We had seven adults enjoy dinner at Paella House on John Young Parkway in Orlando. It is easy to drive to as it is only about a half mile north of the interchange with the Greenway, the east west expressway in south Orlando that goes south of the airport. We made reservations for a Wednesday and they had a large round table set for us when we arrived. The restaurant is located in a low end strip mall, nothing fancy.
The decor was simple and well done and we hoped the food would be even better. That turned out to be true!
Several opted for non-alcoholic drinks but the other five shared a pitcher of Sangria. It was tasty with very small diced fruit primarily apple and orange rind.
The menu is quite extensive with many variation of their signature dish, paella. Three decided to share a Paella Valenciana, the one that had no seafood. The size of the paella is made dependent on the number who order it. Most of the main dishes are made to order so expect about a 25 minute wait. Fortunately we were not in a hurry.
Several ordered hot tapas and a salad for their meal while I tried the cazuela de mariscos, billed as a savory sea food stew in a special marinara. I did not want any of the three starchy sides so I got an extra order of vegetables. The cazuela was loaded with shellfish and fish, and the steamed or perhaps sautéed vegetables, consisting of coarse cut broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, in other word a California blend. We also ordered fried calamari as an appetizer.
The cazuela was excellent, the vegetables healthy but nothing special, the calamari was clearly a mixture of some that were fried once and some twice, with the second, crisper and better tasting. Perhaps they should cook all calamari twice as one does to get crisp French fries. Those who ate the tapas and the paella were delighted with their choices. Most of us ordered a Caesar salad, good but nothing to write home about.
Our waiter, Richard, was attentive without being intrusive, in other words an excellent waiter. We all shared a flan as several in the party had never tried one. It too was quite good but no where near the very best I have had.
Overall, I would certainly recommend Paella House. Some dishes need a little work, such as the vegetables and Caesar salad, and the calamari could be a little bit crisper. The portions are more than adequate. I took half of my cazuela and vegetables home in nice repeatable cylindrical containers. There was also plenty of extra paella which went home in a different directions.
I was disappointed for the restaurant to see so few other diners. No more than two of the ten or so other tables were occupied while we were there though some came by to pick up take out orders. The main courses we tried were very good to excellent. If one is looking for very good Spanish food at a moderate price, Paella House is a fine place to dine.
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