We pick out some of Barcelona's best vegetarian restaurants. Not just for vegetarians, these places serve up mouth-watering, healthy food day and night.
This phenomenal vegetarian restaurant, owned by the presidents of Slow Food Barcelona, is open for lunch when they serve up a fantastic and affordable set menu from which you can choose one, two or three courses, all made with purpose and care, and off the traditional vegetarian path – that is, with a lot of imagination and using rediscovered recipes. At night they bring out the big guns – a menu full of of homemade pasta dishes and international cuisines. Most of the ingredients come from their own garden in nearby Sant Feliu de Llobregat, and you can tell by the excellent flavour from the first bite. They also serve wine and craft beer. Nothing like the old idea of vegetarian food à la Bugs Bunny.
This vegetarian restaurant is also a lively drinks bar where they serve a range of good snacks. At the back there’s a cosy little room that’s ideal for quiet, romantic dinners. They serve international specialities with a bias toward Italian food that brighten up the concept of vegetarian cuisine, though there aren’t many options for vegans. A good selection of wines.
All vegetarian restaurants want to have that certain something that sets them apart, and this one truly does: their recipes, half-traditional Catalan cuisine, half-haute cuisine, are surprisingly tasty and free from vegetarian dogma. Try their meat-free faves a la catalana or the timbal d'escalivada and see for yourself. A bonus: the wine cellar is very good.
It’s hard to imagine what the locals must have thought when this place opened in the mid-1980s – an Indian-style vegetarian restaurant that didn’t serve alcohol! In addition to their fine selection of Indian vegetarian specialities, they also have pizzas and a salad buffet. There are vegan dishes as well. Be careful when you order, because the portions are very generous.
One of the pioneers among the city's vegetarian restaurants, Biocenter's been around for 30 years and still going strong. When you enter you have the feeling that it's not a restaurant that's just for vegetarians, but for anyone who wants to eat well, with generous portions, healthy options, fast and cheerful service and at an incredibly good price. Lunchtime features a self-service salad bar with much more than your typical lettuce-and-tomato options, followed by a main dish that you choose from among the daily specials. At night you get a bit more intimate lighting, good music and waiter service. In addition to a quality range of vegetarian and vegan options for traditional and ovo-lacto-vegetarians, it's worth noting that they use all natural and organic products.
Behind the rather hippie-ish name (it means 'Rainbow') lies a small, bistro-style family restaurant, very well-lit and lively. Maybe it’s because of the location (lots of offices and businesses nearby), or its simple, tasty cuisine (salads, soups, creams, bulgur, moussaka, plus vegan options), but the fact is, at lunchtime there aren't many empty tables. People on a lunch break have to get back fast, though, so just have a seat and wait a bit. Peace and quiet, and good food.
The best thing you can say about a vegetarian restaurant is that it doesn’t look like one. Forget about the vegetarian clichés of sad tofu salads, here they offer a lunch menu featuring imaginative, tasty, nutritious dishes such as beans with cream of polenta and sage or home-made stuffed pasta, and always with an aperitif tapa included. In the evenings they unveil a range of tapas such as papas arrugas, Argentinean pies, burritos and fajitas. A small, well-chosen selection of wine and beer is available.
This place serves food to cover all tastes and preferences: lacto-ovo-vegetarian options, vegan meals, and even some dishes for non-vegetarians. There are no strong flavourings (i.e. vinegar, sugar, salt) and they serve low-alcohol drinks. Though the restaurant is in a big space, it’s usually full, as everyone can find something they like. In the back there’s a room where they hold yoga and tai-chi classes.
La Vitamínica is a place with personality. As soon as you come in, you get the feeling that this is not the sort of restaurant where they are preachy about vegetarianism, and you’d be right, seeing as part of the bar is devoted to serving sandwiches for omnivores. Meanwhile, in the dining room they serve a lunch menu that is entirely vegetarian, and well worth trying.
It all started as a business dedicated to producing natural, organic vegetarian food, and now it has two restaurants in the city. All the food comes from the earth, it’s grown by farmers and then sent to your plate. For €20 you can sample a whole range of tasty, imaginative dishes, some of them vegan. For dessert, choose from the different cakes displayed at the bar – they’re simply irresistible.