“Where do you go for paella?”
“What is your favourite spot for paella?”
“Best paella restaurant in Barcelona?”
My inbox is full of these. I in turn, pester my most trusted local sources. The reason I defer to them is that I don’t often eat paella. I do buy the fat squat bomba rice and make plenty of inauthentic variations at home, closer to the controversial Jamie Oliver recipe than what you will get in the restaurants. (What can I say – I love chorizo.)
My self assigned task until next summer is to try 5 of the best. My go to when I have guests tends to be Barracuda in Castelldefels, as much for the rice as for the beach hut setting of the restaurant.Kaiku is another one I only hear good things about. I think it helps to eat paella and sea food with a vista of the sea and Kaiku delivers on this, complete with swaying palm trees. Inside the space has white washed wood panelling along the walls and utilitarian composite floor not often encountered these days. Runners and napkins hint that there is more to the place than meets the eye.
Indeed, Kaiku Barceloneta has a reputation for fresh seafood. They have their own organic vegetable garden from which they get things like courgette flowers and fennel.
I’m having lunch with Sara Larsson, a food photographer and author of Appetite & Other Stories. It’s a good thing too because the rice dishes have a minimum two person order. We have to have the chef’s recommendation that uses Carpier smoked rice which comes from the Ebro river delta. (€18.90 for 2 people). Under 1 cm of rice, 2 crustacea dancing in the centre, a crown of mussels around the side. All along, I sip a glass of Estrella with a skirt of heavy condensation.
It’s easy to love this kind of food, in this kind of setting and it’s always nice to share lunch with a friend.
Plaça Del Mar, 1