Paella is a Spanish dish that has been a favorite among Filipinos for generations. It’s a flavorful and filling dish that’s perfect for sharing with family and friends. Paella originated in the Valencia region of Spain, where it was traditionally made by farm workers who cooked rice over an open fire with whatever ingredients were available.
Today, there are many variations of paella, but the most popular is the seafood paella, which typically includes rice, saffron, chicken, seafood, and vegetables. There’s also Paella Negra, also known as Arroz Negro or Black Rice, a popular Spanish dish that originates from the region of Valencia. It is a flavorful and savory dish made with short-grain rice, squid or cuttlefish, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and a variety of spices and herbs.
The unique feature of Paella Negra is that it is made with squid ink, which gives the dish its distinctive black color and a slightly briny flavor. The ink is extracted from the ink sac of the squid, and it is used to color and flavor the rice. Just like any classic version, Paella Negra is typically served as a main course, often accompanied by a simple salad and a glass of Spanish red wine. It is a popular dish in coastal regions of Spain, particularly Valencia, where it originated.
READ: Have a Rice Day With These Paellas that are Oozing with Flavor
In the Philippines, paella is often served at special occasions and family gatherings, making it a beloved part of our culinary culture. In fact, my mom also shared her heirloom recipe for paella. Sadly, I couldn’t perfect it like the way she cooked it for us. I’ll get there, though!
So, whether you’re a paella connoisseur looking to try something new or satisfy cravings, read on to discover some of the best paella places in Metro Manila.
1. Las Flores
The first time I heard about this restaurant was from Macoy Dubs. If you’re a paella fan, Las Flores is definitely the place for you. One of their most popular paellas is the Paella Negra, which is a black squid ink paella topped with fresh squid and aioli. The squid ink gives the rice a unique and delicious flavor, and the squid on top is cooked to perfection. Another paella worth trying is the Paella de Verduras, which is a vegetarian paella made with seasonal vegetables, saffron, and a tomato sofrito. It’s flavorful, colorful, and perfect for those who prefer a lighter option.
Aside from paella, Las Flores also offers a variety of meat dishes. One standout is the Cochinillo, which is a slow-roasted suckling pig served with garlic potatoes and a side of mixed greens. The skin is crispy, the meat is tender and juicy, and the garlic potatoes complement the dish perfectly. If you love paella and cochinillio, choose their Paella de Cochinillo!
Their paella is a must-try, with perfectly cooked rice and a generous serving of seafood. The restaurant also has a great selection of tapas and cocktails, making it the perfect spot for a night out with friends. Aside from its food, it also shares updates on its events and promotions, making it a great source of information for anyone looking to dine at the restaurant or plan a special event there. The restaurant also features photos of its lovely decor and the vibrant atmosphere that can be experienced at Las Flores. Their main branch is located in One McKinley, BGC, but they also have other branches in Manila.
2. Hola Bombon
Hola Bombon is a Spanish-inspired cafe in Makati that’s perfect for a casual lunch or coffee date. Their paella is a crowd favorite, with a generous serving of seafood and perfectly cooked rice. The cafe also offers a great selection of desserts, including their famous churros, which are the perfect way to end your meal. Their Instagram account features colorful photos of their paella dishes, which include Paella Negra, Paella de Mariscos, and Paella Valenciana. They also showcase their other Spanish specialties like tapas, churros, and various meat and seafood dishes.
A few friends of mine who have already tried this restaurant described it as one of those “underrated places for paella.” Aside from its food, it also shares updates on its events and promotions, making it a great source of information for anyone planning to dine at the restaurant. They also feature photos of their lovely decor and cozy atmosphere, which adds to the overall dining experience at Hola Bombon.
3. Tomatito Manila
Tomatito is a Spanish tapas bar and restaurant that is located in BGC. The restaurant is known for its vibrant and fun atmosphere, inspired by the Andalusian culture of Spain.
Aside from paella, Tomatito also offers a variety of Spanish-inspired dishes, including croquetas, gambas al ajillo, patatas bravas, and tortilla española. They also have a selection of meat and seafood dishes, such as grilled octopus, slow-cooked beef cheek, and roasted lamb ribs.
In addition to its food menu, Tomatito has an extensive selection of drinks, including cocktails and Spanish wines. They have a signature cocktail called the “TomaTonic,” a refreshing drink made with gin, tonic, cucumber, and basil. Because of its lively and festive atmosphere. Tomatito is popular for casual gatherings, celebrations, and romantic dates.
4. Las Paellas
As the name implies, this restaurant has been serving classic authentic paella to Filipinos for 25 years now.
Las Paellas is a Spanish restaurant located in Quezon City that offers a wide range of authentic Spanish dishes. Upon entering the restaurant, you’ll be greeted with a warm and cozy ambiance that sets the tone for your dining experience. Their Paella Valenciana is a standout, with its generous serving of saffron-infused rice, chicken, chorizo, and vegetables. They also offer other varieties of paella, such as Paella Negra, a squid ink paella, and Paella de Mariscos, a seafood paella loaded with shrimp, squid, and mussels. To end your meal on a sweet note, they have desserts such as the Crema Catalana, which is a Spanish version of the crème brûlée. View their lip-smacking set of menus here.
Barcino is a Spanish restaurant that offers a wide variety of authentic Spanish dishes and an extensive selection of wines. With several branches across Metro Manila, including the one we recently visited at S Maison Conrad in Pasay, Barcino is a go-to spot for those looking to indulge in delicious Spanish cuisine.
We already tried their Paella de Pollo Setas topped with their specialty picada sauce, and it didn’t disappoint! With several branches across Metro Manila, including one in S Maison Conrad at MOA, Barcino is a go-to spot for those looking to indulge in delicious Spanish cuisine.
Their menu boasts an impressive selection of tapas, including the classic Tortilla Española, a Spanish omelette made with potatoes and onions, and the Chorizo al Vino, Spanish sausage cooked in red wine. They also have a selection of desserts, such as the Tarta de Santiago, a traditional Spanish almond cake, and the Flan de Huevo, a creamy egg custard.
Barcino is a great restaurant for those who love Spanish food and wine. With a cozy ambiance, delicious food, and excellent service, it’s no wonder why it’s a popular choice among foodies. View their branches and menu here.
Dulcinea is a Spanish restaurant that has been around since the 1960s. This is one of the restaurants for ‘Titas and Titos” because of its cozy and chill vibe. With branches in various locations in Metro Manila, including SM Megamall and Greenbelt 1, Dulcinea is a well-loved destination for those who crave Spanish cuisine. For mains, they have a range of dishes such as the Paella Valenciana, a traditional Spanish rice dish loaded with chicken, rabbit, and vegetables, and the Pollo Iberico, which is grilled chicken served with roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes.
One of their signature dishes is the Churros con Chocolate, which is a Spanish-style doughnut served with rich, thick chocolate sauce. Another popular dish is the Lomo Adobado, which is tender pork loin marinated in a blend of Spanish spices and then grilled to perfection.
Curious to know more about their offerings? Check out their Facebook page here.