A classic and popular dish hailing from the Spanish region of Valencia, paella usually features saffron rice, chicken, rabbit and vegetables – though it can also sometimes include seafood or chorizo sausage – and it’s incredibly tasty it has to be said. Luckily for us, London has some of the best Spanish food on offer outside of actual Spain, so what better place to dig in then? Here’s our rundown of ten spots to find the best paella in London:
Set right in the heart of Shoreditch, BiBo is a sophisticated spot in the Mondrian Hotel which rustles up some pretty fantastic Spanish fare. Chef Dani García – who hails from Andalusia – defines himself as ‘an artisan of flavour’ – and that’s more than evident in his menu, which features tuna belly with padron peppers and quail eggs and pulled oxtail stew among many other delights.
However, the real star of the show here is the paella. Choose from a roast chicken, octopus or veggie version, or if you’re really looking to push the boat out, why not go for the whole lobster version? Add in jugs of sangria and a fried-egg paella with cecina at the weekends – the perfect hangover cure – and you’ve got yourself one hell of a great venue.
You’ll find BiBo at 45 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3PT. Nearest station is Shoreditch High Street.
Next up on this best paella in London roundup is Laxeiro – a rustic, family-run restaurant on Columbia Road is a great spot to enjoy authentic specials from the north-west corner of Spain. Now in its 35th year, this friendly spot is a firm favourite among locals round this neck of the woods, and it started out as a lovely deli – the first of its kind in the East End.
They’ve got an eclectic array of tapas and hearty meat dishes – as well a killer wine list – and their paella is a tasty and traditional one with chicken, prawns, squid and saffron rice.
You’ll find Laxeiro at 93 Columbia Road, London, E2 7RG. Nearest station is Hoxton.
This is a great one if you’re south of the river and are looking for some really great paella. With restaurants in both Brixton and Battersea, Boqueria combines traditional Spanish tapas with a taste of more contemporary fare. Expect lively vibes and great cocktails at this whitewashed, authentic spot, which is named after Barcelona’s famous food market.
As you wine and dine, you’ll likely hear traditional flamenco music playing on the soundsystem, and you’ll be attended by a whole host of friendly staff who’ll be happy to help you figure out what you’d like from the menu. The paella here is of the traditional variety and is served in a rather generous portion – it’s also gluten-free too!
You’ll find Boqueria at 192 Acre Lane, London, SW2 5UL and at 278 Queenstown Road, Nine Elms, London, SW8 4LT. Nearest stations are Brixton and Battersea.
Heading out west now and you come to Tapinos in South Ealing – a stylish little tapas restaurant specialising in great wine and tapas. A local hangout, there’s everything here from mushrooms with garlic and drizzles of olive oil to battered squid rings.
Of course, the reason you’re reading this is because of the paella, and Tapinos really pulls out all the stops when it comes to that. There’s a veggie version here as well as a squid ink, chorizo, seafood and a mixed version too. We’re practically salivating at the thought of it!
You’ll find Tapinos at 114 S Ealing Road, London, W5 4QJ. Nearest station is South Ealing.
A family of modern Spanish restaurants from the Michelin-starred chef, Nacho Manzano, Ibérica is designed to emulate the tapas bars of Andalucía in terms of both cuisine and atmosphere. Bursting with character, their five London branches offer an eclectic mix of delicious food and fine wines – great if you’re looking to go on a date or hang out with some mates.
In terms of the paella, they rustle up traditional Valencian ‘dry-style’ versions. If you’re a seafood fan, make sure you go for the one with prawns, squid and even langoustines! Sign. Us. Up.
You’ll find Ibérica at five different locations in London. You can find out more here.
6. Jamon Jamon
A charming set of tapas bars found in Soho, Camden and Belsize Park, Jamon Jamon is really all about the food. As well as some pretty fantastic tapas – including patatas bravas, Jamón Ibérico and Galician-style sliced octopus – they’ve got you covered with their paella here.
There are six different kinds – including a vegan version – and they’ve also got the ‘negra’ – a delectable mix of black squid ink, shrimp and rice.
You’ll find Jamon Jamon at three different locations in London. You can find out more here.
7. El Pirata
“Quite simply one of my favourite restaurants” – high praise there from Fred Sirieix of First Dates fame. Well, who can blame him – it’s easy to see why. This iconic Mayfair-based restaurant boasts a whole host of dedicated regulars and even the occasional celeb too!
The mouthwatering array of food and friendly Spanish ambience will have you feeling like you’re in Madrid, not Mayfair, and they’ve got two kinds of paella on offer here – classic and seafood. Take it from us – it’s well worth a visit!
You’ll find El Pirata at 5 – 6 Down Street, London, W1J 7AQ. Nearest station is Green Park.
8. Arros QD
If you fancy some really delicious Valencian cooking, then make sure you make your way to the highly-recommended Arros QD. Chef Quique Dacosta – one of the ‘World’s 50 best chefs’ – explores the evolution of paella with mouthwatering seasonal rice dishes cooked over open woodfire stoves.
It’s the only restaurant in the UK ever awarded the ‘Cullera de Fusta’, which recognises the highest level of commitment to gastronomic Valencian culture – in other words, this is basically the best paella you’ll find in the UK. They’ve got everything here from Galician octopus leg to duck breast paella – and if you’re really looking to go all out, why not try the Iberian presa variety?
You’ll find Arros QD at 64 Eastcastle Street, London, W1W 8NQ. Nearest station is Tottenham Court Road.
9. Real Paella
Our penultimate addition to this roundup of the best paella in London is less of a restaurant and more of a pop-up, street food stall – and it’s bloody delicious. Based on Islington’s Chapel Market, they’ve got four different varieties of paella to choose from – including a vegan version – and you can mix and match for no extra charge. Best of all are the friendly staff who always give service with a smile! Winner, winner.
You’ll find Real Paella at 22 Chapel Market, London, N1 9EZ. Nearest station is Angel.
10. Mesón Callejón
If you’re looking for some bangin’ paella in London, then you could do worse than heading to Mesón Callejón. Tucked down an alleyway in Islington – which ‘callejón’ actually translates to – this cosy place is all about authentic Spanish fare, great wines and a familial atmosphere.
They’ve got a whole host of veggie and gluten-free options here, and their paella selection is bloomin’ second to none. Best of all though is their bottomless paella fiesta brunch, which runs on Saturdays and Sundays and only costs 31 quid. A steal if you ask us.
You’ll find Mesón Callejón at The Rear of 137 Upper Street, London, N1 1QP. Nearest station is Essex Road.
So there you have it – a roundup of the best paella in London. Go and fill your boots we say!