While Spain may be best known for its cured meats, aged cheese, and fresh seafood, Barcelona’s flourishing vegan and vegetarian scene offers a unique alternative to the more traditional Spanish fare. A number of vegetarian restaurants have opened their doors in recent years, giving vegans and vegetarians a wide variety of options, ranging from vegan bars featuring local craft beers and homemade vegan burgers to higher-end full-service restaurants using ingredients such as huitlacoche and Galician seaweed.
If you’re vegan or if you’re just looking for a change from the traditional Spanish cuisine, be sure to check out these vegan and vegetarian hotspots:
The Blueproject Foundation Café was so fantastic that I wrote about this awesome café in a separate post. The highlight of our meals at the Blueproject Foundation Café was the appropriately named “Out-of-this-world Carrot Cake.” Made with carrot purée, coconut, dates, agave, and tonka beans, this raw vegan cake was in fact out of this world. The best part is that the cake is topped with a delicious lemon cashew cream, cacao nibs, and a sprinkle of spirulina. What a unique and refreshing approach to the traditional carrot cake!
BioCenter has been going strong for 34 years! This cozy vegetarian café and restaurant prides itself on offering affordable set menus in addition to an extensive à la carte menu for both lunch and dinner.
We enjoyed a casual lunch at BioCenter on our first day in Barcelona. The vegetarian salad bar buffet is fantastic. It’s varied and reasonably priced, costing just €7 for an “all you can eat” buffet. Not bad for Barcelona! We returned to BioCenter a few nights later for an early dinner.
As soon as I learned that BioCenter makes its own seitan from scratch, it was an easy decision to choose the “seitan with a white wine sauce” for my main course. The white wine reduction was well-seasoned, complementing the roasted mushrooms, onions, and seitan perfectly.
Rasoterra is a modern, yet warm and inviting vegetarian restaurant on a quiet side street, offering a creative menu of vegetarian and vegan small plates, or tapas.
This chic restaurant offers a set lunch menu along with a full à la carte menu. For dinner, you’ll have a number of additional specials from which to choose. Having enjoyed both lunch and dinner at Rasoterra, we had the chance to try a number of different tapas:
Vegan and gluten-free tempeh balls with carrot, daikon and a chestnut satay sauce
Vegan and gluten-free tacos with huitlacoche (also known as “corn smut” in English). This article shares some fun facts about huitlacoche.
Vegan and gluten-free Catalan white bean salad with Galician seaweed
Vegan and gluten-free Courgette and lentil cannellone with tomato sauce
L’hortet is just a few blocks away from BioCenter. It’s a small restaurant with an entirely vegetarian menu. For dinner, you can choose from a delicious-looking à la carte menu; however, for lunch, you can choose between a two or three course set menu. We opted for the 3-course menu, which consisted of a salad bar buffet, vegan “meatballs” with fresh green peas followed by a vegan, sugar-free chia pudding for dessert.
The vegan meatballs were light and fluffy, and the peas were fresh (not frozen!) and perfectly cooked. The accompanying tangy and slightly sweet brown sauce tied everything together seamlessly. If we had a few more days in Barcelona, I would have returned to L’hortet to enjoy this dish a second time. It was that good!
For craft beer, vegan burgers, and an eclectic decor, check out Cat Bar. While everything on the menu is vegan, the food is predominantly typical bar food, so it’s therefore a little bit heavy, but if given the choice between typical bar food and the Cat Bar’s menu, I’d opt for the Cat Bar any day.
I had an excellent nut and seed burger topped with a delicious pesto and a generous pile of arugula and spinach.
Gopal’s, an entirely vegan deli, also offers fantastic homemade vegan burgers along with vegan tapas. It’s very reasonably priced. Veggie burgers come in around €4.80 and most tapas fall between €3.50 and €4.50.
Barcelona is bound to keep your vegan or vegetarian palate very happy! The challenge will likely be narrowing down the list of restaurants and cafés to try since there are so many right options at your finger tips. A welcomed dilemma!