Spain is not a country I would generally associate with plentiful vegan options. Much like France, Spain is a place that makes me think of rich meats and mature cheeses, an abundance of fine cuisine – but not a lot that has been produced without an animal’s input somewhere along the way.
Turns out, Barcelona is freaking great if you’re vegan. As well as all manner of totally vegan and totally veggie restaurants, we found some cracking vegan options in the ‘regular’ venues as well. Chök ‘the chocolate kitchen’ wins top prize for the omnivorous venues, supplying us with chocolate filled donuts, cinnamon cream-topped carrot cake muffins and other heavenly, indulgent, not-very-vegan-looking delights.
If you’re heading off to Barcelona soon and want to stuff your face on vegan goodies, here are some venues where you’ll be spoilt for choice. In no particular order:
La Trocadero – Carrer de la Marina – All Vegan
La Trocadero is about a one-minute walk from the Sagrada Familia, and seeing as you can’t go to Barcelona without going to the Sagrada Familia, I’d say you can’t go there without visiting La Trocadero either.
Describing themselves as ‘Urban Vegan Food’, La Trocadero have mastered all kinds of not-seitan vegan burgers and hotdogs, along with epic wedges and onion rings, muffins, cookies and lots of other stuff we were too full to eat. I like stuffing my face with seitan as much as the next person, but this joint are serving up pizza-esque tomato and pesto black bean burgers, cheez and facon beetroot burgers and loads of other stuff that involves actual veg.
Everything is 100% vegan, and you can buy cuddly toy pak choi and other silly nonsense too, if like me, you’re into that sort of thing.
CatBar – Carrer de la Bòria – All Vegan
CatBar was recommended to me by pretty much everyone I know who has been to Barcelona, which makes perfect sense now I have been. It’s a cool little joint with loads of craft beers to pick from, mad cat paintings and top notch vegan eats.
There’s always a gluten free daily special, as well as the option to swap out your burger bun for a salad if you’re in the mood. We did no such thing, and chowed down on patatas bravas and other comfort food like there was no tomorrow.
The Black Cat burger pushed all the right buttons for me, and naturally I quality controlled Chris’s Green Garden thingamajig – which tasted like happiness and peas, a flavour I could merrily devour again.
La Mezcla – Plaça de Sant Pere – omnivorous
Pizza. Pizza wraps. Focaccias full of stuff. La Mezcla have a bundle of vegan options in all areas of their menu, and we were making little appreciative eating noises for all of them. A can of beer to wash your giant pizza down is €1.50, and there are options with vegan cheeses if keeping it vegged-up isn’t enough to sate your needs.
There are only a handful of seats along the bar against the wall, so you might have to perch in the square nearby to get stuck in – but it’s totally worth it. These are proper, stonebaked Italian-style pizzas, and if you don’t want to wait around for a fresh helping of vegan grub, the pizza wraps are pre-made and ready to grab and go.
Chök – Carrer de les Ramelleres – All Veggie
I mean, it’s only really all veggie because it’s all dessert, as opposed to because they are deliberately avoiding meat. But credit where it’s due. There are two branches of Chök in Barcelona, and they’re pretty close together so if you find that one has sold out of vegan options, just head to the other one! (I’ve listed the Carrer de les Ramelleres address because that’s where we stuffed our faces with muffins and donuts until we nearly burst.)
The ring donuts stuffed with nutella-esque chocolate and hazelnut cream were divine, and I could probably eat the whipped-cream-topped, chocolate-and-raspberry-filled version every day and never tire of them. When we rocked up at 8.35pm one night we managed to snare a pile of goodies for half price (presumably because they close at 9) but never did try the truffles… yes, vegan freakin’ chocolate truffles. MULTIPLE VARIETIES. Wherever you have dinner, leave space for dessert or be forever filled with regret.
Santoni Cafe – Ronda de Sant Antoni – All Vegan
There seemed to be some debate on the trusty Happy Cow app as to whether Santoni was fully vegan – apparently the “100% vegano” sign at the front of the store and the owner repeatedly reassuring people that yes! Everything is vegan, is not enough for some people. Ah well. More empanadas for me.
I’d been quietly sad about the fact I couldn’t partake in proper Spanish snack foods like bocadillos, empanadas and potato-laden tortilla due to their eternally cheesy, meaty nature. But then we stumbled on Santoni. It’s right next to one of the exits of the Universitat metro station and has a big ol’ green V sign to alert you to its presence.
There’s a fab breakfast menu including vegan chocolate croissants and tahini toast with spinach and tomatoes, as well as a huge list of bocadillo fillings (we went for vegan Catalan sausage and cheese) – not to mention a substantial list of vegan pizzas. Somebody needs to try the carbonara pizza for me, because we ran out of time!
I’m fairly confident this is a family-run venue, and regardless, the staff were all particularly welcoming and lovely.
BarCeloneta Sangria Bar – Carrer de Sevilla – All Vegan
This one’s a little pricier than the other venues on our list, but they offer loads of authentic Spanish tapas as well as literally dozens of different types of sangria. Travelling the world eating burgers is great, but if you want to experience some actual Spanish food, it’s between here and Santoni that you need to be.
Conveniently located about 30 seconds from the nearest beach, BarCeloneta do offer main courses and desserts – including raw and gluten-free choices – but we were just there for the tapas. I could eat their croquetas and home made dips aaaaaaaaall day long, and you probably should too.
Veggie Garden – Carrer dels Àngels – All Vegan
You’ll be hard pushed to beat the value for money at Veggie Garden, who rustle up all manner of world-tapas from Nepalese dumplings and Indian samosas to classic Spanish patatas bravas and Chinese satay tofu. There are also bigger plates if you’re not in the mood for sharing, with a three course set menu with bread coming in at less than €10 a head and substantial thalis sitting at €7.50. I’ll take three.
The novelty of flicking through a vast vegan menu with literally dozens of drool-inducing options will never get old for me, and I took great joy in ordering approximately twice as much food as any reasonable human needs. The Momo dumplings and baked satay tofu were personal favourites, but we also worked our way through a tapas taster plate of seven sample-size portions and failed to find a single thing that wasn’t delicious.
Mojitos rock up at €3.50 here, which makes them cheaper than some of the soft drinks and basically obligatory. Or you can have a healthy-as-heck spirulina smoothie… but, mojitos.
Teresa Carles – Carrer de Jovellanos – All Veggie
You don’t have to ogle their photos for long to realise that Teresa Carles are a pretty swanky joint. This is not a soya hotdog and onion rings establishment. This is a date-night, candlelit, nice wine and suave presentation sort of place.
There are some cracking vegan choices on the menu, and while it may not be the cheapest place to eat, it’s worth spending a few extra euros for the amazing food and all-round pleasurable ambience. I had a vegan take on rossejat de fideus, a Catalan dish that turns spaghetti noodles into something very posh and fancy indeed. It was glorious. Chris went for the lasanyuki, an unimaginably tasty lasagne-esque dish for which our only complaint was that there should have been more of it. Thankfully, the fact there wasn’t more of it meant we had space for dessert.
The vegan mille-feuille was a game-changer, and I couldn’t resist the vegan snowflake cake because WHAT A 2017 NAME. Caramelised pears and white chocolate fudge. On cake. Vegan. All of it.
If I can give y’all one piece of advice about travelling to Barcelona, it is this: eat all the things.