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Tastiest Paella in Los Angeles

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  • tven1 Jul 20, 2013 06:58 PM

Where is it? :)

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  1. Check J.L.'s recommendations in this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/894356

    I had the seafood paella at Taberna Arros y Vi and wasn't impressed by it. It was good, but the rice was a little too... al dente for my personal taste (I'm not a paella expert so I don't know if that's proper preparation or not).

    And because it's more of a personal size entree, it seemed to lack the feeling of "abundance" in the amount of seafood that I've gotten at places where the paella serves 2-3. I know logically that makes sense that a paella for 1 would not be as "bountiful", but it was a feeling I couldn't shake. Like there was two mussels and two crab leg segments and some shrimp and that was it.

    I would like to try some of the other paella there, though, and the morcilla (blood sausage). I'll usually give a restaurant more than once chance unless my first experience was really awful, which it wasn't. Their tapas, like the fried pig ears and fried green tomatoes, were excellent!

    11 Replies
    1. re: PeterCC

      I will write more when I fully recover from the horror that was Taberna Arros y Vi last night if I can bear to relive it. The food was almost uniformly awful and the drinks were worse. Beer Sangria is the dumbest idea I ever experienced yet somehow the wine sangria sucked even more (minimally alcoholic cherry Kool Aid). The paellas was just terrible: wet, salty rice with lousy ingredients. The crudos (scallop and ahi) were vile, both the fish quality and the saucing. There were a few other terrifying tapas. My Madrileño friend kept asking if this was a joke.

      Like Peter I enjoyed the pig ears. My friends did not. I also like the fried potatoes (just simple house made potato chips with spicy salt). The rest is ...giving...me...the....dry....heaves....23 hrs later....

       
      1. re: Ciao Bob

        Sorry about your experience, Ciao Bob. Similar experience here when I went a month ago.

        I dislike doling out very negative restaurant reviews, so I just kept my mouth shut on this one. Maybe I should have warned you.

        1. re: J.L.

          Not your fault - in fact, I think you did, subtly. In any case, like Cobain/Winehouse/Joplin, we were hell-bent on trying it and nothing would have stopped us.

        2. re: Ciao Bob

          Wow Bob, my experience wasn't as bad as yours. I'm actually willing to go back, but I can see how you wouldn't ever again after your experience.

          What were the other tapas that you had? I'm mostly interested in stuff that hopefully can't be messed up too much like the fried smelt and maybe the baby octopus. I'm also hoping the morcilla would be easier to execute properly, as a sausage, than paella. Also the charcuterie. The salty watermelon cocktail wasn't bad.

          1. re: PeterCC

            Smelt - terrible as well. Greasy, no flavor.

            Octopus in a can - one of the few edible "dishes." Most likely because all they had to do was buy it, open it and put some grilled bread on the plate next to it.
            Did not try the baby pulpo.

          2. re: Ciao Bob

            Thanks for taking one for the team. =(

            1. re: ilysla

              This. Was excited when I heard about the place too

            2. re: Ciao Bob

              Sorry you had a bad experience. It happens. We went about a month ago and actually enjoyed it, but we ordered completely different things. After I learned that Perfecto Rocher (the esteemed paella chef from the Lazy Ox) was no longer involved, my expectations were so tamped down that we didn't even try any of the paellas. The Majorcan fish stew was pretty good, but the lack of any decent sangrias came as a surprise.

              1. re: DoogDoof

                I had Perfecto's (such a great name) Rabbit Paella at Lazy Ox - quite good!

                1. re: Ciao Bob

                  Following these paella threads, it seems Perfecto's skills are sorely needed here. I'm disappointed that he isn't part of Taberna, but it seems like there may be a good reason for that. I think he's at a new restaurant in MB or nearby.

                  1. re: DoogDoof

                    He's taking control of a place in Hermosa Beach according to this:
                    http://www.easyreadernews.com/72427/h...

          3. They don't always have it, but Ración does an interesting deconstructed paella.

            1. I have not done a taste test of all the paellas in Los Angeles. But that does sound like fun.

              Bar Pinxto's is very good.

              But I would check out this place.

              http://tabernala.com/

              4 Replies
              1. re: foodiemahoodie

                Just tried Taberna - paella was hm...just okay. No socarrat to speak of however, and I was really looking forward to that part. Not even close. Shoulda gone to Pinxto.

                1. re: foodiemahoodie

                  Is Bar Pintxo's Paella a special order item?
                  I can't find it in. their menu

                  1. re: selfportrait93

                    Just checked - you're right. They do it in a big pan, not individual orders.

                    They usually make Tuesday nights - and they make in front (outside).

                    Give a call - they might have it as a special on other nights (or maybe I've only gone there on Tuesdays).

                    1. re: foodiemahoodie

                      I just went to Bar Pinxto Monday night and squid ink paella was available as a special. It was $30 for a medium sized pan to share and was quite good. It came with large shrimp, squid, and I think a few mussels. I was pleased to see that they got the soccorat right. I would definitely have it again or try the Tuesday night paella.

                2. I like the seafood paella at Moro's.

                  1. After trying various places without much luck, I'd argue that the best paella in LA is the one my friends make a few times each year in their Silver Lake backyard.

                     
                    14 Replies
                    1. re: JeMange

                      Here's one of the paella tender.

                       
                      1. re: JeMange

                        Your buddy needs to make that a Farmer's Market stall!

                        1. re: Porthos

                          They do take it seriously, which means that the socarrat is amazing. Last year, he yelled at a friend of mine for stirring it and rightly so!

                          1. re: Porthos

                            Porthos,

                            Because I think you live in OC, Nick Weber at The Cannery turns out this fantastic paella with spot prawns from Pearson's. If my memory serves correctly, it was part of a multicourse meal and this was the second the last dish (murder on the wine pairing that late in the game). It's off menu, so one would need to order and place a deposit on it in advance.

                            One of the best I've had even compared to Spain. And it's right up there with what my aunt would whip up in Madrid.

                            I've never had it, but folks seem to like the paella made every Saturday at La Espanola in Harbor City.

                            Nick Weber's paella at The Cannery in Newport Beach pictured below.

                             
                            1. re: revets2

                              Thanks for the amazing tip!

                              I owe you bigtime!

                              1. re: Porthos

                                Back at ya', Porthos. Your reccs have been super helpful to me over the last year and it's greatly appreciated!

                                Ask him if he'll also serve you his uni/pork belly/shiso taco thingy. Actually, just give him a budget and have him do a menu for you. But he's procuring foodstuffs just for you, so you gotta commit. The other Cannery customers won't eat all that good stuff.

                                1. re: revets2

                                  Totally understand regarding special requests and the customer's responsibility in those cases.

                                  I couldn't find it on their website. Do you know what the corkage policy is?

                                  Thanks!

                                  1. re: Porthos

                                    Porthos, email me @ revets2@aol.com.

                              2. re: revets2

                                Paella at La Espanola is good. You can also order entire pans of paella for parties. Did this several times in the past for dinner parties and it worked out really well. It is correct, they only serve on Saturdays.

                              3. re: JeMange

                                My Baby did this one on the grill at home - far better than any I have had in restos as well.

                                 
                                1. re: JeMange

                                  And why do most restaurants insist on a seafood paella or a meatfood paella?
                                  I like mine with chorizo, chicken thighs, AND seafood.

                                2. re: JeMange

                                  Very impressive! I think your friends are onto something.

                                  1. re: JeMange

                                    There is no doubt that when it comes to paella, homemade is better than restaurant-made.

                                    But alas, this board is a restaurant-centric forum.

                                    1. re: JeMange

                                      ..and you can score us all an invite? Thanks, buddy! I'll bring the beer.

                                    2. Crossing fingers... http://la.eater.com/archives/2013/10/...

                                      14 Replies
                                      1. re: PeterCC

                                        Sounds like a must go. Paella, suckling pig, old wines. What's not to like?

                                        1. re: Porthos

                                          the name.

                                          1. re: linus

                                            S.O.S.

                                            As good as any other name.

                                            1. re: Porthos

                                              I like it too. Better than Smoke and Oil or Oil & Salt or Smoke + Salt... http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9049...

                                              1. re: Porthos

                                                mmmm...maybe not.

                                                anywho, who cares what the name is if the food is good, n'est ce pas?

                                                1. re: linus

                                                  C'est ça!

                                                  1. re: linus

                                                    "What's not to like?"

                                                    linus- "the name"

                                                    linus- "who cares what the name is if the food is good"

                                                    ??????

                                                    1. re: Porthos

                                                      Not that hard to reconcile. "I don't like the name, but I'm willing to overlook it if the food's good."

                                                      Yes, I know "overlook" =/= "who cares" but I think that's the general gist...

                                                      1. re: PeterCC

                                                        Uh huh.

                                                        1. re: Porthos

                                                          Come on, work with me. ;-)

                                                          Hey, BTW, any interest in a truffle gohan outing with kevin (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/920877)? Should we try to do the guy a solid if we can make it work?

                                                          1. re: PeterCC

                                                            Yeah, white truffle gohan will make Urasawa pricing look like a happy meal.

                                                      2. re: Porthos

                                                        so i don't like the name.
                                                        big deal.
                                                        it's not important.

                                              2. re: PeterCC

                                                Sounds lovely! Wish it were closer to home, but I'm glad that what sounds like a nice restaurant will be taking the spot of Angeli....

                                                1. re: PeterCC

                                                  I. Still. Go.

                                                2. ? Has anyone tried Geoffrey's in Malibu. They carry some really good seafood and serve Paella for dinner?

                                                  Seafood Paella
                                                  Prawns, Mussels, Manila Clams, Scallops, Chorizo, Chicken, Saffron Rice in a Seafood Broth

                                                  10 Replies
                                                  1. re: CharlesKochel

                                                    They use long grain rice (a no-no), and my paella order was soggy wet through and through when I got it - Might as well call it seafood risotto.

                                                    1. re: J.L.

                                                      How would you even make risotto with long grain rice? The starch just isn't there.

                                                      Most people who have not experienced real paella have no idea what to expect in terms of taste and texture.

                                                      1. re: JeMange

                                                        Totally agree, JeMange...

                                                        There was an event I attended years ago at the Spanish Consulate where they had a paellero from Spain make a large open-fire paella for about 100 of us guests in attendance.

                                                        Now THAT was great paella.

                                                        1. re: J.L.

                                                          Which reminds me, my paella making friends - see photos above - are doing another one one Friday. Whoopee!

                                                          1. re: JeMange

                                                            Jaloux, JeMange...

                                                        2. re: JeMange

                                                          The common misconception is that seafood + rice = paella. Soccorat, one of the main standards by which I judge a true paella, sadly seems to be something which is severely neglected.

                                                          1. re: DoogDoof

                                                            Agreed.

                                                      2. re: CharlesKochel

                                                        I wouldn't go to Geoffrey's for the paella. Wonderful ambiance and high quality ingredients? Check. Talented chefs? >Box remains unchecked< :-(

                                                        1. re: whiner

                                                          Like Nobu Malibu - Go for the ocean views...

                                                          1. re: J.L.

                                                            Exactly.

                                                      3. This weekend I was at the old Farmer's Market adjacent to the Grove and saw a Spanish stall which served Paella. Any word on this place?

                                                        14 Replies
                                                        1. re: bringiton

                                                          It's called Little Spain, and don't bother - their paella is mediocre at best.

                                                          1. re: J.L.

                                                            have you had the one with the noodles they do? saw someone eating it from the banana leaf next door-- it actually looked yellow salty crispy and good...not as good as the banana tho

                                                            1. re: J.L.

                                                              Still waiting on your gold standards for Valencia... ;-)

                                                              1. re: Porthos

                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9045... to whet your appetite...

                                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                                  Thanks for the link! PeterCC or Offalo had provided that link earlier.

                                                                  Turns out Casa Roberto is very tourity. Got a lead from some locals for La Pepica and El Palmar.

                                                                  Looks like JL is intent on keeping his favorites a secret. ;-)

                                                                  In the meanwhile I've already reserved paella for 4 for a party of 3 at Tar and Roses...only because we wanted to save room to order the pig tail and other a la carte goodies.

                                                                  1. re: Porthos

                                                                    Wait! Wait! I had to go back into my hard drive to find the name of the places I enjoyed in Valencia. My wife tells me our hosts took us to a place called Levante.

                                                                    For the black paella, we had it at Ca'Sento - My wife's friend mentioned in passing that it had closed since our visit a few years back.

                                                                    1. re: J.L.

                                                                      Thanks!

                                                                      The contenders will be Levante, La Pepica, and El Palmar then. Will cut out a meal from Barcelona so we can do all 3 (pending restaurant hours of course).

                                                                    2. re: Porthos

                                                                      And this report http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7573...

                                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                                        Covered: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8943...

                                                                        1. re: TheOffalo

                                                                          PeterCC lives! You & he should have a ChowMeet one of these days...

                                                                          1. re: TheOffalo

                                                                            Found this gem lurking in the deep shadows of the CH archives http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5137... and, while it's old (2008) it still looks like an absolute must read for this subject, and just generally if you are going to be going to this area of Spain.

                                                                            ADD: Same guy has a website http://www.gerrydawesspain.com/2005/0...

                                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                                              Servorg old buddy, you've outdone yourself. That link is better than gold! It's not only has all the places mentioned above but more. As it turns out I'll be in Alacante also so I'll be able to get going early on the arroz gluttony.

                                                                              Warning bells now going off on Le Pepica and I'm pretty sure La Matandeta is going to be in the mix.

                                                                              Thanks again. You're alright in my book! :-)

                                                                              1. re: Porthos

                                                                                Polo (Peter/Offalo) ever so lightly slapped me across my cheekiness with a virtual gauntlet with his "Covered" replies ringing in my ears - so I needed to choose my second (mc michael) and then it was Internet enabled devices at 30 paces, turn and fire into the CH archives! (g)

                                                                2. re: bringiton

                                                                  Haven't had the paella, but I went there to get the bomba rice when making my own. Their deli is not a bad place to go for Spanish ingredients Mid-City.