Having passed the Gran Paella Valenciana restaurant at the end of a small parade of shops and opposite the harbour car park in Puerto Colon many times we wondered what the attraction was as there is ALWAYS a queue.
Having been out most of the day with friends, nobody felt like cooking so we agreed to give the Gran Paella a try, sometimes cheap and cheerful is all you need. We were early, as we did not bother going home after our day out but even arriving at 7.30 we still had to wait. We were hoping for a seat inside as it was getting quite chilly, little realising there is ‘no inside’. The seating area is mostly outside, apart from two tables next to the toilets and consists of plastic chairs and tables packed together. While we waited, we watched the waiters’ race between tables with no time to exchange pleasantries with the customers; we saw the size of the portions arriving at each table and empty plates returning to the kitchen.
Finally, we were shown a table between the next door’s wall and the plastic blind that stops the wind. Having stood outside for 15 minutes, we had already decided we would try the specials these were mainly faded pictures stuck on a board leaning against the wall on the opposite side of the road. I assume you are getting the picture; there is nothing posh about this place.
None of us wanted starters or puddings, there is no finesse about taking the dessert menu after the main, everything is done in one go. We therefore chose our pre-decided two mixed grills €5.95 and two sirloin steaks €6.95.
The mixed grill consisted of chicken breast, pork chop, lamb chop, steak, bacon, English sausage, chips and salad. All the meat was tender and the steaks were thick and juicy. In many restaurants, the steak alone would have cost three times the price. The portions were huge and we ended up taking home almost a pound of meat – so the dog was happy for several days. The salad was fresh and crispy and not just your usual tomato, lettuce and cucumber but sweetcorn, onions, and stuffed olive and the chips while they may have been frozen, I really don´t know, were thick and tasted good.
Although there was a continual stream of people waiting to be seated there was no pressure to rush. When we finally asked for the bill, which included six soft drinks and two large beers it was just €38 and came with 4 free ron miels just the thing for a cold night.
It’s name Gran Paella Valenciana suggests a certain foreign affinity but there is nothing foreign about this place, the only language heard is English but it is not pretending to be anything other than what it is. Good quality food, well cooked at a price everyone can afford.
If you want to sit inside and have a lovely view of the ocean, I would recommend the Vista del Mar which is two doors down from the Gran Paella. It does not have the same manic rush of waiters and you don´t have to queue outside, yet it is owned by the same family, prices are the same, the food and quality identical and for me a better choice, as being nosey I tend to watch the comings and goings in the Gran Paella rather than concentrate on my food!