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Best paella in SF?

xscientist Feb 22, 2007 10:24 AM

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

  1. Robert Lauriston Feb 22, 2007 10:35 AM

    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
      Lori SF Feb 22, 2007 12:03 PM

      Apparently not at Aqua from the review in the Guardian.

      1. re: Lori SF
        Robert Lauriston Feb 22, 2007 12:05 PM

        They don't have paella at all.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston
          Lori SF Feb 22, 2007 12:06 PM

          they did at one point.

      2. re: Robert Lauriston
        friscofrog Feb 22, 2007 04:35 PM

        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
          Robert Lauriston Feb 22, 2007 05:03 PM

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

      3. s
        sfoperalover Feb 22, 2007 12:12 PM

        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
          Lori SF Feb 22, 2007 12:22 PM

          . 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. c
          Concetta Feb 22, 2007 01:46 PM

          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
            Robert Lauriston Feb 22, 2007 01:49 PM

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

          2. m
            ML8000 Feb 22, 2007 01:55 PM

            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
              Mari Feb 22, 2007 01:58 PM

              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. m
              Maya Feb 22, 2007 02:15 PM

              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. anna Feb 22, 2007 03:07 PM

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

                1. r
                  rtmonty Feb 22, 2007 05:12 PM

                  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
                    OldTimer Feb 23, 2007 07:57 AM

                    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.

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