The result? A paella that’s deeply satisfying, bursting with the bold flavors of the Valencian countryside. In fact, you’ll almost feel like you’re in the countryside given where this is located – even if, in reality, you’re basically next door to the City of Arts and Sciences!
The cozy, relaxed atmosphere at Alquería del Pou is perfect for a lazy lunch with friends. And with the friendly staff on hand to recommend the perfect wine pairing for your paella, your dining experience is sure to be nothing short of amazing.
17. Barraca Toni Montoliu
Step off the beaten path and into the inviting ambience of Barraca Toni Montoliu, where authentic Valencian paella is the order of the day, every day. This charming family-run establishment, located in the outskirts of Valencia, is housed in a traditional “barraca,” or Valencian farmhouse, offering a rustic and authentically local dining experience.
Toni Montoliu, the restaurant’s charismatic owner and chef, insists on using only locally sourced, organic ingredients in his paellas. The proof is in the pudding — or rather, the paella.
The standout dish here is the Paella Valenciana, with rabbit, chicken, and green beans, all cooked over an open fire for an unmistakably smoky flavor. It’s like a love letter to Valencia, written in rice.
The staff here is as warm as the Valencian sun, ensuring you’re well taken care of as you dine
18. Goya Gallery
If you’re a fan of art and paella, then Goya Gallery is your dream come true. Nestled in the bustling district of Ruzafa, this contemporary restaurant is where delicious cuisine and stunning art collide to offer a unique dining experience.
The paella at Goya Gallery is a masterpiece in its own right. Prepared with an innovative twist on traditional recipes, each dish is a flavorful work of art that tantalizes your taste buds.
In my opinion, the arroz negro (black rice) is a must-try here. Infused with squid ink and brimming with fresh seafood, it paints a canvas of tantalizing flavors and textures that you won’t forget anytime soon.
The captivating charm of Goya Gallery isn’t limited to the food. The walls of the restaurant double as an art gallery, showcasing a rotating collection of works from local and international artists.
So, while you’re savoring their exquisite paella, you can also feast your eyes on some stunning art. It’s an all-round sensory delight that you don’t want to miss!
19. Casa Salvador
Last but certainly not least, we have Casa Salvador. Located by the picturesque lagoon of L’Albufera, this restaurant has been serving mouth-watering paella since 1947, and it’s safe to say they’ve perfected the craft.
Casa Salvador’s location plays a significant role in their menu. Being by the lagoon means access to an array of fresh seafood, which finds its way into their paellas.
The paella de marisco (seafood paella) is their crowning glory. Each spoonful reveals a taste of the ocean, with succulent mussels, prawns, and calamari harmoniously blending with the perfectly cooked rice. It’s a symphony of flavors that sings Valencia’s praises.
But it’s not just about the food here. The panoramic views of the lagoon, combined with the restaurant’s rustic charm, create a peaceful, idyllic atmosphere that’s hard to beat. Dining at Casa Salvador is truly a multi-sensory experience, one that beautifully encapsulates the essence of Valencian gastronomy.
So, there you have it – the must-visit spots in Valencia for the best paella. Bon appétit – or as they say in Valencia: “Bon profit!”