bar pintxo on santa monica just past ocean ave does a daily paella, which justly delicious in it's own right , but more akin to a risotto than a paella, i.e., no soccrat (crunchy bottom burnt rice- the best part) the other night it was filled with sepia and colored with their ink and we almost licked the bowl but for the server taking it away too fast! to tell the truth, i hate waitng for a table there, nevermind, the place is awful. really.
Get on the 405, bypass the westside, and head to Harbor City for paella at La Espanola market.Saturdays and Sundays only.Call in ahead of time and you will have a wonderful paella with tapas, can buy Spanish wine from the market to go with your meal, and do some shopping for specialty foods from Spain while you are there.
If you're sticking to the westside, I would find a Latin restaurant that does arroz con pollo as a substitute, like a Cuban arroz con pollo,Colombian arroz de mariscos,etc.Outside of La Espanola paella is pretty bad here in LA.
The Harvest/A Votre Sante has a surprisingly good one (surprising because until their recent merger, A Votre Sante wouldn't have even tried to do paella, and I hadn't realized until this week that The Harvest was still churning out their best dishes (beef pizza, paella, short ribs).
I'm a Paella nut.
Ocean Ave.'s paella - SKIP
La Paella's paella - SKIP (believe it or not)
Bar Pintxo - SKIP
A Votre Sante - haven't tried it (yet)
My vote goes to the takeout paella (served in a styrofoam box) available on Saturdays only (and by phone pre-order on Friday) at La Espanola.
Totally agree with streetgourmetla below...
More paella to SKIP (I "took one for the team" at these places):
Spain Restaurant (Glendale Blvd.)
Bar Celona (Pasadena)
Any Versailles (good arroz con pollo, terrible paella)
And the WORST paella in L.A. award goes to: Palomino EuroBistro (Westwood) - soggy yellow cardboard.
Most restaurants fear customer impatience. Guess what a decent paella requires? Patience. Therefore, many restaurant paellas are wayyyy to soggy. And many restauranteurs use long-grain rice (gads!) instead of medium or short grain rice for their paellas, which is another no-no for the purists out there.
Obviously, any homemade paellas will have more "love" built in, but this Chowhound board compares restaurant experiences.