Best Paella In San Francisco – One of 15 pork paellas at Bellota in San Francisco, CA. Accessed July 15, 2016. John Story/Special to The Chronicle Show more Show less
2 of 15 The door to Bellota, the new Spanish restaurant at Soma, owned by the Absintha Group, in San Francisco, California, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. Interior designer Kendall Wilkinson worked on the restaurant’s design. Featured in Laura Morton/Chronicle Show More
Best Paella In San Francisco
A portion of the dining room overlooking the open kitchen is seen in 3 of 15, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, at Bellota, the new Spanish restaurant at Soma, owned by Absinta Group, in San Francisco, California. Kendall interior designer Wilkinson worked on the design of the restaurant. Laura Morton/Special to The Chronicle Show more Show less
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4 of 15 Bar Colin Nicolas pours a cocktail while working at Bellota, Absinta Group’s new Spanish restaurant at SOMA, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, in San Francisco, California. Interior designer Kendall Wilkinson worked on the design of the restaurant. Laura Morton/Chronicle Show More Show Less
5 of 15 DVDia Paella, a two-in-one paella with a tuba on one side and a fidua on the other, sits on one of the sofas at Bellota, the new Spanish restaurant at Soma, owned by the Absinthe Group. In San Francisco, California. ., Thursday, November 17, 2016 Interior designer Kendall Wilkinson worked on the design of the restaurant. Laura Morton/Special to The Chronicle Show more
6 of 15 mussels at Shakewell’s in Oakland, CA. Watch Sunday, October 19, 2014. John Story/Special to Chronicle Show More Show Less
7 of the 15 dinners were at Shakewell’s in Oakland, CA. Sunday, October 19, 2014. John Story/Special to The Chronicle Show more Show less
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8 of 15 Owners Tim Nugent and Jen Beist of Shakewell in Oakland, CA. Viewed on Sunday, October 19, 2014. By John Store/Special to the Chronicle Show more Show less
9 of 15 employees at Initiative Media and Food Network hosted a holiday luncheon on Thursday, November 14, 2013 at Coquette in San Francisco, California. Liz Hafalia/The Chronicle Show more
10 of 15 at Coquette, San Francisco, California seen in 2013 Monday, June 10.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 Dine at Zarzuela in San Francisco, CA from 3 to 11 p.m.
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12 of 15 at Inside La Marcha in Berkeley, CA. Accessed January 21, 2015
15 Calamares Fritos in La Marsha, Berkeley, CA. Accessed January 21, 2015
14 of 15 The Pella Mixa at La Marsha in Berkeley, CA. Accessed January 21, 2015
15 of 15 The Squid Ink Paella at La Marsha, Berkeley, CA. Accessed January 21, 2015 by John Story / Chronicle 2015 Show more Show less
La Marcha In Berkeley: Paella, Perfected
I recently reviewed Barcino in Hayes Valley and several readers emailed me asking for more Spanish restaurants I could recommend.
A few Spanish restaurants have opened in the last two years. Some of the newcomers top my list, but one of my oldest favorites, Zarzuela, which has been in business for over 20 years on Hyde Street in San Francisco, offers a more traditional look. Some, like Commissary, are great and use food for inspiration, but it’s more California than Spanish.
Here are five of the best Bay Area rolls. Each offers paella, tapas and a good time.
This restaurant and Barcino belong to the Absinthe group, but Bellotta has a fully proven execution. The large restaurant, which opened last year at Airbnb’s headquarters in the Design District, is beautifully decorated. In my opinion it makes the best paella in the Bay Area.
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I also love bravas (extra thin fries), whole fried fish and gin/tonic, where diners combine the two main ingredients.
Jen Beastie cooked in San Francisco for many years and decided to create a Spanish theme with her partner, Tim Nugent, when she opened in Oakland about three years ago. Although the menu has since become more diverse, it still offers exceptional preparations.
Four paellas stand out, with more caramelized rice at the top of the dish than at the bottom. Other dishes to order are octopus with salsa verde, olives, Calabrian peppers and chorizo; Fried chicken with fenugreek yogurt (ok, not all Spanish, but it’s enough for me).
Diners enjoy dinner at Coquette, Monday, June 10, 2013, in San Francisco, California. Exclusive to John Story/Chronicle
Looking For A Great Paella In Barcelona? We Tell You Where
The Spanish cuisine here is shaped by a Northern California sensibility, and with views of the Bay Bridge from some of the windows, the combination makes sense. Everything is good, but the restaurant is known for its beans, chicken, grilled branzino, grilled olives, Meyer lemon curd, and gaucho meat. I also appreciate the paella made with serrano chiles and seafood broth.
This is Paella a la Valencia photographed on Wednesday March 25, 2015 at Zarzuela in San Francisco, California. Special to Randy Lynn Beach/The Chronicle
Chef-owner Lucas Gasco seems to always be in the kitchen, and the food is always good. Some popular small plates include fried mushrooms, fried shrimp with olive oil and garlic, and squid navel. Consider the rich beef stew and zarzuela, a seafood stew.
The interior looks like something you’d find in Barcelona, but the cable cars whizzing by outside let you know you’re in San Francisco.
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La Marcha, which opened in Berkeley two years ago, is a paella destination in the East Bay.
Owners Sergio Emilio Monleon and Emily Sarlate launched Ñora Cocina Española’s mobile stream in 2013 and quickly became known for the excellent paellas they served at special events and off the grid. Many are featured in their restaurant, but my favorite is the arroz negro ($32). Bright black rice with squid ink combined with sardines, fennel sausage, beans, piquillo peppers, salmon roe, breadcrumbs and anchovies. on the surface.
The menu consists of about 25 taps, including croquettes in several flavors, bison balls, and piquillo peppers with goat cheese. At La Marcha, which opened last fall on San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley, the star is Pella.
Owners Sergio Emilio Monleon and Emily Sarlate started Ñora Cocina Espanola as a mobile restaurant in 2013 and quickly gained popularity for their large rice-filled paella served at special events and off the grid.
Paella Y Pa’mi Restaurant
La Marcha’s paella is truly unique. It takes about half an hour to prepare and serves two to four. Most popular is the Paella Tres Cerditos ($28), sliced pork shoulder in the center of saffron-scented rice cooked with chorizo, smoked belly, leeks and lima beans. Paella Valenciana ($30) consists of rabbit, snails, green beans and sprigs of rosemary, with slices of duck breast in the middle.
My favorite and deepest, however, is the Arros Negro ($32), where black rice is glazed, topped with squid ink, and served with baby clams, fennel sausage, beans and piquillo peppers. Baby salmon with anchovy flakes scattered on top. The flavor explodes in the mouth, adding another layer of complexity to the dish with the only paella broken into the bottom of the rice. The menu also offers a traditional paella mixta ($26) with shrimp, chicken, chorizo and red bell pepper strips.
As challenging as the rice dishes are, many customers at La Marcha head straight for the tapas on the menu, where the 25 or so options include patatas bravas ($7), fried potato cubes with cream and smoked Calabrian nora. Chili sauce Piquillos rellenos ($7) are topped with goat cheese and flavored with a honey apple vinaigrette; Salted cod fries ($9) served with pistachio and hazelnut romesco.
Chicken wings have become the hamburger of 2016 and almost everyone has them, regardless of the type of food. La Marcha’s version is one of the best. The wings ($8) look like they’re attached to a mini roll thanks to the bright golden sheen of garlic and pepper, and are topped with a light white chili sauce of bay leaves.
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The meatballs ($9) also come out on top; Tender beef from wild boar seasoned with cherry tomato cream, manchego cheese and yellow guindilla pepper vinegar.
Octopus ($10) is boiled in three piles on a thick plate, layered with hot chilies and piquillo peppers, and accented with pickled red onions. Either way, these well-prepared dishes have ingredients that refresh the palate and make every bite enjoyable.
For dessert, the gluten-free chocolate cake ($8), topped with a spoonful of whipped sea salt chocolate, is dark and intense, but not overwhelming. Churros ($7) are crunchy like a pretzel, and olive oil cakes ($8) are rich with saffron-pistachio ice cream ($8). Actually, I think it should