Foolproof Tips for Vegetarians and Vegans in Barcelona
Posted On June 2, 2016
Boasting some of the best cuisine in the world along with many decorated Michelin star restaurants and renowned chefs such as Ferran Adriá and Joan Roca, Spain doesn’t lack culinary excellence. Spanish gastronomy favors their meat and fish products, especially the famed jamón ibérico pata negra and many vegetarians and vegans in Barcelona will soon find out, it’s not so friendly to those looking to find a meatless meal in the city.
What you should know
Many restaurants will not make changes to the menu or dishes they serve. The usual salad without the chicken trick won’t always work here.
A bocadillo/bocata vegetal (vegetable sandwich in Spanish/Catalan) WILL have tuna, eggs or ham in it. Just put it in Google and you’ll understand what I mean.
Even if you say vegetariano (vegetarian) or sin carne (without meat), you may still end up with ham or chicken on your plate. Make sure to say no chicken, fish or ham specifically.
Don’t forget to do some research before your trip. Vegetarian and vegan restaurants are slowly popping up throughout Barcelona, make a list of them.
Spanish and Catalan vegetarian dishes
Tortilla Española (Spanish omelette) – A thick egg omelette with thinly sliced potatoes. Some also have zuchinni or mushrooms. Just be sure not to choose any with meat. Chorizo is quite typical.
Pebres de Padrón (Peppers from Padrón) – These small green peppers from an area in Galicia are sautéed in olive oil and salt. That’s it!
Torrada de verdudas (Toast with vegetables) – These large toasts are covered with different types of grilled vegetables and sometimes cheese.
Escalivada – Vegetables such as onion, eggplant and bell peppers are charred on a fire, then peeled. The typical Catalan dish is then created by adding the vegetables to olive oil and garlic before being cooled. It is a typical topping for salads. Make sure it doesn’t come with anchovies or cod, which are popular combinations.
Patatas bravas – Fried potatoes accompanied by aioli (A sauce of olive oil and garlic, sometimes with egg) and a mildly spicy brava sauce.
Paella vegetariana (vegetarian paella) – Bomba rice is cooked with vegetable broth, a variety of vegetables and saffron for its typical taste and yellow color.
Pa amb tomaquet(bread with tomato) – Prized Catalan coca bread, crunchy on the outside with a soft interior is rubbed with an open tomato and topped with salt, olive oil and often rubbed with a clove of garlic. The perfect and compulsory accompaniment to any meal.
Where to Eat
I’ve tried many vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Barcelona and there are quite a few with fresh ingredients and great tasting food. Even non-vegetarians will enjoy their meal. Not to mention, the unbeatable prices for the quantity you receive.
Veggie Garden (Vegan)
The set menu comes with bread, a glass of wine or water, an appetizer, entree and dessert. Their homemade hummus and curry platter called thali are always top sellers and the veggie burgers are also very good. The original location in the Raval neighborhood next to the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) is a great place to enjoy your food in the sunshine on the outdoor tables. The inside is quite small and it can get crowded during peak mealtimes. The second location is larger with the same great food and set menus and both are in central locations.
Address: Carrer dels Àngels, 3, 08001 Barcelona (Raval)
Gran Via de Les Corts Catalanes, 600, 08007
Price: €8.50 for set menu
Arc Iris (vegetarian with many vegan options)
Located off of the busy Diagonal Avenue next to Verdaguer metro station, the small corner restaurant is always busy during lunchtime, so it can be quite difficult to score a table. For solo travelers or couples, there are a few tables designated for people who don’t mind sharing a table with strangers. The menu consists of three small plates, water, bread and dessert. The plates are basic but tasty and the amount of food is sure to fill you up. The first and second plates are always different types of salads, soups or lentils. I had a really nice cheese and mushroom crepe as one of my courses and finished off the meal with a tasty coffee and chocolate pudding.
Address: Carrer de Roger de Flor 216, 08013 Barcelona
A great ambiance accompanies the amazing vegetarian food. Diners can choose between the set menu, which includes a salad buffet, soup, dish of the day and dessert or for those who aren’t so hungry, there is also the option to have just the salad buffet (weekday lunch €7.75) or plate of the day (weekday lunch €6.95). For around the same price, there is also a platter of tapas, which includes an olive tapenade, hummus, guacamole and vegetable sobrassada served with whole wheat bread.
Price: Lunch – €10.45 for a set menu on weekdays, €12.45 on Saturdays and holidays. Dinner and Sundays – €15.45
A few others worth mentioning:
Self Naturista (vegetarian with a few vegan choices)
This cafeteria style restaurant in the Gótic neighborhood is in a very central location, perfect for a quick meal. There is a menu of the day for €9 which includes a certain set of choices. Individual plates can get quite expensive if you don’t opt for the menu of the day. Self Naturista serves Spanish food like vegetable paella, mel i mato (ricotta cheese with honey and nuts), crema Catalana (similar to creme brûlée) and a variety of salads.
Address: Carrer de Santa Anna, 15, 08002 Barcelona
Hummus Barcelona (vegetarian)
Located near the shopping street, Passeig de Gràcia, this café is also very central. The set menu includes a soup or salad, main course, pita bread, drink and dessert or coffee. One of the most ordered plates is their shakshuka, a tomato and vegetable sauce with poached eggs.