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Spanish Paella in West LA

would love recommendations on Spanish Paella in West LA. Prefer Rabbit, Crustaceans and Tadig Rice or bone in chicken legs. Tar & Roses serves it, but I have not tried yet ~ odds are its Gooooood. ~thanks in advance!

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  1. http://www.usalapaella.com/www.usalap...
    This place is in my to go to list. Worth checking out when I get the time and extra calories to spare.

    3 Replies
    1. re: selfportrait93

      wow. great find. thanks, will be checking it out soon.

      1. re: CharlesKochel

        I strongly second La Paella. I ate there a year ago and did a review on Chowhound, which you can read here.

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8352...

        It's a fairly long review, but in regard to the paella, here's my comments:

        "My male friend and I shared the seafood paella. This was outstanding, perhaps the best I've had. The flavors combined perfectly, and the mussels, shrimp, lobster tail (from a midget baby lobster) and other ingredients were super fresh. This was the real deal. The rice was fully infused with the seafood broth and perfectly cooked, AND used the correct grain of rice, (similar to arborio).

        I have had paella at other restaurants which were good but not nearly as authentic. Having spent considerable time in southern Spain I can attest to all of our dishes being the real deal."

        You'll be happy there.

      2. re: selfportrait93

        I went to La Paella with someone who is an expert on Spanish food - he said the squid ink paella is the most authentic he has found on the West Coast.

      3. Tar and Roses is probably the best.
        Bar Pinxto also has it I believe.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Ciao Bob

          I love Tar and Roses and have been wanting to try this, but the paella dinner is only available for tables of 4+ and has to be scheduled at least a week in advance. What was your experience? What kind of paella is it? What are the other 2 courses (appetizer & dessert, I assume)? Did you have any problems scheduling it? It sounds great.

        2. I guess the place mentioned in the article below hasn't opened yet?

          http://la.eater.com/archives/2012/04/...

          1 Reply
          1. re: ilysla

            Here's an update on this place. It appears to be opening soon:
            http://losangeles.grubstreet.com/2013...

          2. Surprisingly, Palomino in Westwood has a paella that is pretty good.

            1. I'm a paella fiend, so please remember what I'm about to say, though strongly worded, represents only my opinion.

              My love affair with paella began in the 1990s, when I first visited Spain. Since then, I've tried paellas in every friggin' restaurant that I've visited that offers it, from Valencia to Toledo to Sevilla to Pais Vasco to Galicia to Extremadura to Madrid to Barcelona (Mrs. J.L. hails from Spain, so I visit the in-laws in Spain and tour the country quite a few times per year) to Tokyo to Marseille to Buenos Aires to Tustin. Yes, I realize that while many of these places are not known for their paella, great paella can be made anywhere. Life is wonderful and has surprised me with serendipitous rewards, such as an absolutely sublime impromptu paella I found once in a local festival in Antibes, France.

              La Paella's paella, frankly, sucks. It should be a crime that the restaurant uses the word paella in its name. Believe me, since I live on the Westside, I SO want to like the paella at La Paella, but they keep disappointing me every single time (and I've ordered their paella Valenciana, paella mixta, arroz a banda and fideua on several tries).

              To be fair to La Paella, I actually DO eat there occasionally, but I now limit my orders to their very well-made tapas and a glass of wine or sangria. Admittedly, I've not had their arroz negro, so I may get that on my next visit there. Has there been any changes in chef or management there lately?

              My problem with so many paellas in L.A. eateries is a serious lack of socorrat (good socorrat takes time, and since many L.A. restaurants want to "turn tables" quickly, they therefore under-cook the paella). Other problems often include moist/soggy rice, placing too much emphasis on the topping rather than the rice (paella is first and foremost a RICE dish, people!), and (the worst of all paella sins) not using the correct rice in the first place.

              Persian tah dig is made from Persian long-grain basmati rice (while tasty, it's not an authentic Spanish paella rice).

              Palomino's paella isn't even worth mentioning. It was one of the most awful rice dish I've had in L.A.

              To be constructive, here are the top good paellas I've tried in L.A. (N.B.: I'm looking at these paellas through Spanish eyes (isn't that a Elvis or U2 song?), so we're not talkin' about Cuban paellas or Mexican paellas or South American paellas):

              1. Montefrio de Madrid, in Burbank (long since shuttered)
              2. La Espanola (takeout only, on Saturdays), in Harbor City
              3. Paella week with Chef Perfecto Rocher, back when he was helming Lazy Ox Canteen, in Little Tokyo
              4. Bar Pintxo, in Santa Monica
              5. Racion, in Pasadena

              Hope this wasn't too vitriolic. I apologize profusely if I've offended anyone - I get a bit passionate about my paella.

              By the way ilysla, Chef Rocher has parted ways from Michael Cardenas, so the Santa Monica Taberna Arroz y Vi concept hasn't yet materialized.

              12 Replies
              1. re: J.L.

                Thanks for the update.

                FYI for the OP, you need to order the paella at La Espanola a day ahead (or get lucky if they happen to have an excess, they did when we went once....).

                To J.L., I very much like the paella at La Espanola (it's the only paella I've had, actually....), but there was no socorrat AFAIK (assuming that it's analogous to tahdig, which I *have* had)....

                1. re: ilysla

                  True about the paella at La Espanola noth having much socorrat (I've seen a hint of socorrat only a few times in my nifty styrofoam box) - But still a very good paella, nonetheless.

                  1. re: J.L.

                    For the OC people: Ole Spain in Costa Mesa/Santa Ana (near the 55 and 405) is affiliated with La Espanola and makes a nearly identical paella on Tuesday and Friday for lunch. No real need to call ahead.

                    Pretty much identical and like J.L. noted about the La Espanola version, occasional boxes have nice soccorrat while many boxes lack it.

                    But the rice is still cooked very well and the toppings are great. The Ole Spain and La Espanola versions are slightly different but are both the best in their respective areas.

                2. re: J.L.

                  Thanks for the insight. I'm comparing the Spanish version, as I aslo fell deeply in love with Spanish Paella in Madrid, Zaragoza and San Sebasitian. I appreciate the rice lesson. What type of RICE is used in the traditional dish? Thanks, ck

                  1. re: CharlesKochel

                    "What type of RICE is used in the traditional dish?"

                    From the La Tienda web site "Sollana (also called Calasparra rice), and Bomba are the traditional rice used in making paella. They are grown in an area of Spain in the village of Calasparra which is in the region of Murcia."

                  2. re: J.L.

                    Thanks for your comprehensive and very informative post. I've been obsessed with paella ever since I found an amazing seafood paella in a town in the south of France. It was just a small sidewalk cafe and they were selling servings from a large pan. It was truly amazing and I have unfortunately been able to find anything comparable since.

                    I'm amazed how hard it is to find a paella with a good soccorat. Even people who should know better (restauranteurs, people who have travelled in Spain) ignore this essential element. According to your comments, even the paella at La Espanola doesn't have much of a soccorat.

                    Ciao Bob recommends Tar and Roses, and Bar Pintxo, which both sound promising although with limited availability.

                    I've tried to make my own a few times and although it's difficult, I think my odds of eventual success may be better than finding a place locally that can satisfy me.

                    1. re: DoogDoof

                      I, too, was on a quest and finally just made it myself. I found I could obtain soccorat on the backyard grill.

                    2. re: Porthos

                      Not J.L. and have never been to Spain, but sarabeths went a few months ago and posted some reports. First, during research she found this older post with a decent number of comments: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/757369. Then she made a specific request post, with just a few comments, but in the interest of never knowing what info might be useful: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/900676.

                      Here is her Valencia/paella report: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/904531

                      1. re: PeterCC

                        Thanks for the links!

                        Very much appreciated Peter!

                      2. re: J.L.

                        I'm well versed in authentic paella, and disagree with you on La Paella...but in fairness I've only been there once and it may have been a good day, vs. a less good day. To me the real gem WAS the rice, and they had it in spades.

                        But I'm glad to see someone who clearly knows his stuff give his opinion.

                        1. re: EarlyBird

                          Sounds like I need to try La Paella yet again...