Compared to big cosmopolitan megalopolises like New York and London, vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Spain can seem a little, well…outdated. The wonderful creativity embraced in the best of New York’s multitude of vegan restaurants has sadly yet to be embraced in Spain – a country proud of its food and in no hurry to change.
Saying that, new vegetarian and vegan options seem to be popping up in the city all the time. They might be a little behind London, and a lot behind New York and LA, but it seems like in the last year, or so, Spain, well, Barcelona, is really getting the hang of the whole organic and health food thing embraced so vehemently elsewhere.
Whilst there are vegan restaurants in town, most, if not all vegetarian restaurants either offer vegan-friendly meals, or are able to modify their dishes in order to make them vegan friendly.
Here is out non-exhaustive list of some of the main vegetarian and vegan restaurants currently in Barcelona:
C/ Roger de Flor, 216
C/ Sicília, 402
C/ Hostafrancs de Sió, 17
C/ Pegàs, 6-8
C/ Ciutat de Granada, 130
Plaça de Lesseps, 4-6
Via Favència, 215
This is a busy vegetarian chain that offers a cheap menu of the day that consists of three courses along with bread and a drink. It does have some vegan options. Arco Iris is a great bet for a quick and not badly priced lunch. Taste-wise, well, I can’t say I haven’t had a lot better, but it’s always packed at lunchtime with ravenous locals, so that should count for something.
Calle Pintor Fortuny, 25
Biocenter has a lovely atmosphere, very friendly staff and proprietor, and offers fairly good vegetarian food in El Raval – a few minutes walk from the top of La Rambla.
From the moment I stuck my head through the door at Bio-Center, I was made exceptionally welcome, I thought at one point I would get hugged, have a dish named after me or offered the mayorship of my own town. Maybe they mistook me for a celebrity, life on the road has after all left me looking like Chewbacca from behind – but whatever the reason, it was a very hearty welcome and I can’t complain about that.
The menu del dia is a bargain and they have options for both vegans and raw vegans.
C/ Bòria, 17
Nearest metro: Jaume
Run by an English guy, Cat Bar serves basic, stodgy, English-style vegan fast food such as burgers and fries etc. The burgers are not exceptional but the fries are fantastic and cooked from fresh potatoes (rather than frozen). The ambience is good, they admit dogs and they have free wi-fi. Plus they have an excellent range of beers and ales. Nothing bad to say about this place.
Placa George Orwell
(just off La Rambla)
Gopal is a vegan cafe with a bizarre vegan charcuterie. Located in a great square just off La Rambla and close to Placa Reial, it has a friendly staff and lots of junk-food style options for vegans and vegetarians.
(just off La Rambla in El Raval)
This is an adorable vegan restaurant in very colourful surroundings. They offer a huge, I mean HUGE range of juices and smoothies to choose from and a tasty menu del dia that continues all day. The emphasis is on Indian food but there are a good few salads and breakfast options too. The restaurant is also dog-friendly, because vegans love animals, and offers free Wi-Fi for when you get bored of looking at the psychedelic wall decorations.
C/ Pintor Fortuny, 32
L’Hortet has a lovely fresh salad bar, which is great news for raw food vegans – plus a good quality and usually tasty menu del dia. The food is generally fresh and healthy and the décor is low key and attractive. This is a lovely vegetarian restaurant on a lovely street in El Raval with menu options for both vegans and raw vegans. One of our favourites.
Carrer de Ferran 13
off La Rambla
This cheap little Middle-Eastern takeaway serves freshly cooked falafel served in toasted pitta breads and crammed with salad, tahini, chilli sauce, olives etc and is the perfect remedy for the hungry vegan after hours.
This is a gorgeous takeaway organic, vegetarian food counter inside Barcelona’s magnificent and iconic food market, vending large boxes of delicious and organic food for ten euros plus. The portions are huge and could easily feed two people or one voracious bulimic. This is one of the best places for vegetarian food in Barcelona, if not Spain. Vegan options are available. Ask the very friendly staff for advice on what is suitable if you are unsure.
C/ Santa Anna, 15
Unglamourous and unintentionally retro self-service vegetarian cafeteria that is like stepping back into the 70s. There is lots here for vegans, portion sizes are generous, but don’t expect glamour or innovation. Feel free to wear flared trousers, wide collars and platform shoes.
C/ Sant Antoni Abat, 52
Sesamo serves delicious vegetarian food in Barcelona’s old seedy quarter. Great and atmospheric surroundings and some of the most delightful vegetarian and vegan food the city has to offer.
C/ Jovellanos, 2
Unicornius offers a fairly decent menu del dia and has a great salad bar. There is something here for vegans and raw vegans too. Don’t expect anything too dramatic or experimental, food is good and clean, portions are of a good size.
Vegetalia has a menu del dia for twelve euros, enough stuff to keep vegans happy – organic where possible, and is lovated in a lovely square not far from Placa Reial and almost next door to Gopal (see above).
Leaving the favourite to last, Mother is a beautiful little shop selling cold-pressed juices, delightful smoothies and a range of snacks. Everything is vegan, everything is sugar-free, everything is organic, and there are plenty of raw-vegan options.
Run by a trio of exceptionally lovely ladies who all share a passion for organic, healthy drinks and snacks, Mother is what Barcelona has needed for a very long time – a good quality juice bar! And they all speak good English. Loyalty cards are available.