Known as Spain’s national dish, Paella comes in a variety of styles and flavors. We learned this while speaking to locals in Castellfedels, a beach village in Costa Brava where we stayed for 2 weeks. They recommended we stop and visit Valencia, the birthplace of the paella, flamenco and oranges before we head north towards Madrid. They said is a “kid-friendly” city and we would have a blast there. However, before heading to Valencia we decided to give paella a try while in Castelldefels. So we drove down to the beachside with kids in tow and stopped by a local seafood restaurant called Marisqueria Rangel.
The menu was simple, but full of seafood delicacies which were hard to ignore since it seems every local in the city was having lunch while we were there. At first, the kids only wanted to eat paella because they missed eating rice so much. But after watching all of the locals order the fresh seafood, recently fished from the sea, we added more to our order than usual. Little did we know, Castelldefels would have such wonderful seafood!
As we scanned the menu, we noticed they served 3 types of paella;
1) Paella Valenciana, which is made with either chicken or rabbit, snails, beans, saffron, rosemary, green vegetables and sometimes lemon.
2) Paella De Marisco, which is a seafood paella. It is the most popular paella ordered by tourists in Spain and usually includes prawns, calamari, mussels, fish and calms.
3) Paella Mixta, which is a combination of both chicken or meat and seafood with vegetables and sometimes beans.
We had our hearts set on the Paella Valenciana, but our waiter kindly advised that we must try their Paella De Marisco since we were, near the sea. So we went with this recommendation along with Sangria for Mom and Dad and deep fried sardines and calamaris.
Within 10 minutes our our meal we were stuffed! The paella was incredible and the kids loved it so much they scrapped the burnt rice from the bottom of the paella pan and then had the nerve to ask for more. We probably would’ve order another one, but since paella is made fresh – that would take another 25-30 minutes.
Paella truly is a kid-friendly dish and a must try when visiting Spain. If your children don’t eat seafood, ask your waiter to make a vegetarian version or just a chicken version. We found most restaurants in Spain are very accommodating when it comes to children and food choices.