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Surprisingly tasty takeaway food from Maoz on La Rambla very near to Boqueria Market. you start with falafel in a pitta which is nicer than it sounds, and there's free grazing of all manner of additions - curried chickpeas, chillies, sundried tomatoes, loads to choose from. They do great chips (fries) and there are some deals on, nice staff, and they won't just charge what they like as many places can do.
Venture down Carme off La Rambla and take a left at the streetbar to find Organic, a vegetarian restuarant with a varied menu. The vegan stir fry is heaven. Big servings, well worth the price for both quantity and quality. Some pretty funky drinks on offer here too. Organic also have a stall at the back of Boqueria market, and a couple of takeaways in the vicinity.
Govinda on Plaza Vila de Madrid is a Hindu vegetarian restaurant with generic Indian dishes and a few other ethnic dishes too. So many dishes to choose from, go easy on the starters as the serving sizes are large. Be warned though, the food is the greasiest you can imagine. They have pizzas on offer too but all come with a river of oil. Rather pricey but nice restaurant, just beware of the grease.
At the top of La Rambla (Catalunya Metro end) is Pizza Mazarno, the Spanish version of Pizza Express. They won't mind you doing a mix and match of the vegetarian ingredients on the menu, and you can quite easily customise an interesting pasta or pizza. There is also a Pizza Mazarno outside La Sagrada Famila where you can sit outside.
Boqueria market has some interesting stalls. As well as such horrors as pigs heads on display, you'll also find some tasty bakery, smoothies and nibbles here.
As a supplement to the longer review article below, for a (mostly) veggie "all you can eat" lunch the Ovni offers the most value, Via Layetuna 32, Ciutat Vella, 08003, just past the Gaudi Casa Battlo. Similar food to Fresc Co, but includes unlimited coffee (not available at Fresc), unlimited gelato (also not available at Fresc), and a half hour of free internet. Same 10 euro price at both.
For dinner, La Bascula at 30 Calle Flassaders (Jaume metro) has the best vegetarian food in town. You will have to remember the address because you won't see a sign for this on the street, and looking in it doesn't look like a restaurant. Everything is past the front desk in the back. Entirely vegetarian, there are a wide variety of delicious crepes, quiches, pastas, and more. While the room doesn't look like much at 8:30 pm, by 9 pm they turn down the lights, the place fills with people, and suddenly it is transformed.
Second best is L'Illa de Gracia, 19 Calle Sant Domenic (Fontana metro), which looks more downscale but has delicious food.Vegetalia , at 54 Escudellers, Ciutat Vella (Drassanes or Liceu metro), has fairly standard "healthy" but not particularly tasty seitan, tofu and stir-fry dishes, and many crystals on the walls. Juicy Jones , at 7 Cardenal Casanas, Ciutat Vella, is a tiny place behind a tiny juice bar which, on a recent visit at the start of the dinner period was out of half the things on the menu. The food they did have was good but the dishes were very conventional (guacamole, hummos, etc).
Try not to miss Madre Tierra in Toledo.
Restaurants and cafes in Barcelona predominantly serve traditional Spanish/Catalan tapas. Veggie choices are very limited usually just gazpacho (cold tomato soup), catalan tomato bread and patatas bravas - potato wedges (remember to say sin salsa if you don't eat eggs, as the sauce contains mayonnaise) and possibly a vegetable paella (often oily and salty). Be warned: Whilst you will often find that chefs in the UK and USA are sufficiently aware of vegetarianism so that they cook vegetarian dishes away from meat and/or fish, it's fair to say this practice would be laughed at in most normal restaurants in Spain and Catalunya. Thus, you may well find a piece of ham on a veggie pizza, or a lump of tuna in a green salad. However, don't dispair! There are 12 vegetarian restaurants/take-aways within 5 minutes walk of La Rambla, you just have to know where to look!
Tip: The local water is naturally very salty. This means that the local palate is for very salty food. Other than onion or garlic, spices are not used so food is generally bland, as in most western European countries. However, as you are in the Mediterranean the ingredients are generally of good quality so the lack of spices does not necessarily mean a lack of flavour.
Useful Spanish Vocab: I am vegetarian is 'soy vegetariano' ( p. be-he-ta rrr-eeano), and vegan is vegetariano estricto. Also useful is 'solo vegetal' - only vegetables. Organic=biologica (bio - pronounced B-O - for short). Sin ( p. seen) is without, con is with. Meat=carne, eggs=heuvo, fish=pesce, tuna=atun, cheese=queso, milk=leche, butter=mantequilla, cream= (de leche) nata, sauce=salsa, mayonnaise=mayonesa. In Barcelona a 'menu' is usually the day's set dishes for a set price, 'menu del dia' rather than the whole list of available food. La carte is the menu.
One other thing to be aware of: Unfortunately, cheese made without rennet (cuajo in spanish) is rare if not impossible to get hold of in Spain. Whilst many UK supermarkets now produce a large number of their cheeses with non-animal enzymes, this practice will take many years to reach the Iberian peninsula. Even some specialist cheese shops eg (Tot Formatge in Paseo del Born) have no idea what you're talking about when you ask for vegetarian cheese. Thus, when going to an Italian restaurant, you must either ask whether the cheese is vegetarian ( Pizza Marzano (part of the Pizza Express chain) at the top of the Rambla and in the Diagonal Mar Shopping Centre near Forum) are the only pizza restaurants in Barcelona which use animal-free mozarella as standard. Alternatively, ask for yours without cheese (sin queso in Spanish, sense formatge, in Catalan).
Last tip: Opening hours. Locals generally eat lunch from 2-4pm and dinner from 10-12pm so these tend to be the core restaurant opening hours. Evening closing is common on Sundays and Mondays, but it varies so check on the internet, or ask your concierge to give them a call before you set out.
Catalans take their time over lunch, it's usually a long 3 courses with wine or beer, and so service in restaurants is leisurely. If you are cramming in all the sites, or shops, on a short trip this may not be what you want, so here are some quick veggie options...
Take-away - just veggie
If you are on a quick trip the best places to head to are the Maoz vegetarian take-aways They sell falafel (chick pea based deep fried balls) in pita bread, self-serve salad, chips (patata , hummus and a variety of spicy dressings. There is one in the middle of La Rambla (95 La Rambla) on the far corner of La Boqueria market, and two in Ferran Street (where lots of Irish bars are) - turn off La Rambla by KFC. The only problem is that seating is limited, so suss out a nice sunny spot to head to before you buy!
If the La Boqueria Market in La Rambla http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Boqueria is open, Organic have a vegetarian stall at the back selling lasagne, pizza, stuffed peppers, omelette baguettes etc. (most options under 3€ ) Most of the fruit stalls offer take-away boxes of various ready chopped fresh fruit or coconut (1€ each ) . There is also a healthfood stall selling yogurt and soya yogurt.
Take-away - veggie options
If you are down at Barceloneta Beach there is a wok take-away Wokimarket (Passeig Maritim, 1 - 08003 Barcelona) which has veggie options. Choose your noodle base, your ingredients such as tofu, eggplant, mushrooms etc and your sauce eg malaysian coconut milk, hot salsa, black bean sauce etc.
There are always lots of bakeries and supermarkets around that serve baguettes filled with cheese and tomato, spinach filled pastries and slices of pizza. The Forn Box Bakery near the corner of Carrer d'En Xucia and Carrer d'Elisabets is slightly pricier than many (around 2.50€ for a baguette) but one of the best off La Rambla. Lots of baguette choice for the sandwiches and options such as Brie and salad or Mozarella, avocado and tomato. Lots of pizza options and many, many gorgeous looking cake choices.
The Pans and Company sandwich chain has several vegetarian options including a Greek sandwich and they have freshly squeezed orange juice. They basically offer (along with a dessert bar and coffee station) various types of Bocadillos (crusty baguette style sandwiches) with different things in them. Similar to an American Subway (which are about too) but Spanish style.
If you are more comfortable with the familiar, McDonalds serve potato wedges as well as chips, salads (careful some have tuna or chicken), apple slices, actimel and bargain ice-cream cones. There are plenty of them about. For example one in La Rambla on the corner of Carrer Ferran, one at the top of Rambla at Catalunya Square, one in the Angel shopping district, one at Port Vell, and 2 at Port Olympic including a 24hr drive through, and one at the Diagonal Mar shopping centre.
Self-service sit down - just veggie
For Organic Vegetarian try Teresa Carles (previously Unicornus; C/ Jovellanos, 2, Raval, 08001, Barcelona - turn by Top shop or by Casas Shoe shop on La Rambla near Placa Catalunya - check a map!) Help yourself to salad/soup, be waited on for main and then help yourself to pudding, all for around 12€. Teresa Carles is amazing for salad, although the full 3 courses is good value. Salad options such as jacket potatoes, corn on the cob, boiled eggs, sauerkraut, watercress, quinoa salad, beetroot, alfafa sprouts, pumpkin seeds, yeast flakes, brown rice, etc. They also have an extensive non-salad menu.
Organic (C/ de la Junta de Comerç, 11, Barcelona 08001 ), and Biocenter (C/ Pintor Fortuny, 25, Barcelona 08001, turn in between Le Meridian and Hotel 1898, 2 mins walk on left) - are the same type of set up, except you go to the counter to get your main.
Self Naturista (Santa Anna, 15 )- turn off La Rambla just after Citadenes into Santa Anna road. School canteen style self sevice vegetarian restaurant. Lots of choice. Generally catering for local salty palette. Always some vegan fayre to be found.
Self-service sit down - veggie options
If you want to sit down then Fres Co (around 9€ for all you can eat and drink) are great (you can also take-away). Open 12pm to 12am so brilliant if you're not quite on the same timetable as the locals. Although not totally vegetarian they are an all-you-can-eat buffet style self-serve restaurant with salad options such as brown rice, lentils, sweetcorn, beansprouts, olives etc The price also includes pasta (there is usually tomato sauce or pesto sauce), pizza (usually one or two veggie choices, but unsure re cheese rennet), bread, desserts including a chocolate ice-cream machine (watch those kids, and big kids faces light up!), coffee and tea (including mint, lime flower, camomile etc). There is one over the wavey bridge from the Colom at the end of La Rambla, at Port Vell and another just off La Rambla (Carrer Carme, 16) next turning after Maoz (with it on your left) then about 15 doors down on the right. Or they can be found in lots of other locations - Diagonal, just off Placa Catalanya, behind Port Olympic etc. You may also encounter Ovni, and Lactuca both of which work in the same way as Fres Co and offer almost identical fayre. The often look more stylish and modern in design. However, the food quality is not as high - less tasty, wilted lettuce, little flies - and you will notice that Fres Co is the one full of locals.
If you want to join in with the leisurely lunch or spend the evening on your meal here are some options...
Sesamo - (Carrer de Sant Antoni Abat 52, 08001 Barcelona - turn off L'Hopital or Carme street off La Rambla and they merge to become Sant Antoni, Sesamo is near the end on the right) by far the best of all the vegetarian Barcelona restaurants. Non veggies should be quite happy to eat here too. Describes itself as a gourmet vegetarian. Lots of interesting options, beautifully presented. Closed on Tuesdays and Sunday lunchtimes. Only about 34 covers so call and book. Menu changes daily. Around 5 € for a starter, 12 € for a main, 4 € for a pudding. Lots of organic choices for wine and an organic beer. Vegan options clearly marked and all yogurt, milk and eggs that are used are organic. A good 10 min walk from La Rambla!
Juicy Jones (Carrer Cardenal Casañas 7, Ciutat Vella, 08002, Barcelona ) is a vegan cafe/juice bar - they have excellent food and serve salads, tapas such as tofu, and baguettes. They do bigger meals of thali (fantastically yummy curries, rice, chutney, poppadum etc) and a dish of the day. Turn off La Rambla opposite Euskal restaurant then turn right and it is a few doors down. Don't be in a rush though, the service is very laid back, and customer is not king! There is a larger branch on the other side of La Rambla up L'hopital street.
Govindas (Plaça de la Vila de Madrid, 4-5, Ciutat Vella, 08002, Barcelona ) is just off La Rambla. Behind Citadenes, opposite Decathlon. It is a Hindu vegetarian restaurant that as well as yummy Indian food sells pizzas, a salad bar and a few other non-indian options. They only serve non-alcoholic wine and beer. Most food is vegan - just ask as they speak good English. Closed on Sun and Mon.
Vegetalia In the heart of the Gothic region, 5 mins walk from La Rambla. Good if you are keen on seitan and tofu. Only any good if you don't mind oily, salty food.
Biovegetal very poor service. Take-away food is greasy and salty.
Near Las Ramblas:
Bar Lobo - Carrer del Pintor Fortuny, 3, 08001, Barcelona - behind Hotel 1898, which is 109, La Rambla. Part of the classy Tragaluz chain which also own Hotel Omm. This restaurant has an Asian bias and has several veggie options including avocado salad in a Vietnamese rice roll, couscous, hot wild rice dishes and hummus. Non-smoking inside. Unfortunately this restaurant is already closed! Correction - Bar Lobo was certainly open early October 2008 and serving high quality tapas and bar food, slightly pricey, but streets ahead of anywhere else nearby.
Sinatra - Calle Heures 4/10, just off Placa Real, which is just off La Rambla. Go down the road next to the SideCar bar in the corner of Placa Real. Tapas size portions. Veggie choices: Goats cheese salad. Mango and walnut salad. Patatas Bravas. Ravioli.
Hard Rock Cafe - Placa Catalunya at the end of La Rambla. Nice to sit outside if a sunny day. Lots of music videos to watch inside if it's the evening. Good for the greedy as HUGE portions - one meal is equivalent to about 4 tapas in a normal Spanish place! Choices: Veggie burger (not sure re ingredients) and salad with mushrooms as an optional extra. Chips/Fries. Sandwich of grilled vegetables.
Made in Italy - (Carrer Ample,50, 08002, Barcelona - road parallel to Passeig de Colom, in Gothic quarter, 10 mins walk from La Rambla) Truely great authentic Italian food as recommended by Italian friends! Salads, Pasta, Gnocci, Thin based very large Pizza, Tiramisu, Grapa. Arrabiatta is properly spicy as the chilis are from Sardinia, and fantastic! Highly recommend if you like Italian food and/or very large portions! Only around 40 covers and full even at 11pm on a Monday night in October - so call and book to be sure of a place. 93 319 85 54
Fusion - Carrer Ample, 33. Gothic district. This is one of several good sushi bars in this gothic area between Plaza Jaume and Passeig Colom. Allows smoking. Another is Kynoto at Carrer Correus Vells, 8.
Passeig De Gracia:
El Japones - Pasaje de la Concepcion, 2. 08008, Barcelona +34 93 487 25 92, just off Passeig de Gracia. Another member of the Tragaluz group. A really stylish restaurant with delicious Japanese food including veggie sushi and seaweed salad. Book in advance, or be prepared to wait in the Tragaluz bar opposite (frequented by the Barce footballers) as it is usually full.
Abissinia - Torrent de les Flors 55 Tel. 93 213 0785 This is actually beyond Passeig de Gracia in the Gracia district one block behind Joanic metro. Wow! Genuine Ethiopian food, served by Ethiopians. If you like Indian food then you have to try this. A vegetarian plate to share consist of a large pancake made out of an Ethiopian grain with 8 different curries on top thali style. You eat with your fingers by breaking off bits of the pancake and scooping up a curry.
Origiens 99.9% - Passeig del Borne, 4 Tel: +34 93-295-6690 - In Passeig del Borne next to the Santa Maria del Mar Church, or a second branch in the side street round the corner. Both are very full all year round so booking is advisable. This is a must visit so that you can experience the local cuisine. When dining with catalans they have pronounced it the food of their grandparents. The menu is magazine style explaining some of the history and giving recipes. Menus are changed 2 or 3 times a year but there are usually 2 veggie soup choices, 2 veggie coca choices (a bit like a pizza), a veggie salad and some hot veggie dishes such as stuffed pepper, or bean stew. Small portions so you need 3 dishes to fill you up. Great dessert choice too. Around 4 € per dish.
[Indian - Gujarati but adjusted for local less spicy palate]
Kama - Carrer del Rec, 69 Just off Passeig del Borne. Bollywood movies play to keep you entertained. The cuisine of the Gujarati region of North Indian is predominantly vegetarian so these recipes have been honed over centuries. Modern lounge bar style with great cocktails. Around 25 € each in the evening .
Solero - Carrer del Rec 60, Barcelona, 08003 Tel: +34 93 319 8022. Formerly a salt storehouse, but converted into a welcoming bar-restaurant 15 years ago. White is the predominant color. It is always full of trendy, modern young people, mainly locals - so book to ensure your table. The menu changes with the seasons and has an Asian slant . Usually several veggie options. Their desserts are home-made, usually including chocolate brownies and are enormous. Good wine list with very cheap house wine.
Cardamon - Carrer dels Carders, 31. On the edge of the Borne district, the Santa Caterina side of C/Princessa. Great Indian food - including veggie curries and thalis. Also some non Indian options such as salad. A curry is about 7 €.
Mosquito (Asian Tapas) - Carrer dels Carders,46 - 5 mins walk from Jaume I Metro, on the edge of the Borne. Go down Carrer Boria opposite Plaça de l'Angel, this becomes Carrer dels Carders. Mosquito is on the right. Choice of different veggie sushi rolls with rice on outside and nori in middle, a rice noodle, plum sauce and smoked tofu tapas (delicious), a potato chat (mashed potato mild curry with fried lentils on top) tapas and a singapore noodle tapas. Warning: Is a very small smoking restaurant so is smokey.
Dionisos - On the corner opposite Estacio Franca Train Station and Ciutidella park. (Also in 4 other locations in Barcelona. Traditional greek fayre so veggie options include Hummus etc dips with pita, veggie moussaka, oven cooked veggie platter with enormous jacket potato style wedges.
Thai Cafe - C/ Comercio 27, 08003 Barcelona. Around 34 € each including coffee wine and dessert for the vegetarian tasting menu. Thai soups, tofu thai curries etc and they've experimented with some fusion options too. Good service, good food, but sadly it is often quite empty giving little atmosphere.
Via Laietana Area:
[Pica Pica - North Spain, Basque Region]
Far Corner of Cathedral Square - Placa Nova. Corner of C/dels Boters and C/dels Arcs. Beautifully presented food on cocktail sticks - it really is a work of art. The only pica pica in Barcelona with a vegan option - little veggie and mushroom kebabs. For veggies has plenty of cheesy options too and amazing mini desserts on sticks.
Rosa Negra - Via Laietana 46 - Mexican, with good vegetarian options. €8-10 per person.
Cuines Santa Caterina - Avinguda de Francesc Cambó, 20 , Mercado de Santa Caterina (Actually on the corner of Santa Caterina Market). Another star of the Tragaluz group offering 4 types of cuisine: Italian, Vegetarian, Asian and mediterranean
Shoko - beachfront restaurant is in a great location (on the Beach in front of the Casino at Port Olympic) and is an outstanding club after 1am. It has some veggie food - pasta, sushi etc. However, the veggie food and particularly the vegan sushi is better in the bar 2 doors down, C.D.L.C. (Carpe Diem Lounge Club). Eat there and then go to Shoko for the club afterwards! With Baja now closed down and transformed into a new lounge club, and an Ice Bar opening up this whole strip is very classy but careful the prices are very high - equivalent to the UK. Agua is another Group Tragaluz offering in this strip, slightly more reasonably priced restaurant with great ambience and decor and some veggie choices (but much better for non-veggies).
Chiringuitos (8-10 Beach Bars on the sand in summer/autumn only) - Great Locations, good coffee, but not brilliant food. However, most do Tortilla chips with guacamole, potato wedges, olives, and goats cheese salad. The salad is presented in a gourmet style in the last one near Diagonal Mar, the one prior to that also serves pizzas. Each bar has a slightly different theme. One shows football on screens (nearest pizza hut Port Olympic), one plays reggae, one is affiliated with Pascha nightclub and plays chillout music, one plays jazz, one mainly electronica, one is a gay bar (on Marbella nudist beach with rainbow flag) etc. So wander along the beach and decide which one is playing your tune!
Pizza Hut - A quick easy option in Port Olympic Marina if you can stomach this American thick base style of pizza. No buffet salad as in many countries but downstairs you can choose from many veggie pizza toppings and there are spicy potato wedges. If you can brave all the hassling doormen trying to get you inside you can wander along from Pizza Hut towards the sea (ground level) to the end of the marina where you will find an Italian restaurant Al Passatore serving freshly made Italian style pizza. And the amazing set lunch salad, pizza/pasta, dessert menu with wine for under 7 €.
10-20 restaurants all service similar cuisine around the port. Many have a vegetable paella option but the only one with a veggie menu is on upper level, along from Pizza Hut towards the sea, 2nd from the end. Not that exciting but at least they've made an effort to separate out the veggie options. There is a vegetarian paella, grilled vegetables etc.
Come Vida opposite Namco Station Bowling, Top floor of Diagonal Mar Shopping Centre. There are also Japanese, Korean and Turkish restaurants here too all with veggie options. Great yellow thai curry tofu. Also veggie/tofu wok dishes, and pasta. Large variety in the salad buffet too - feta, walnuts, couscous, rice etc.
Smudy Juice Bar Top floor of Diagonal Mar Shopping Centre, opposite Starbucks.They are possibly the first place in Barcelona that offer freshly-squeezed Wheatgrass. They do awesome fresh juices and smoothies (Smudy - get it!)
Good Websitesfor Vegetarian Restaurants Listing and Information
BCN MES Vegetarian and Vegan Shortlists: http://bcnmes.com/vegetariano/
Vegetarian Barcelona - http://cityblink.com/blog/vegetarian-...
Sin Carne - http://www.sincarne.net/barcelona-veg...
Google Map (KML exportable)
Here's a map ofmost places mentioned + some more with some notes from around: