The best paella in Los Angeles doesn’t come from a traditional restaurant; it comes in a humble Styrofoam takeout container from La Española Meats, a Spanish meat market in Harbor City. “The cruel reality is that there is no consistently great restaurant paella in L.A.,” J.L. says. But the takeout paella from La Española is great—better than any restaurant in town, J.L. thinks. It’s only available on Saturday mornings and afternoons, and you need to call the store to preorder on Friday so it will be available for you to pick up the next day. If you want it still warm, pick it up early in the morning, suggests ns1—at 3 p.m. it’s likely to be cold. “It’s a bit of a drive, but it’s relatively cheap and is muy sabroso!” J.L. says.
Paella is a very sensitive dish, since it can turn soggy if it isn’t consumed right away. “When in Spain, authentic (not touristy) Spanish restaurant servers actually get agitated when they announce that ‘the paella is ready’ and you don’t allow them to serve it … as it can get to the soggy stage and ruin their reputation,” says trvlcrzy. La Española uses a special kind of “dehydrated” rice for its paella to address this problem, trvlcrzy says. The rice comes in a blue box labeled “no se pasa,” meaning it won’t pass into a soggy state, and you can buy the rice by itself in La Española for your own paella experiments.
La Española Meats [South LA]
25020 Doble Avenue, Harbor City