Friday, April 4, 2014

Vegan Barcelona

Preparing for my vacation in Barcelona, I did a lot of research about where to eat. I was left with an impression (based on the internet) that we might have some trouble finding places to eat. Regionally – Catalonia isn't the best for vegan fare. This was definitely true when we made a day trip to Figueres, where my lunch consisted of a glass of wine and some bread. Barcelona however, was a really great city for vegan and vegetarian dining! 

My dad and I put together a list – of our favorite vegan/vegetarian dining experiences in BCN.
We meant to stop at 5 – but settled for 6.

Cat Bar was easily our favorite dining experience in Barcalona, not only was it close to where we were staying, but it was also incredibly delicious. If Cat Bar were in Philly, we would eat there all the time. I might even say that they have better burgers that our current go to veggie burger dive (dare I?) -- Car Bar is only open in the evenings (after 16h) and is closed on Sundays. They have a very basic menu, of 5 different vegan veggie burgers (bean, mushroom, eggplant, etc) as well as a daily burger special. You can get your burger served with patates bravas (a local specialty), english chips (aka fries) or a salad. Appetizers include soups salads and a hummus plate. We ate here 3 times, not out of necessity. The beer list, made up of all european vegan brews, was also incredible. My dad liked the Brew Dog beers from UK – I was partial to a local BCN beer - "Edge Porter"

Blue Project, a small lunchonette is located next to The Blue Project Foundation (an art gallery) right around the corner from the Museau Xocolate. They have weird hours, opening at 10h and closing at 20h – they have an al a carte menu all day, but only serve lunch from 13h until 16h. We ate here twice, once we stopped in for a snack not knowing what to expect, after which we decided we had to go back for lunch. They serve vegan and raw food (not entirely raw) – and their food was AMAZING and reasonably priced. Raw carrot cake, vegan Banana ice cream, grilled tofu sandwhiches --- and my dad said that sunflower bread on his raw sandwhich was the best raw bread he has ever had. If you are visiting the Chocolate Museum (which you should) go here for lunch after. Also fairly close to Picasso, and the Mammoth Museum (also incredible).

Mostly vegetarian, with a few vegan options. La Bascula does serve some seafood and egg dishes – they have copies of the menu in multiple languages so you should be fine. Really great warm vegan sandwich (and I am sure the rest of the menu is great too) and nice beer and wine options. The place has a super nice homey atmosphere.  Open from 13h until 23h, this is a late afternoon, order at the counter, and find a seat at a giant table type establishment. CASH ONLY. Incredibly friendly staff. 

Where we ate the first night, Teresa Carles is a fancier vegetarian restaurant with many vegan and a few raw options. Coming from Benin, my body just felt happier after eating a hearty and nutritious meal here. We shared a fruit and veggie salad (it had strawberries!!) – I ate the vegan lasagna for dinner (absolutely amazing) and my dad had the cashew cheese vegetable rolls. Aside from the typical wine and beer list they also offer juices and smoothies. Not the type of place you would eat at every night (like I said it is a bit fancier) but they are definitely worth checking out.

This is not a vegetarian restaurant BUT they offer a vegetarian fixed menu. Orgiens specializes in local Catalonia fare, which is what made this place really neat. We did not get to eat a lot of local specialties during our stay since the majority of them are meat and seafood heavy (although I did love the pan au tomate). – The vegetarian menu at Orgiens requires two people (and is rather expensive at 20 euro a person) – but this comes with 3 tapas style dishes, two appetizers, two entrees, and two deserts. A glass of wine for each person and a Catalan shot is brought to you with dessert. The menu is not flexible, meaning you will get one of everything (even if you both wanted the same entree) so we just split each dish in half and tried everything!! – Just as a heads up this menu is vegetarian (and seafood free – looking at you Air France) but it is not entirely vegan. For example one of the salads had goat cheese on it. Despite the price and the lack of flexibility we REALLY enjoyed our dining experience here and we were thankful to fine a Catalan restaurant that actually had a vegetarian dinner menu.

I was going to stop at 5 but this lunch chain was just too good to leave out. We went to the location on Princessa in the Bari Gotic/ El Born ish area. Wok to Walk is to go stir fry.. limited seating also available. The staff was amazing and friendly and they easily accommodate your dietary needs. You basically build your own dish, and can ask for any base to be made for you without eggs. Everything is fried up for you on the spot. And they clean the pans between each order. (They work in the open and I watched them do it). This was a quick easy inexpensive and filling meal with lots and lots of vegetarian options.


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