Best paella spot at the moment is Casa Delfin on Paseo del Born,36 . They do amazing rice dishes at lunchtime during the week and it´s always fit to burst with Catalans. Otherwise, in the evening they do a lobster paella broth to die for.
You could go to Barceloneta (10 minutes walk away) but it´s much more expensive and not nearly as good.
We are in Barcelona now and just ate at La Taverna Catalana based on your recommendations. I'm no paella expert, but the food was delicious (we ordered the Fideua/Spanish noodle paella and the arroz negra - each paella feeds at least 2 people and costs about 25E). It's really quite obvious that they cook it fresh, since we waited about 30 minutes and the kitchen is open in the back and we saw them cook it. It was delicious, and I definitely recommend this restaurant for paella.
Best advice i can give on Paella in Barcelona is if the restaurant has a menu type board out the front with pictures of different paella and there is a brand name "PAELLADOR" just keep walking. It is pre-made rubbish from an instant packet.
We saw this everywhere around La Rambla and had it a few times before we realised that it wasnt getting any better. The other give away is that you will find this not only at Spanish restaurants but also the Chinese, Italian, and what ever else.
We did finally find truly amazing Paella at "La Taverna Catalana". The address is Valencia 189 - 08011 Barcelona. www.latavernacatalana.com
They didnt speak much English, we didnt speak much Spanish but that added to the experience. The Paella was great!
so its true, you can get great Paella in Barcelona, just walk a few extra blocks ...
I would go to Barceloneta for good paella. It is a breezy and authentic neighborhood by the sea and, more importantly, is far enough from the Ramblas to have decent food.
These are two restaurants that are highly recommended in the local culinary guidebooks of the city. I've also been to these places and have enjoyed them.
L' Almirall Aixada, 23
The restaruant is by the sea and has outdoor seating.
Calle Ginebra, 15
Next door is a tapas place that may be a nice place to stop for a few drinks and a plate of patatas bravas. The place is always packed and very lively.
Passeig Isabel II, 14
This place is a bit on the touristy side but it is also well known among the locals and is famous for their rice dishes.
There are different variations of paella with Valencians claiming to make the only real version of paella. In the south, paella tends to be soupy with the rice thoroughly cooked through. Valencian paella is more al dente; the rice is firm, not sticky. My valencian friends test the integrity of a paella by seeing if the rice easily adheres to a wooden spoon. If the grains stick then the rice is overdone.
Paella is all about a well made stock and perfectly cooked rice. The flavor is in the stock, which is absorbed by the rice. It is not about fishing through the rice for large pieces of seafood or meat to eat. Many paella dishes look deceptively simple: a plate of rice with a few pieces of cuttlefish or mussels. But the focal point of a good paella is the rice.
I got a huge and tasty paella at Pitarra, a traditional Catalan restaurant,in the Bari Gotic at 56 Calle Avinyo.
The menu has some odd italian-sounding things on it, but ask the waiter about specials - we had a fantastic morel mushroom appetizer there, as well as a fantastic roasted goat.
I don't think it's touristy, although I think there were some other tourists in the restaurant during our meal. We were actually renting an apartment a couple floors above the restaurant, and there was a line to get into it on Friday night.
There's definitely good paella in Barcelona, though it's not the seafood-chicken-sausage stew that people in the US think it is. Euskal Etxea in c/Argenteria has a great arròs negre ("black" paella with chicken and rabbit) if you eat in the jatetxea (the restaurant portion in the back behind the pintxos bar).
There was a place up in Gràcia that had good arròs negre too, but I've forgotten the name of it... it was straight downhill from Parc Güell.
On summer Sundays, there are occasionally large outdoor paelleres selling their wares in La Boqueria or in the Plaça Sant Jaume.
re: Das Ubergeek
There are quite a few nice paella restaurants in Barcelona. Of very reliable quality is Lombardo on Rambla Catalumya 49, about 5 minutes walk from Plaza Catalunya. They do specials such as lobster paella and always have fideau, which are black noodles with cuttlefish and prawns. They´re very particular about their paellas and always seem to make a lovely fish stock so it´s not too strong, we love it !I think it´s a gem.
The Merindero de la Mari is also pretty good.