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Whether you're craving familiar favourites like paella negra or seeking out more adventurous iterations, you'll be spoilt for choice with these 10 picks

No matter the restaurant or variation, paella is just one of those dishes that warm the soul, satiate the stomach, and invite a celebratory enthusiasm. Originating in Valencia, the wholesome rice dish has found new life throughout Spain and beyond, resulting in a colourful array of paella variations around the world. In Manila alone, we are spoilt with a glorious variety of paella both classic and unconventional, demonstrating the neverending limits of this Spanish staple.

Explore the diverse and delicious takes on paella by these 10 culinary talents, from the timeless paella Valenciana to a tom yum paella inspired by the Thai soup.

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1. Txoko Asador

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Txoko Asador Paella
Above Txoko Asador's Paella Verdura

Bar Pintxos’ devoted diners will be happy to know that they’ve brought the same flavourful gusto to Txoko Asador - the fine dining concept by the same talented group. At Txoko, comforting Spanish fare is given an innovative twist, elevating everything from the beloved patatas bravas to their extensive paella selection. Of the latter, the paella verdura is a notable highlight. 

“There’s crunch from the blanched asparagus, then the earthiness from the mushrooms, and alioli to bring all those flavours together”, writes Jaclyn Clemente Koppe, observing that the delicious dish goes especially well with the restaurant’s cochinillo.

Read More: Culinary Review - Why A Meal At Txoko Asador Will Keep You Coming Back For More

2. La Picara

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Truffle and Mushroom Paella | La Picara Manila Official Facebook Page
Above Truffle and Mushroom Paella | Photo: La Picara Manila Official Facebook Page

Sure, La Picara offers the classics like paella negra, but their inventive creations certainly stand out. The tom yum paella creatively translates the hot and sour seafood soup into the shallow paellera, beaming with the fragrant flavours of the Thai staple. Meanwhile, the ever-popular truffle and mushroom paella is made even more indulgent with beautiful burrata begging to be sliced open to reveal its silky stracciatella centre.

3. Poch Camahort

Some days, nothing hits the spot quite like some lovingly-made home-cooked dishes… even if they come from someone else’s kitchen. Homecook Poch Camahort is Metro Manila's best-kept secret when it comes to traditional and tasty Spanish dishes. His paella selection may be remarkably lean, but each dish is infallible and guaranteed to delight. To inquire about his latest offering and place your orders, contact the self-monikered Cocinero Poch at +63 917 540 9980.

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4. Bueno Tapas & Wine

While this vibrant Spanish restaurant may put their bites and vino at the forefront of their brand, you’d be remiss to miss out on the decadent paella from Bueno Tapas & Wine. The chef personally recommends the paella de cochinillo con truffa with generous pieces of tender yet crunchy pork belly on a layer of truffle paella; and the arroz meloso de rabo de buey, a hearty non-traditional dish that presents beautiful melt-in-your-mouth oxtail atop a creamy risotto base.

Related: Chef Kennedy Alfonso Of Bueno Tapas Talks Authentic Spanish Food

5. Las Flores, Tomatito, & Rambla

Although these three hermana concepts do overlap, each restaurant imbues that Bistronomia flair to their own interpretations of Spanish eats. Las Florespaella pulpo with golden saffron aioli is perfect for fans of the meaty mollusc. From the young and funky Tomatito, try the mar y montanya fideua, a mouthwatering marriage of pork ribs, shrimp, aioli sauce and Spanish pasta in lieu of rice. Finally, pick up the paella ribeye from Rambla if you’re looking to tuck into some thick, succulent steak to accompany the grain.

6. Hola Bombon

Hola Bombon’s paella da pato makes for a truly memorable meal. The picturesque plate serves up prized, juicy Ernest Soulard duck breasts on a bed of rich mushroom rice, dotted with a spirited mustard aioli to perk up your palate. 

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7. Terry's Bistro

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Terry's Bistro and Gourmet Store
Above Photo: Terry's Bistro and Gourmet Store Offiical Facebook Page

Terry’s Bistro is a time-tested dining destination, gracing the stomachs and kitchens of discerning foodies for over a decade. Of all the appetising paella they offer, the eponymous JC de Terry spotlights the black paella with squid ink and seafood and the super paella parellada with a jumble of meat, seafood, and sausages as his favourites.

Feeling crafty? Terry’s also has make-your-own paella kits, fit with all the ingredients and equipment you need to try your hand at the dish.

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8. Paella de pio

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Paella de Pio Official Instagram Page
Above T-Bone Wagyu Paella | Photo: Paella de Pio Official Instagram Page

The trays of rice from Paella de Pio are the ideal “spoil yourself” dishes, with options that include Wagyu, foie gras, and even bone marrow. Take the T-bone Wagyu paella: flavourful rice topped with bone marrow, BMS 9+ wagyu striploin, a luscious balsamic glaze, bits of fried garlic, and crunchy Wagyu fat chicharon - paired with a beautiful glass of your favourite red wine, it sounds like the ultimate treat.

Read More: Where To Order Steak Rice Trays

9. Gallery By Chele

Without a shadow of a doubt, 2021 Tastemaker and all-around celebrated chef Chele González knows his food - especially the cuisine of his own heritage. Indeed, a meal at Gallery By Chele is an exquisite experience worthy of any gastronomic bucket list, but did you know that you can also enjoy their dishes from home? The restaurant’s at-home collection is brimming with stunning creations from the lauded kitchen, including paella Valenciana and paella de pato y seats, a smoked duck, mushroom, and shrimp paella.

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10. Cirkulo

As another famed gastronomic institution, Cirkulo by Tastemakers Malu and J Gamboa has served quality Spanish comfort food since 1995. Though the menu has evolved over time, fan-favourites like the signature paella Cirkulo - a festive frenzy of duck, pork, and chorizo with saffron, sweet peppers, and asparagus - continue to take centre stage. Considered to be one of their greatest hits, the paella montaña with portobello mushrooms, roasted garlic, asparagus, and truffle oil is another must-try.

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Cirkulo Restaurant
Above Paella Montaña | Photo: Cirkulo Restaurant Official Facebook Page
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