In the bygone days of Valencia, the abundance of rice led to some magnificent makeshift meals utilizing the staple along with various other materials on hand. One of the dishes concocted was the perplexing paella, a palatable hodgepodge of sundry ingredients such as eel, beans, rabbit and more. Nowadays, you can find this festive favorite crafted with a stunning array of savory seafood, meats and vegetables. Here are five of Philadelphia’s favorite paella producing establishments.
Cuba Libre
10 S. 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 627-0666
www.cubalibrerestaurant.com

You can get your Cuba Libre on in Atlantic City, Washington, or Orlando. But why bother when the original is right here in Old City, Philadelphia? The ornate decor instantly transports the diner to a tropical climate where a cornucopia of cuisines from different ethnicities have coalesced into a tasty Criollo blend of toothsome panache. If you want the big daddy of Cuba Libre’s paella delights, go for the Seafood Paella, which features jumbo shrimp, little neck clams, mussels, Mahi-Mahi fillet, squid, baby octopus and saffron long grain rice.

Mixto
1141 Pine St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 592-0363
www.mixtorestaurante.com

As its name suggests, Mixto offers the patron a culturally mingled meal manifesto. A visit to this magical eatery offers options ranging from Cuban to Latin American to Caribbean delights. The wholly immersive environment abounding in a classic warmth promises to deliver a one-of-a-kind dining experience. If your food quest is a search for the best, the Paella Vegetariana is served up with saffron broth, rice, chickpeas, green peas, carrots, zucchini, shitake mushrooms, plum tomatoes, broccoli and asparagus.

Jamonera
105 S. 13th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 922-6061
www.jamonerarestaurant.com

Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran commandeered the corner of 13th and Chestnut Streets back in 2002 to open what would become a Best of Philly housewares store. After that, the culinary couple went on to conquer Philadelphia with a fabulous résumé of savory successes in diverse flavor worlds that ranged from Mexican fare to artisan chocolate paradise. Jamonera features fabulous foods such as Fava Croquetas and Charcuteria, but the Paella Mixta is a stunner with mussels, chicken, shrimp, calamari with chorizo, pork belly and Calasparra rice.

Related: Top Spot For Burritos In Philadelphia

Bar Ferdinand
1030 N. 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(215) 923-1313
www.barferdinand.com

Talk about epic—Bar Ferdinand’s owner, Owen Kamihira, claims the abbreviation O.K. is actually derived from his name. After 15 years as a restaurant designer and consultant, O.K. united his love for Spanish culture with his desire to create an “anchor” establishment in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia. He dreamed of creating a destination that featured, according to his bio, “great tapas, wine and conversation.” He did just that with his Bar Ferdinand. His exalted chef, David Ansill, brought his 26 years of experience to the table to create such masterpieces as the Paella Valenciana, which is made with Bomba rice, shellfish, chicken and chorizo.

Valanni
1229 Spruce St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 790-9494
www.valanni.com

Valanni brings the hip factor to Mediterranean and Latin fare. The sleek and sexy establishment is positioned on prime real estate just a block from the Avenue of the Arts in the center of town. Besides the sinisterly seductive cocktails, the venue offers an extensive selection of tapas. You can get everything from bacon wrapped scallops to a hearty lamb burger. However, when it comes to rice treats, the Vegetarian Paella is the “Bomba.” Composed of roasted peppers, carrots, onions, asparagus, shiitake mushrooms, tomatoes, and, of course, saffron Bomba rice, this dish is so delish!

Related: Top Margaritas In Philadelphia

Allen Foster, a lifelong Greater Philadelphia resident, has been writing about all those wonderful things that make us feel so alive for over 20 years. He approaches each day as an adventure, eager to discover what new and vibrant surprises await just around life’s corner. You can see his work on Examiner.com.
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