Taste: In Search of … Paella

We’ve found some good Spanish food around the city — and not just tapas.


Though the city has seen an explosion of delicious ethnic food over the past decade, good Spanish food — other than tapas — remains incredibly hard to come by. And paella, the traditional saffron-scented Spanish rice casserole, is no exception, with most versions featuring overly wet rice, cardboard-dry seafood, or way too much saffron. So we scoured the area and found three winning versions.

The Mom-and-Pop: Taste of Portugal

At $20, the paella at this casual restaurant just off the Boulevard is priced for one but sized for two. The small pot in which it’s served is crammed with saffron-infused rice, lobster, shrimp, clams, scallops, squid, chicken and pork cubes, and Portuguese chorizo, a mild paprika-scented sausage. 718 Adams Avenue, 215-535-8700; tasteofportugal.net.

The Extravagant: Amada

It isn’t all tapas at Old City’s Amada, but you’ll do best to order a few small plates to hold you over, since the $75 lobster paella, colored black by squid ink, can take 45 minutes to prepare. It’s served in a traditional wide, shallow paella pan, and the kitchen introduces the ­saffron flavor in an aioli coating crusty bread. 217 Chestnut Street, 215-625-2450; amadarestaurant.com.

The Deconstructed: M Restaurant

At this Washington Square spot, chef David Katz grills squid bodies stuffed with saffron rice and crumbled chorizo and plates them with braised Cornish hen legs, steamed lobster, cherry tomato confit and parsley gelée, all drizzled with smoked paprika oil. 231 South 8th Street, 215-625-2946; mrestaurant.com.