Ah, the paella – I would write a haiku about it if I could, for how passionately I feel about it. For those unfamiliar, this carby dish originates from Valencia, Spain, and is a rice dish packed with flavour. Usually, what makes up a paella is, of course, rice, vegetables, chicken, seafood, saffron, and sometimes chorizo sausages. Most non-Spaniards consider this dish to be the national food of Spain, but it’s actually not, though it certainly is popular.
While it’s a relatively easy dish to cook, to achieve that authentic taste, you’ll still need plenty of practice, and having the right pan helps too. If you’re not one to slave away in the kitchen but crave this heart-healthy dish, this list is made for you.
Sapore, Kuala Lumpur
Tucked away near the Ampang lake is Sapore, an Italian Spanish-Mediterranean restaurant bar. Since 2017, this spot has been serving some of the best artisanal food and fine wine, and their many popular selections include paella. Their version is done with a generous topping of Spanish pork and seafood, and is only available on weekends.
Address: 18 Persiaran Ampang, Desa Pahlawan, 55000 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +603 4266 6362
Cava, Kuala Lumpur
Jalan Bangkung is no stranger to the food scene. Though its shoplot area is limited, this street in the suburban part of Bangsar has seen some outstanding restaurants come and go, and one that’s stood the test of the pandemic is Cava. This tapas and wine bar serves modern and traditional Spanish dishes and a fine selection of Spanish wine.
Take your pick from four different variations of the paella – their signature Squid Ink Paella, which is topped with prawns, squid, and clams, to name a few; Old Cava-Style Seafood Paella for the traditional way it is often served, but with a special ingredient – cili padi pesto; Chicken and Beef Chorizo Paella if you want an option sans seafood; and for the vegetarians – Grilled Vegetables Paella.
Address: 71 Jalan Bangkung, Bangsar, 59100 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +603 2093 6637
La Bodega, Kuala Lumpur
Who can forget the OG of all things tapas in Kuala Lumpur? Though its flagship outlet in Bangsar, once famed for its Ladies Night and Paella Sundays, has closed down for good, you can still check out La Bodega’s other six outlets in Kuala Lumpur – Oakwood Hotel & Residences, Menara LGB, Menara Hap Sent, Hotel Maya, Damansara Heights, and Ampang Jaya.
For those who are paella connoisseurs, you’ll be familiar with just how good La Bodega’s version is, and those who have never tried – what are you waiting for? Their Chicken Jambalaya Paella is rich in flavour, big enough to serve two people, and of course, comes highly recommended.
Address: 222 Jalan Ampang , Taman U Thant, 55000 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +603 2011 8525
O’Galito, Kuala Lumpur
Shopping at Pavilion over the weekend? Treat yourself to a nice hearty lunch at O’Galito, located on the concourse floor of the shopping mall. The service here is fantastic, and the food is worth the price you’re paying. Don’t know which paella to try? Let us help you out. Their Arroz Negro De Paella is served with a generous amount of calamari and prawns, so you can’t go wrong when opting for this!
Address: Lot C3.05.00 Connection Level 3 Pavilion Shopping Mall, Jalan Raja Chulan, Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +603 2141 0418
Marta’s Kitchen, Kuala Lumpur
A list about paella honestly wouldn’t be complete without Marta’s Kitchen, a restaurant and bar that’s become synonymous with Spanish cuisine in the Kuala Lumpur food scene. Ask anyone about a place that serves great paella, and you’ll often get Marta’s Kitchen as the recommendation. The choice is up to you, and there are four different types to choose from, but their Valencia Paella is their most famous choice as it comes with chicken, vegetables, and lots of seafood!
Address: The Signature, 3 Jalan Sri Hartamas 22, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +603 6411 0832
Cafe Deli by El Meson, Kuala Lumpur
Looking for authentic Spanish fare? Well, look no further than Cafe Deli by El Mason. My personal favourite has got to be the outlet in Bangsar, but you can choose whichever is closest to you. Honestly, there is just so much to love about El Mason besides their paella, but it’s definitely the star of their menu.
Without a doubt, order their Paella Mixta, a beautiful concoction of Spanish rice, saffron, black mussels, prawns, pork shoulder, seabags, and chorizos! If you’re feeling cheeky, pick any one of their refreshing sangrias to accompany your hearty meal.
Address: 61 Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar, 59100 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +603 2282 8290
El Cerdo, Kuala Lumpur
A pork lover’s dream, El Cerdo serves some of the best home-cooked style flavours from the Caribbean, Mexico, and Europe. Expect a meaty menu that will not disappoint and top-notch service to boot. Having been around since 2005, El Cerdo’s food has remained consistent, with customers coming back for more and earning the restaurant its many accolades.
Big enough to feed three people, their Mountain Paella certainly lives up to its name – generous portions of bacon, chicken, slices, assorted mushrooms, chicken sausages, and semi-cured chorizos will satisfy even the fussiest eater. Worth the 40-minute wait, that’s for sure!
Address: 43 & 45 Changkat Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +6013 309 4197