It can be hard to stick to a vegetarian diet in Spain – especially when you’re a reformed meat-eater who previously loved chorizo. Temptation is everywhere, and juicy dishes of forbidden fruit (well, meat) can be tricky to avoid.
We decided to pick a popular Spanish city, and prove that there’s much more out there than just tortillas and crisps for veggies in Spain. Veggies heading to Barcelona, worry not – here are the five best places to ensure you stay meat-free.
Taco Alto: Portal Nou, 62, 08003
This Mexican restaurant is known for its terrific customer service, and the care it lavishes on all its food. Many diners, hungry and seeking a welcoming atmosphere, have been pleasantly surprised by the staff’s willingness to accommodate their needs. The food’s tasty, fresh and cooked with love – and you can even take it away, if you’d like to.
Taco Alto is known for cooking some of the best (yes, you guessed it) tacos in Barcelona, but it’s worth looking out for their quesadillas – and their nachos, which covered in a pleasing hunk of melted cheese, guacamole, and fresh salsa. They serve meat too, but if you’re looking for a substantial veggie meal with a kick, come here. You’ll be glad you did.
Tucco Real Food: Carrer dels Còdols, 27, 08002
With a name like ‘real food’ in the name of your restaurant, you have to be pretty confident. Luckily, the guys and gals running this Italian eatery know exactly what they’re doing when it comes to veggie cuisine. It’s fairly hard to find, which might explain why the prices are so reasonable and it’s normally easy to find a seat. There’s no table service, so order at the counter and find somewhere to sit.
And what of the food? Well, the pasta is freshly-made and cooked to perfection, and their sauces are on the right side of rich without being overpowering; if you’re after a real treat, try the ravioli. Their desserts are also hugely popular; order the tiramisu for an authentic creamy, chocolate and coffee treat.
Copasetic Barcelona: Carrer de la Diputació, 55, 08015
A menu inspired by ‘comfort food’ surely cannot be a bad thing – especially if you’ve been out and about the night before. Copasetic Barcelona’s menu prides itself on being ‘international’, so British, French and Greek options are always on the menu. Their brunch combos are a thing of beauty – but don’t miss out on the raw pasta from organic zucchini, cashews and basil cream, the vegan sandwich with organic tofu or the Greek salad with lentils.
After something sweet to enjoy with your cappuccino? Try the beetroot chocolate cake – or the gluten-free carrot cake. Trust us – as far as guilt-free sweets go, they’re top of our list.
Restaurante Sesamo: Carrer de Sant Antoni Abat, 52, 08001
This truly is where veggies in Barcelona come to gorge to their heart’s content. If you’re dining as a pair, we recommend the mixed marinated olives, the pastry rolls filled with feta cheese and spinach and the fried filled rice balls to start. Then take a breather and prepare yourself for round two – the pasta filled with goat’s cheese and caramelised onion in wild mushroom and thyme butter is especially moreish, and very light.
If you and your dining companion want to order different main meals, try the filled gnocchis served with a beetroot and hazelnut sauce. It’s pleasantly rich, and the sharpness of the beetroot pairs well with the caramelly flavours of the hazelnut. If you have room (we guarantee you’ll find it), try the bitter black Toblerone tiramisu for dessert.
A Tu Bola: Carrer de l'Hospital, 78, 08001
As this restaurant’s name might give away, all the fillings are shaped into balls. Think crushed chickpeas mixed with herbs, spices, onions and garlic – pretty much like a homemade falafel. These are then deep-fried, steamed or sautéed, and popped into a pita, tapa, or served on a plate.
Veggies across TripAdvisor leave rave reviews about the chickpea and sweet potato balls – they’re served with a fresh salad, and they’re a perfectly-sized snack to keep you going. Those with a sweet tooth with love the chocolate variety, but be warned – they’re very rich, so you may have to share!
Want to know more? We’ve written an insider’s guide to discovering Barcelona on a budget. Here’s how to make the most of your break!
Flying can make even the most seasoned traveller hungry. If you land in Spain and you discover your bags are still in the UK, you can head to the nearest café to start your holiday as planned. That’s because Columbus Direct’s travel insurance can help cover the cost of any lost or delayed bags, up to £2,500.
You’ll probably never need us, but we’re here for you in case your plans change. Now, go and taste everything Barcelona has to offer!