Paella in Manila: 12 Restaurants for Your Spanish Rice Cravings
Filipinos revere rice and love Spanish cuisine, so it's easy for us to adore the Paella. Spain's festive and colorful dish is bursting with flavors in every rice morsel and topping; it is best served hot on a paellera pan and also a perfect feast to share, making it a staple in many festive events and gatherings.
Chef J. Luis Gonzalez preparing appetizers and paella at ArroZeria
Paella, (pronounced as 'pie-ey-a') traces it origins to Valencia, Spain. It is a main course of rice simmered in flavorful broth combined with meat and vegetables making it a complete meal on its own -- starch, protein, and greens. The key to a perfect pan of paella is the kind of rice used, the stock in which to simmer the rice, and good quality of ingredients (meat/seafood) as topping. Slow-cooking is important, hence paella orders in restaurants usually take quite some time. The most common paellas that are easily found in most Spanish restaurants' menus are the traditional valenciana (and its many modern interpretations) with chicken and seafood, the squid-ink negra with its trademark black rice, and marisco/marinera or seafood paella. Another offshoot from paella is slowly becoming more recognized locally-- the fideua, a 'pasta paella' where short and thin vermicelli-like noodles replace rice.
Paella is traditionally served straight from the paellera pan where it is cooked
Century City Mall, Makati
FB: /arrozeriamnl | IG and Twitter: @arrozeriamnl
As its name suggests, rice is the hero at this Spanish restaurant specializing in paella. Paella at ArroZeria can be served in two consistencies: al dente and thin, or soft and wet. Traditionally, it is consumed the former in Spain, while locally (and as well as in other Asian versions), we partake of paella in a softer and wetter consistency.
- De Verduras (P275 - Seasonal vegetables)
- Valenciana (P295 - Chicken, rosemary, green and white beans)
- Abanda (P395 - Boneless fish and seafoods)
- DelSenorito (P395 - Boneless chicken and peeled seafoods)
- Pato y Setas (P325 - Duck and mushrooms)
- Caldoso (Soupy paella) De Cangrejo (P275 - Crab and snowpeas)
- Meloso (Saucy paella) in Cerdo Adobado y Boletus (P375 - marinated pork with porcini), Rossejat (P395 - chickpeas, beef shank, chorizo and pork knuckles), Marinero (P375 -fish and squid) and Carrilleras Estofadas (P450 - stewed beef cheeks)
- Paella of the Day (P275 - readily available, less waiting time)
2. Alba Restaurante Español
Bel-Air, Tomas Morato, Alabang, and MOA Complex
alba.com.ph | FB: /alba.restaurante.espanol
Serving Manila since the 1950s, it is one of the oldest Spanish restaurants in the metro. It's also a goldmine of paella, boasting of 18 varieties in their menu from classic flavors to new ones.
- House Specialties: Paella Valenciana (P490), Paella Marinera (P530), Paella de Bacalao (P690), Paella Negra (P550, and Paella de Cordero (P590 - Lamb paella)
- Paella de Gambas (P530 - shrimps & vegetables)
- Paella de Langostinos (P570 - prawns)
- Paella de Cangrejos (P550 - crabmeat)
- Paella de Verduras (P450 - vegetables in season)
- Paella Verde (P450 - green vegetables)
- Paella con Setas y Pesto (P450 - button mushrooms and pesto sauce)
- Paella Filipino (P490 - sisig & cochinillo)
- Paella con Tuhod y Batoc (P490 - stewed ox-kneecap and chuck)
- Paella y Parillada (P500 - grilled meats, seafood & vegetables)
- Paella de Pollo Finas Hierbas (P490 - chicken with fine herbs)
- Paella de Pato (P550 - duck)
3. Las Flores
One Mckinley Place, BGC
www.lasflores.ph | FB: /lasflores.ph | IG: @lasfloresph
A favorite haunt of mestizos and the posh who crave for tapas and modern Spanish and Basque fare, this popular BGC restaurant always recieves a great dinner, tapas, and sangria crowd.
- Paella de Marisco (P545 - seafood)
- Paella Negra (P495 - black rice with squid)
- Paella de Chorizo (P725 - assorted chorizos with aioli sauce)
- Paella de Pollo Rustidocon Verduras (P495 - vegetables and mushroom)
- Paella de Marisco do Barcelona* (P1,895 - octopus, scallops, prawns, clams, and mussels)
- Paella Negra do Barcelona* (P1,895 - octopus, scallops, prawns, clams, mussels, katsuoboshi flakes, and aioli sauce)
4. Casa Armas Tapas Bar Y Restaurante
www.casaarmas.com.ph | FB: /officialCasaArmas
Another authentic Spanish restaurant that stood the test of time is Casa Armas, founded by the late Señor Jesus Armas as delicious homage to his home country. The usual stars of feasts in this restaurant are the cochinillo (roast suckling pig) and of course, a big pan of their best-selling paella.
- Paella Valenciana (P1,050/P695 - pork, chicken, seafood and vegetables)
- Paella Marinera (P1,295/P795 - seafood)
- Paella Negra (P975/P635 - squid ink black paella)
- Paella Verdura (P790/P450 - vegetables)
- Paella Y Parilladas (P975 - grilled prawns, chicken breast, porkloin, button mushroom, and asparagus)
FB: /Tapellarestobar | IG and Twitter: @tapellarestobar
This Spanish resto bar located in Greenbelt 5's ground level is popular for their tapas and pintxos selection best paired with their lineup of wine, sangria and cocktails. For bigger cravings and bigger groups of people dining, their paella is recommended as every order is good for sharing.
- Arroz Sobrassada (P350 - Spanish chorizo with fine herb sauce)
- Paella de Cocido (P400 - cocido paella)
- Arroz a la Valenciana (P450 - chicken and vegetables, the Valencia way)
- Paella de Cordero (P495 - lamb and shiitake mushroom)
- Paella de Marisco (P600 - seafood)
- Arroz Manchego (P675 - chicken, asparagus, shrimp and Manchego cheese)
- Paella Negra (P595 - black paella)
6. La Tienda
www.latiendamanila.com | FB: /latiendarestaurant | IG @latiendaph
Makati seems to be a favorite city for Spanish restaurants, as yet another paella place in this lineup is located in Bel-Air, another popular neighborhood filled with food concepts. This old favorite, established in the eighties, presents Spain in many plates, bottles, and paelleras.
- Paella Mixta de La Tienda (P675 - chicken, pork, Spanish sausage, seafood)
- Paella de Verduras (P595 - artichoke, green peas, green beans, red or green pepper)
- Paella de Adobo (P645 - pickled pork and chicken)
- Paella Negra con Mayonesa Al Ali-Oli (P750 -squid, clams or mussels, shrimp, squid ink, on the side, garlic mayonnaise)
- Paella de Bacalao (P795 - salted codfish, artichoke)
- Paella de Mariscos (P695 - shrimp, squid, clams or mussels, sea crab)
- Paella Bogavante (P645 - lobster seafoods)
San Juan, Kapitolyo, and Salcedo Village
FB: "Calderon" | IG: calderontapas
This restaurant showcasing homestyle Spanish cuisine is homey and warm, and its first branch opened in San Juan's Calderon Street, hence its name. Calderón’s signature dish is the paella, it being one of the dishes that started it all.
- Paella Valenciana (P920/Pequeña 4 to 6 pax, P1,980/Mediana 8-10 pax, P3,880/Grande at least 25 pax) - named after the region of Spain where paella originated; comes with chicken, mussels, prawns, and vegetables
- Paella Negra (P780/Pequeña 4 to 6 pax, P1,500/Mediana 8-10 pax, P2,680/Grande at least 25 pax) - Catalan-originated seafood paella variation using squid ink with morsels of squid, topped with mussels and prawns
- Paella con Setas, Manchego y Esencia de Trufa (P1,120/Pequeña 4 to 6 pax, P2,260/Mediana 8-10 pax, P4,360/Grande at least 25 pax) -mushrooms, manchego cheese, truffle essence
This restaurant's approach to Spanish food is casual and affordable, making every day dining possible with filling meals that suit the P300 budget. Paellas here are reasonably priced, and good for sharing.
- Valenciana (P525 - saffron rice with chicken, pork, chorizo, seafood and vegetables)
- Marinera (P525 - saffron rice with clams, mussels, shrimps, and fish)
- Negra (P525 - black paella with grilled squid served with garlic mayonnaise
- Chicken and Mushroom Paella (P525 - classic paella with chicken, button mushrooms, asparagus, and chorizo)
9. Casa Marcos
Ortigas Home Depot, Tomas Morato, and Forbeswood Heights
www.casamarcos.ph| FB: /casamarcos | IG: @casamarcos | Twitter: @casa_marcos
Here's another oldie but goodie: Casa Marcos has been around since the 1940s, a family-run business proving that we've truly been deeply rooted in Spanish cuisine that surrounds itself with good company and warm ambiance.
- Paella Valenciana (P845) -chorizo, seafood, chicken, seasoned with paprika cooked over a slow fire
- Paella Marinara (P795) - classic all seafood paella
- Paella con Saffron (P895) - classic Valenciana cooked in saffron, giving it a lighter and more distinctive taste
- Paella Negra (P845) - a variety of seafood and vegetables cooked in black squid ink
Mega Fashion Hall
FB: /AlqueriaPH | IG: @AlqueriaPH
Situated in the foodie haven of Mega Fashion Hall, Alqueria is the first Spanish restaurant of the Sumo Sam group and its offerings of hearty entrees in generous servings prove to be a challenge in leaving extra space for the 'chocolateria' part of the establishment--dessert.
- Paella Negra (P398)
- Seafood Paella (P798)
- Paella Valenciana (P398)
- Paella Quezo Manchego (P398)
Arnaiz Ave. cor. Paseo de Roxas, Makati
Leave it to one of Manila's top chefs to serve you a festive spread of Spanish favorites. Chef J. Gamboa's restaurant opened in 1995, and since then has been a top pick for classic tapas and paellas, as well as the chef's signature creations.
- Paella Cirkulo (P895) - saffron, duck, pork, chorizo, sweet peppers
- Paella Marinera (P895) - saffron, sea bass, NZ mussels, clams, baby prawns, sweet peppers
- Paella Negra (P895) - saffron, baby prawns, squid ink, calamari, sea bass, leeks
- Paella Montaña (P895) - Portobella mushrooms, whole roasted garlic, asparagus, truffle oil
Also available as party platters (in a foil pain) for take-away: Paella Montaña (P2,685/10-12pax, P4,475/15-20pax); Paella Cirkulo, Negra or Marinera (P2,475/10-12pax, P4,125/15-20pax)
12. La Cocina de Tita Moning
San Miguel, Manila
www.lacocinadetitamoning.com | FB: 'La Cocina de Tita Moning'
A visit to Old Manila will make your senses travel back to our Spanish roots, and dining in this Manila ancestral home will give your palate an experience of turn of the century homecooking. Heirloom recipes served within an elegant old world ambiance is what you'll get inside the Legarda Ancestral home.
- Our Famous Paella Valenciana ("The Best Paella in town") - P5,000 15" paellera (15-17 pax), P3,000 / 11" paellera 8-10 pax)