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Best paella in SF?

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Suggestions for the best paella in SF? Have heard mixed things about B44. Zarzuela comes to mind. Any opinions?

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  1. I haven't had any great paella at a restaurant in SF since Vinga closed. Spoiled by homemade, maybe.

    I'd try Esperpento's, the fact that you have to order it for two or more makes me think they might do it right.

    At B44 I prefer the arros negra.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Apparently not at Aqua from the review in the Guardian.

      1. re: Lori SF

        They don't have paella at all.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          they did at one point.

      2. re: Robert Lauriston

        I had the arroz negra at B44 recently. It was OK but underspiced for my taste and the portion was too small for the price. I left still hungry :(

        1. re: friscofrog

          Arros negra isn't spiced with much but a ton of garlic.

      3. i've never had good paella in any restaurant here, or anywhere in the us for that matter. a spaniard foodie i know explained that paella is one of those things that just isn't designed for restaurant cooking. he claims that in most parts of spain, it's prepared in the huge paella pan ( can't recall the name of this) on a large wood fire outdoors. i've had it prepared this way in spain and in the us, and the difference is remarkable.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sfoperalover

          . B44 is just a nice dish with fish and stewish but I would hardly say it's great paella.
          My only experience having great paella was at a friends dinner party who knew how to make the real deal and in Barcelona.

        2. Patio Espanol does a decent paella. I think it's better than Esperpento, but haven't tried either in a few years. http://www.patioespanol.com/menu.html

          1 Reply
          1. re: Concetta

            I wasn't very impressed with Patio Espanol's. Not as good as the tapas, which aren't the best.

          2. Just wondering - has anyone had the Paella at the Spanish Cultural Center restaurant in SF? I went a long time ago but it was with two people. Can't remember if you had to order for a whole table or what. I think I had lamb. I remember seeing huge Paella pans.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ML8000

              That's the Patio Espanol as specified above. I was there a few months ago and though the paella was better than Zarzuelas. The other tip for Patio Espanol is that you can tell them how you like your paella (e.g. not soupy, etc). I thought it was a bit too soupy for my taste, but they said they could modify that in the future. So far Esperpento has been the best.

            2. The only thing I can think of is that sometimes Oakville Grocery in Healdsburg they have weekly paella feasts where they prepare it like sfoperalover above describes.

              1. Love B44. Haven't had the paella personally but a friend really like it. I absolutely love the noodle paella.

                1. We've always like the paella at Zarazula. However, it still isn't up to what I prepare at home and have been fixing for over 30 years. Had one at B44 and it was "alright", nothing special.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: rtmonty

                    Its surprising how many of us paella lovers have given up on Bay Area restaurants. Every time I break down and order it, we all agree to stick to homemade. I will admit, however, it took me years to get it right....semi-moist with soccarrat.