Spain has been developing its plant-based food scene for over 30 years, and is home to a wide-variety of vibrant vegetarian and vegan restaurants for food-loving travellers
In recent years, there has been an increase in Europeans switching to a plant-based diet due to higher awareness around the negative effects of animal agriculture, as well more available information regarding the health benefits of not eating meat.
Due to this shift in attitudes, it is estimated that around 10% of all Europeans now follow a plant-based diet. Furthermore, the continent leads the way in terms of global meat substitutes, and holds 39% of the global market.
Spain, a country often praised for its vibrant food scene, is one of Europe’s most foodie-friendly destinations, and has been seeking to bring plant-diets into the mainstream for over 30 years thanks to its diverse regional cuisines and abundance of natural produce.
Starting from Vigo and Barcelona, and finishing up in the capital, Madrid, Smart Lemur, a website dedicated to authentic travelling, has chosen the top 10 vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants in Spain.
- Cat Bar – Barcelona
Despite its feline-themed moniker, Barcelona’s Cat Bar isn’t home to any cats. Instead, this small, five-tabled establishment focuses on creating top-level vegan burgers and serving local craft beers. Located on the fringes of Barcelona’s much-loved Gothic Quarter, this unpretentious, bustling bar is a must-visit for anyone who loves quality, plant-based food and adventurous beers. Depending on the day of the week, there are also live piano free-for-all performances.
- Superchulo – Madrid
‘Superchulo‘ or ‘Supercool’ in English is one of Madrid’s top vegetarian restaurants, and has been singled out by Cosmopolitan, Vogue, TimeOut and ABC for its optimistic and daring menu. Its dishes are based on the principle of simplicity and urges diners to “count colors, not calories”. Superchulo aims to serve environmentally-sustainable dishes, which are designed with the health of visitors and the overall planet in mind. This hip joint is also pet-friendly.
- Pizzi&Dixie – Madrid
Pizzi&Dixie is an Italian restaurant specializing in plant-based cuisine, and prides itself on dishes such as mango ceviche, yellow curry and black garlic tagliatelle, and its novel, activated charcoal pizza, which is considered a detoxing food. Honestly. Located in the centre of Madrid, Pizzi&Dixie is a colorful locale that adds an interesting twist to Europe’s rapidly developing vegetarian and vegan food scenes of the continent.
- VA DE BO – Palma
Va De Bo is widely-recognized for its vegan dishes, as well as the kindness and hospitality of its owner, Joao. Live piano and guitar sessions, bright colors, and bringing people together over good food, good music, and conversation are the order of the day here.
- Veganitessen – Sevilla
Located in Seville’s Arenal market, Veganitessen specialises in plant-based tapas and sweet treats. Praised for its high-standard of customer service, Veganitessen’s greatest hits include vegetarian kebabs, cold Andaluz-style beetroot soup, and a vegan take on the much-loved German currywurst. This small restaurant also serves craft beers, vegan-friendly soft drinks, and food to take away.
- Les Maduixes – Valencia
Les Maduixes has been around for almost 35 years, and still prides itself on being one of Valencia’s first vegetarian restaurants. This bright locale prides itself on fresh dishes such as ravioli in calabaza sauce, and basmati rice with ceps and shiitake mushrooms. It also serves up a wide variety freshly-squeezed juices and smoothies, organic lager, and bio cola.
- Vegetart – Barcelona
Vegetart‘s focus is on locally-inspired Catalan cuisine, and this takeaway joint serves up generously-sized regional dishes such as calçot cannelloni, leeks with almond, and a vegan take on the traditional Spanish tortilla with seitan chorizo or mushrooms. This small deli also won the award for the best vegan omelette by Anima Naturalis magazine.
- Veggie Garden – Barcelona
Located by the Plaça Catalunya in the beating heart of Barcelona, this bright and cheerful vegan restaurant’s specialities are Hindu and Nepalese meals including Thali and Byriani. However, there are other options such as vegan wok, wraps with vegan cheese and guacamole, vegan burgers, and Chinese-inspired chili tofu. Veggie Garden also blends a number of delicious juices, smoothies, and milkshakes including one containing vegan chocolate.
- Teresa’s – Barcelona
Created by Teresa Carles Borràs, a vegetarian chef and chef consultant of 35 years, this small, unassuming vegetarian restaurant in the heart of Barcelona’s motto is “eat better, be happier, live longer.” Since 1979, Teresa and her team has been influencing Spain’s vegetarian food scene by farming their own produce, using local ingredients, and developing recipes. Dishes include bowls, salads, burgers, tacos, and smash-hit toasts. Teresa’s is also home to a gluten-free and plant-based bakery.
- Restaurante Cúrcuma – Vigo
Widely recognized for its Neo-rustic ambience and its outstanding banana cake, Restaurante Cúrcuma is a delight for those who follow a plant-based diet, as well as those who do not. A number of online reviews cite its stuffed aubergine and vegetarian lasagne as other highlights from the menu. Diners are also urged to ask the helpful waiting staff for recommendations if they are stuck for choice.
With plant-based diets becoming increasingly popular across Europe, expect even more restaurants to begin experimenting with alternative takes on traditional dishes using fruit and vegetables. If, however, you are not fully ready to commit fully to vegetarianism or veganism quite yet, check out Smart Lemur’s list of the top 10 street foods from around the world.