June 16, 2009

Eye on Food: La Paella

476 San Vicente Blvd., 323-951-0745
Scattered about Los Angeles, there are a few good tapas restaurants-- some that manage to capture the Andalucian tradition of serving small plates without the fuss and others that seem content to remind you that you're still in L.A. and yes, the menu does say $20 for 1 oz. of Mahon. But nestled on San Vicente Blvd. near the Beverly Center is a restaurant that serves tapas and traditional Spanish fare con gusto and charm as though you've walked into the home of family. Foremost, La Paella prides itself on its delicious, made-for-two paellas as owner Pasqual Franqueza hails from Valencia, the birthplace of this famous dish.  For a lighter meal, the tapas, from the Manchego con Membrillo to the Vieiras al Ajillo, are a delicious bit of Spain and perfectly paired with sangria or a cold glass of Alhambra. With Govi in the background (granted he's German) and candles on every table, La Paella is lovely escape from the pretentious pricey tapa joints. If you manage to befriend Pasqual, ask for his advice on a wine pairing for dessert. I'd go with the Crema Catalan.  

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