Authentic Spanish Paella in South Beach

Paella—that hearty, somewhat pilaf-like rice dish incorporating some combination of meat, seafood, beans, and vegetables—is one of the iconic Spanish foods beloved the world over, and certainly one of the most beloved fixtures of the Tapas y Tintos menu! There’s never a wrong time to order our Paellas for Two, pairing their soul-warming goodness with a glass of Sangria, perhaps, or a cold cerveza.

To whet your appetite further, let’s review a quick lesson in paella history and tradition!

Paella: One of Valencia’s Gifts to the World

Paella comes indelibly associated with the state of Valencia on Spain’s eastern Mediterranean coast. The dish—named after the word for “pan”—developed in the wake of the Moorish introduction of rice to the Iberian Peninsula, a Valencian tradition thereafter arising to combine the grain with fish, vegetables, and spices. Meat eventually became part of the picture: Early Valencian paella recipes commonly used water voles, although we can’t vouch for the flavor (and, to be clear, we don’t use that particular ingredient here in the Tapas y Tintos kitchen).

Paellas can be basically divided between meat versions involving, say, chicken or duck and seafood paella, although snails are customarily used in both and these days “mixed paellas” (mar y montaña) combining meat and seafood are widely eaten.

Because it can be cooked with such a plethora of ready-to-hand ingredients in such ample quantities, paella makes a popular family meal in Spain, often enjoyed on Sunday get-togethers. As frequently whipped up in home kitchens as it is, paella’s time- and labor-intensive cooking process means it’s also a staple menu item at restaurants.

There’s also a tradition in Spain of eating paellas on Thursdays, though the origin of this custom isn’t entirely clear: As this Culture Trip article notes, it may be a function of restaurants making big orders on Friday and thus being compelled to use up provisions the day before, or of the fact that house servants were often Thursdays off, leaving more well-to-do families to dine out that day for lack of a domestic kitchen staff.

Paellas at Tapas y Tintos

Whether it’s the “traditional” Thursday or Sunday or any other day of the week, we’ve always got our signature house paellas here on the Tapas y Tintos menu. They include our Seafood Paella (Paella de Mariscos), our Meat Lovers Paella (Paella de Carnes), and our striking Black Rice Paella cooked with squid ink (Paella Negra en Tinta de Calamar).

You won’t find a better lunch or dinner to tuck into together anywhere in South Beach, we’d argue, than a Tapas y Tintos Paella for Two—especially if you ease into it with some appetizer-style tapas plates! Come join us here on Espanola Way for some authentic Spanish paella: We know you’ll be back for more once you’ve tasted our take on this Valencian classic.