Spain has been at the top of my ‘To Visit’ list for a long time and Barcelona has been at the top of the top. When a friend and I recently made it to Spain’s second-most populated city (after capital Madrid), I fell hard and fast for it; I loved the laid-back lifestyle, the beautiful architecture, and the friendly and cool locals.
Seriously though, everyone in Barcelona is just cool. The only thing I didn’t love was the 35 degree heat but hey, every relationship has its obstacles…
My travel buddy and I didn’t have long in the country, so only visited Barcelona and Valencia but I am dying to go back and explore more Spanish cities as I absolutely adored the country.
Known for tapas, paella and other seafood-heavy specialities, I was not expecting much in the way of veggie cuisine in Spain. But as a more-than-pleasant surprise, Barcelona actually turned out to be one of the most veggie-friendly places I have visited in Europe. Granted, going to any old restaurant generally didn’t offer much in the way of vegetarian or vegan options but Barcelona is chock-full of vegetarian eateries if you know where to look. Actually, even if you don’t… (we just kept stumbling upon more and more!)
It probably helped that our hostel was located in a really young and trendy part of town (it wasn’t called Hip Hostel for nothing) so there was a vegan bakery/take-away store just up the street and tonnes of organic health food stores dotted around the neighbourhood.
Wanting to try out some local vegetarian joints, I’d researched a few places before we went (Happy Cow is a lifesaver when I travel!). We’d both really been looking forward to Cat Bar, a vegan burger and artisan beer bar so we headed there on our first night. Although we’d been up since about 3am for our flight, we still tried to act like locals and went for dinner around 9pm – pretty impressive, we thought, yet we were still some of the first people in the bar!
They had several different burgers on the menu; I opted for the ‘Green’ spinach burger with English chips and avocado sauce and my friend went for the ‘Spicy’ Mexican burger with potatoes bravas. Not the best burgers I’ve ever eaten but the were still pretty tasty and the place was cute.
Our second night, we headed to the restaurant district near our hostel and had a pretty unremarkable meal at a restaurant that happened to have a few veggie options on the menu. I can’t remember what the restaurant was called but no great loss, as here’s what we had:
Another night, we headed further into town to visit the vegetarian restaurant Teresa Carles, a gorgeous eatery with a non-stop kitchen open from 12 pm to 12 am! This place was really friendly, had a great atmosphere and the food was amazing.
One of my favourite food moments was when we were looking for lunch in town and we stumbled across a huge food marketplace alongside The Rambla. After wandering around for a while, I got excited when I spotted the word ‘organic’ on a stall’s sign and literally jumped with excitement when I then saw the word ‘vegetarian’! The stall sold amazing looking taco wraps, pittas and various tapas items. We both decided on a taco and were debating whether or not we wanted to share one of their large veggie samosas. We thought we’d just ordered a plain taco but as we stood there, the guy serving kept heaping anything and everything from the counter onto our tray – multi-coloured rice, various sauces, mixed veggies, salad, hummus – until the taco wasn’t even visible under the pile of toppings! It was €10 each but totally worth it. And yes, we did decide against the samosa…
That was by far our best lunch! Most days we just grabbed a sandwich from a cafe, or made our own.
We also spent one night in Valencia. Again, I researched on Happy Cow but unfortunately didn’t notice that for some unknown reason, none of the veggie places are open on a Monday night!
We tried Loving Hut first because I’ve heard of its greatness but we were greeted by a dark, empty restaurant. We then tried La Lluna but again, it was closed. Finally, we headed for a place called Ana Eva but it was not just closed, it was closed down! Dammit! In the end, we decided on a pizza place as it was one of the few restaurants in the area that offered anything vegetarian. The pizza was okay but nothing to write home about.
Here’s some more tasty treats and veggie-friendly finds from our trip:
I’m seriously in love with Spain, particularly Barcelona and am already planning my next trip! If you need convincing, here’s a few of my favourite non-food related shots.