Thursday, 15 September 2016

Vegan food in Barcelona

Spain is quite commonly known for its seafood paella, chorizo and all other kinds of meat based dishes. I know its not the most vegan friendly country in the world, so I thought it might be a bit of a struggle finding decent eateries in Barcelona. I couldn't have been more wrong! I was very well fed during my stay.

I just want to start by saying that you do not need to eat the food of the country to experience the culture. You don't "need" to eat seafood paella, you don't "have" to eat a cone of meat. Food is obviously a big part of certain cultures, but you can experience the culture without it, besides, you can recreate traditional dishes with plant based ingredients easily!

My first stop was at a place called Veggie Garden. They had a mixture of Spanish and Asian dishes. It was quite an interesting menu. There was so much variety I didn't know what to choose! I actually ended up visiting here twice. During my first visit I went for the seitan and tempeh wrap with vegan cheese & guacamole. It was pretty good, but the best thing was actually the drink. Obviously its hot in Spain and walking around everywhere is pretty exhausting. I could've gone for a water, but sometimes you just need something sweet. It was a frozen lemonade with strawberry and it was so sweet and refreshing.

During my second visit I wanted to have some Tapas, which is typical in Spain. I ended up with too much food, usually tapas is small finger foods, I thought the dishes would be tiny but nope! I should have gone with two! I had seitan sausages, grilled mushrooms in a Japanese style sauce and patatas bravas, which is actually a common Spanish tapas dish. Usually it comes with a paprika flavoured sauce and allioli (garlic mayonnaise) but this one came with dried tomato vegan pesto, it was actually the best I had during my time in Barcelona, and I ate a lot of patatas bravas! 


I really liked Veggie Garden, but it had nothing on Cat Bar. A little bar in the Gothic Quarter that serves vegan craft beers and vegan burgers, with really cool decor & friendly staff. What more do you need? I had the "Black Cat" burger which thankfully wasn't made of cat, it was made with black beans, topped with grilled eggplant, lettuce, tomato & garlic vegannaise. Is your mouth watering yet? I'm pretty sure it was the size of my head. I hadn't eaten that day yet, so I only went for a burger and it filled me up pretty well and pretty fast. When I returned (of course I returned) I had the same again but with patatas bravas, I told you, I like patatas bravas..


After all of the savoury goodness. I needed to find some gelato, there's a lot of that in Barcelona, there had to be somewhere that did vegan options, of course there was! I'd actually heard about this place through a vegan YouTuber (Vegan BJJ). Gelaaati Di Marco. Thankfully they actually labelled a couple of their flavours as vegan, but I asked if there were any more that weren't labelled and it turned out there was! I went for coconut with cinnamon, I had never tried, let alone heard of cinnamon gelato before and cinnamon is probably my favourite in the world of spices. 

I was pleasantly surprised, the cinnamon gelato was delicious. 


You will find that pretty much every gelato shop has at least one dairy free option, and it is usually sorbet. Sorbet can actually be just as creamy as ice cream, and its so refreshing and fruity! During my visit to Barcelona & Tossa De Mar I had raspberry, coconut, mango, orange & mixed berry flavoured sorbet's. All equally as delicious as standard ice cream.

Now, the next place has touched my soul so deeply with the deliciousness of the food. I'm not even joking. I actually ended up visiting here a total of 3 times, this involved getting the metro there. In fact, the first time I went there I hadn't checked the opening times beforehand and I ended up getting there an hour too early, but I waited. Dedication or what? It was obviously special enough for me to return twice! 

Dolce Pizza Y Los Veganos (also found out about this place from Vegan BJJ) obviously as the name states, this is a vegan pizza place, but they also serve pizzas with dairy cheese on. I'm not really sure why, because the vegan pizzas are good enough! They also do create your own salads, pastas & sandwiches/hot dogs. Of course during my first visit I scanned the menu for a good 20 minutes because everything sounded so delicious. Its not socially acceptable, or healthy, for one person to order 5 pizzas and eat them all, so I had to decide on one. I ended up getting a Martguerita and added mushrooms and spicy salami to it. 

Oh. My. Goodness. If you want to get your non vegan friends to try out some vegan food, take them here. I can't remember exactly how the real thing tastes, but I'm pretty sure its close enough. I personally used to love a pepperoni pizza, so finding a similar taste, but without the unnecessary death and cruelty is insane. Its amazing what you can do with plants, PLANTS. Don't even get me started on the cheese. It was probably the best vegan pizza I have ever tried.

I absolutely fell in love with this place for so many reasons. The food was delicious, it's reasonably priced, the staff are so friendly and welcoming, they had the cutest wall art & most importantly they use recycled paper. I loved that this place was usually full of locals, I'm pretty sure I was the only tourist in there every time I went. That's always a good sign.


There's more.. 


Yes, that's right. Vegan tiramisu. It was pretty small, but that's all you really need. Such a strong, rich and creamy flavour. You wouldn't believe it was vegan! 

Another place that I loved was Gopal. A little vegan deli near Las Rambla's which serves nachos, burgers, donuts & more. I ended up getting the spicy mexican burger with nachos, yet again. My mind was blown, Gopal is actually a takeaway place so there's no tables & chairs, I of course chose to sit somewhere very public so that people would look at my food and wonder where it came from, and if anyone asked I could say it was vegan and blow their minds too!


These places are all easily accessible and easy to find. Reasonably priced with great menus. I actually ate at other non vegan places too and some semi vegan places. They all had vegan options, and if there wasn't any vegan options I would just ask them to remove or replace certain ingredients (cheese, mayonnaise, etc) and I was good to go.

There's a few more veggie/vegan places in Barcelona which I never got around to trying because I was already in love with the places I'd already been to. To name a few:

Teresa Carles
Enjoy Vegan 
Quinoa Bar 
Vegetalia 

I'll definitely be returning to Barcelona so hopefully I'll visit some other places. Its wonderful how many vegan/veggie restaurants in cafe's there are in such a big meat loving country. Times are changing, people!
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