This blog post was originally posted on March 1, 2018, and was updated on October 14, 2020.
If there’s one food many visitors to Spain immediately seek out, it’s paella.
However, the iconic rice-based dish isn’t as common throughout the peninsula as many tourists seem to think. In fact, it’s more of a regional specialty that hails from the city of Valencia on Spain’s east coast.
Outside of Valencia, many restaurants hawking paella are unfortunately tourist traps quickly reheating frozen rice (the good stuff takes time to cook!). Luckily, it is possible to find delicious, authentic paella in Seville, as well as other lesser-known Spanish rice dishes.
Here’s where to enjoy paella and rice like a local in Seville!
A quick primer on Spanish rice dishes
There’s a lot more to Spanish rice than just paella in Seville. Here are a few more incredible Spanish rice dishes to look out for—consider giving one of them a try!
- Paella: A Spanish rice dish traditionally made with chicken, rabbit, beans and occasionally snails, though now many recipes use seafood. Short-grain rice is cooked in a large pan in a thin layer, with a crispy, caramelized layer on the bottom called socarrat. All of the liquid is cooked out, making the end result on the drier side.
- Arroz caldoso: Where paella is dry, arroz caldoso is almost soupy—the name translates to “brothy rice.” It’s cooked in a deeper pan than paella and can be made with meat, seafood, veggies, or just about anything else!
- Arroz con pato: This rice and duck dish is native to the province of Seville, where the fertile plains between the Guadalquivir River and Doñana National Park provide ideal conditions for growing rice.
- Arroz negro: “Black rice” gets its name from the squid ink that the rice is cooked with! It’s usually topped with calamari and shrimp which provide a stark contrast to the dark color of the rice.
- Arroz a banda: A rice and seafood dish from Valencia, in which both components are cooked together and then served separately.
Where to eat amazing paella in Seville
La Paella Sevilla
Owned and operated by a Valencian family, La Paella Sevilla is home of the most authentic paella in Seville. Their menu is small, but that just guarantees that everything will be prepared to perfection.
In addition to delicious paella, they also serve up some lesser-known (at least among visitors) but equally delicious dishes such as arroz a banda and fideuà (think paella but with noodles instead of rice!).
You’ll have to hike a little ways away from the city center to get to L’Albufera, but the trek is well worth it.
Named for the lake region near Valencia where paella was born, this fabulous restaurant is a local favorite for paella in Seville. They offer more than 30 varieties of paella and other authentic Valencian rice dishes, all served in generous portions in the cast-iron skillet it was cooked in. The prices are practically unbeatable for the quality as well.
To minimize your wait time, be sure to call ahead and order your paella in advance so it will be ready when you arrive.
El 3 de Oro
Since 1917, El 3 de Oro has served up both traditional Andalusian dishes as well as some of the best paella in Seville. Its traditional, old-world decor prove that not much has changed here in over a century.
All of their dishes are lovingly prepared with fresh, local ingredients for a true farm-to-table experience (or sea-to-table, in the case of their exquisite lobster paella!). However, no matter if you choose a hearty rice dish or some of their delicious, smaller tapas, you’re sure to leave happy.
Located just a few blocks to the east of María Luisa Park, Otaola is famous for its artisanal rices and tapas. A true hidden gem in the Porvenir neighborhood, they offer around 30 kinds of excellent quality rice, and you can’t really go wrong with anything on the menu. This spot is quite popular among locals in the know, so it’s best to call ahead and reserve to make sure you get a spot.
Restaurante Rio Grande
With a privileged location right on Calle Betis along the banks of the Guadalquivir, Rio Grande is unmissable both for the food and the vibe. This place does an excellent job of combining an upscale ambiance with the same classic dishes that generations of sevillanos know and love, including a fantastic selection of rices. Try the vegetable paella or the local duck rice for a truly unforgettable meal.
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Life is too short to speak one language and stay in one place. In 2015, this philosophy took her from familiar Ohio to sunny southern Spain. Usually drinking tinto de verano, reading Lorca, or attempting to dance flamenco (not all at once). Follow her blog, Viatic Couture, for more.