Barcelona’s Vegetarian Restaurants
We preview some of the city’s best meat-free eateries
By Jessica Bowler
Barcelona’s vegetarian eating scene is burgeoning – at long last. We pay a visit to some of the city’s favourite bars and restaurants for scoring veggie and vegan cuisine.
Being a vegetarian in Barcelona, or anywhere else in Spain for that matter, isn’t always easy. This is a country whose association with meat-eating is legendary and whose record on animals rights is hardly exemplary (just think of bullfighting and the running of the bulls). Indeed, apart from the odd rice or seafood dish, traditional Spanish cuisine involves almost exclusively bread and meat. Even tapas restaurants, with their wide variety of dishes, leave little room or invention for vegetarian food, preferring to concentrate on any number of ways to cook the same animal.
The good news is that Barcelona is a bit different from the rest of Spain. The capital of the autonomous region of Catalonia – where recently bullfighting has been banned – the city is a bit more progressive and European in its thinking, compared to the deeply traditional south for example. A city full of immigrants, expats, Bohemians and intellectuals, there are enough different ways of life in Barcelona to support a decent-sized vegan and vegetarian dining scene with some truly high quality and creative cuisine. Check below for some of the restaurants where you can eat eco-friendly food in BCN.
Vegetarian & Vegan Restaurants
If you love one-of-a-kind restaurants, then you could easily find yourself falling for this wacky hang out in El Born. Amidst a chaotic ensemble of feline-themed furbishings, the Cat Bar serves up a wide variety of strictly vegan dishes. Quiches, tortillas and even vegetarian sausages and burgers are all on the menu and you can even order your coffee with soya milk. Click on the link above for reviews, photo and location map.
The motto at Flax & Kale is “Eat better. Be happier. Live longer.” The meals they serve are all based around this concept, and are created both for taste and nutritional value. The menu is nearly entirely vegetarian, with the odd fish dish, and includes creative meals like raw vegan lasagnas, Thai-inspired curries and plenty of veggie-packed salads. It’s all so tasty even the most devoted carnivores will enjoy a meal here.
By no means a vegetarian restaurant in the strictest sense, this lively and rather hip tapas joint in Gracia does nonetheless have some great veggie options. Alongside some of the more regular dishes you’ll find in any tapas bar in Barcelona there are a variety of pasta dishes, inventive salads, tortillas and of course patatas bravas.
Placa Sol 12
Needless to say that if you’re after gourmet vegetarian grub, this expanding global chain is not the place for you. However for a cheap lunch, be it a quick falafel or a sturdy helping of salad it can be a life-saver. You can find two very central branches in Barcelona, one on Las Ramblas, the other on the lively Carrer de Ferran in El Gotic.
La Rambla 95 and C/Ferran 13
This colourful spot just around the corner from the MACBA and CCCB museums is certainly tough to miss with its eye-catching decor. With a long list of smoothies and freshly-squeezed fruit juices, they also do a great line of dishes inspired by Nepal and India, as well as veggie burgers and salads. Their three-course lunch menu is great value at just €8.50.
C/dels Angels, 3
Though the menu isn’t especially lengthy, Salterio is still a firm favourite with the veggie crowd in Barcelona. The Moroccan food they serve includes quite a few vegan options, and the portions are generally quite large. One of their most popular dishes are their flatbreads, which come stuffed with cheeses and vegetables. They also offer a tea menu and Middle Eastern pastries.
C/Sant Domenec del Call, 6
Located in the Eixample district just a few streets away from the sights of Passeig de Gracia in a residential area, Mian has authentic Chinese food. It’s all served tapas style, with plenty of vegetarian options on the menu as well as meat and fish dishes, making it a good place to go with a group. Their dumplings, made fresh every day, are particularly delicious.
This all-vegetarian joint in the very hip Sant Antoni neighbourhood specialises in tapas and Italian food, much of which has innovative twists on classic dishes. You can choose from a regular menu or a chef’s tasting menu. They also give you a free tapa with a drink!
C/Sant Antoni Abat, 52