A Vegetarian Foodie’s Adventures Across Europe – Part II

Did you enjoy the first part of the ‘Vegetarian Foodie in Europe’ series last week? If you haven’t, do check it out and let me know your feedback. 
Many people swear by the ‘Happy Cow’ app to find the nearest vegan restaurant but I am yet to try it. In India, I am used to Zomato and when I was in the US, I mostly got by, using Yelp. Also, most of the times, I am with friends or family, who are hardcore non-vegetarians and I never had the chance to use it. Maybe I will use it on my next trip.
As you may have read, it was comparatively easy for me to find vegetarian food in Portugal. However, I did eat a lot of eggs here. But I still did not go hungry in Portugal. The next destination on my list was Spain. How did I fare in finding vegetarian food in Spain? Read on to find out.
vegetarian food in Spain
Hotel Miramar, Mallorca, Spain

Huelva – Spain:

I had to take a train from Huelva to Madrid. I went to Huelva just to catch the train. It is a small town and most of the places around the train station were closed that day (Sunday). The only thing that was open at 3 in the afternoon there was a small café. It only had a cheesecake that looked vegetarian and I had to satisfy my hunger with a cheesecake.

Vegetarian Food in Spain’s Food capital Madrid:

I did go around Madrid train station looking for something vegetarian to eat. I did not want to eat anything sweet and wanted to have some savoury for dinner. But then I realised that all the food packets were written in Spanish.
A Vegetarian Foodie's Adventures Across Europe - Spain
Madrid, Spain
That is when I realised the importance of learning how to say “Vegetarian only – no seafood, no meat” in the language that is spoken in the country you are visiting. I do not recall where I read it but that is definitely some good advice. I ended up buying nothing since I could not figure out what was vegetarian nor could I make the person at the counter understand.
I got robbed the same night and I completely forgot to eat anything by the time I got to the hostel. 
Once I was done sulking the next day, I went looking for food. That is when I realised how Madrid was a paradise for food lovers, even for vegetarians. I stayed here for 4 days and every day I ate something different to test my taste palette. 
A Vegetarian Foodie's Adventures Across Europe - Spain
Madrid, Spain
Since I was staying around Plaza Mayor, options were unlimited with both Puerta Del Sol and Gran Via being, walking distance from where I stayed. But my favourite place to eat in Madrid was the Mercado San Miguel market. It is a gourmet tapas (appetiser or snacks) market and it had a wide array of tapas and desserts to eat. One thing to note is that it is always crowded. 
I did try a wide array of vegetarian tapas and I loved most of them. I did try the Vegetarian Paella, which is a Spanish rice dish that is similar to the Indian biriyani. The only problem with paella is that it usually comes in sharing portions and I did not find people to share it with.
 
There are lots of dessert shops around and I tried quite a number of sweet dishes as well. There is no dearth of sweet dishes in Spanish cuisine and I had a nice time sampling few of them. Don’t forget to have some churros with chocolate or Flan or maybe a Crema Catalana
But my favourite part of Spanish cuisine was the Spanish Tortilla, an omelette that is usually stuffed with potatoes. If you had given me only Spanish Tortilla to eat for the whole day, I would have had them without any qualms. They were that delicious.
A Vegetarian Foodie's Adventures Across Europe - Spain
Spanish Tortilla
I even found a cute little Vegan restaurant, YerbaBuena near Plaza Mayor in Madrid. Our hostel was also quite nice when it came to arranging events every night. On my 2nd night there, me and my roommates ended up gate crashing a beer tasting party held in our hostel’s rooftop restaurant. I don’t drink beer but my roommates were quite impressed with the beer (Basqueland Brewing Project). They also conducted daily pub crawls around the area we were staying in and I had fun attending one of them.
A Vegetarian Foodie's Adventures Across Europe - Spain
A Vegetarian Foodie's Adventures Across Europe - Spain - Madrid
Basque land Brewing Company
 

Mallorca – Spain:

Mallorca is an island destination. I continued my love of Spanish tortillas here and ended having a lot of them here too.
My hotel here, Hotel Miramar, was a quaint hotel and they were also kind enough to make something delicious and vegetarian for me. There was an Indian restaurant right next to my hotel for people who are interested. I prefer not to eat Indian food while traveling abroad.
Mallorca is quite famous for its oranges and lemons. Do try them while you are in Mallorca, they are definitely different than the ones I have had in India. 
A Vegetarian Foodie's Adventures Across Europe - Spain
Oranges in Mallorca
If you do end up going to Valldermoosa in Mallorca, a well-known delicacy here is the Almond cake with milk. They were supposedly made famous by the music composer Chopin and his lover George Sand (Her real name was Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin) during their stay in Valldermoosa.
A Vegetarian Foodie's Adventures Across Europe - Spain
Almond Cake, Valldermoosa

Barcelona – Spain:

Barcelona is also a heaven for foodies. There are so many options to choose from when it comes to finding delicious food. 
So on my first night here, I decided to ask Google for nearby vegetarian restaurants and Google directed me to a cute little restaurant called Gut, just 100 metres behind my hostel. They were highly recommended for vegetarians. As I sat there browsing the menu, my eye caught a special item ‘Chicken Kerala Curry’. For people who don’t know, my parents are from Kerala in India (affectionately called God’s Own Country) and I was born in Kerala as well. I found it quite amusing that they had this item on their menu. How small things like this surprise us? Here I was sitting half way across the world, in a small restaurant in Barcelona and I found something that connected me to my roots. We could see the kitchen and the chef there looked like a Mallu (People from Kerala are called Malayalees and the anglicised short form is Mallu). I contemplated asking to speak to the chef but I finally did not. The food again was delicious and they had lots of vegetarian options in addition to the non-vegetarian ones.
A Vegetarian Foodie's Adventures Across Europe - Spain - Barcelona
Gut, Barcelona, Spain
The breakfast at the hostel (Generator, Barcelona) was not that good though. So by the time I got to Las Ramblas one day, I was really hungry. And then I saw it, the Hard Rock Café in Barcelona right at the corner of Placa Catalunya. I love the burgers there and I did not even have any second thoughts of going there for lunch. I know they are expensive but after having Spanish food for more than a week, all I wanted was an American burger.
A Vegetarian Foodie's Adventures Across Europe - Spain
Hard Rock, Barcelona
I went with my roommates to a dismal pub crawl around Eixample and I would not recommend it. But do try out the various Tapas places around Barcelona. I wish I had more time to explore Barcelona but my time here was limited.
So did you enjoy the guide to finding Vegetarian food in Spain? Next week, I will bring you more about the struggles and adventures I faced as a vegetarian foodie in Europe. Stay tuned to find out more.
Liked it, then pin it.
 
A Vegetarian Foodie's Adventures Across Europe - Part II
A Vegetarian Foodie’s Adventures Across Europe – Part II
 

45 Comments

  1. What a great guide! Even as a vegetarian, it’s great to know there’s so many amazingly delicious looking options around. It’s definitely making me hungry 😀

  2. Better Carry Khakhare or frozen paratha ..:) … Searching for vegan food is tedious task and actually take away time from enjoying location

    1. I would love to disagree. For me, part of visiting a place is to try out the local cuisine and this definitely adds to the experience. You would be surprised at the number of vegan options in many places now. Searching for local food and interacting with the local people only adds to the experience.
      I wouldn’t prefer to have Khakra or frozen paratha when I am traveling. Besides I was on the road for almost 6 weeks and it would have been really boring to only survive on these. I hope as frequent travelers, we can show the world that you can have delicious vegetarian food wherever we go. Even though it is difficult, it is not impossible.

  3. So the burger from Hard Rock Cafe was vegetarian as well? It would deceive me ha! Looks real! I love Spain and I have spent over a year and a half of my life there. Love the food and everything you described took me right back to that time when I used to live there. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Getting a vegetarian pasta in Europe is always easy…but I am glad that you found a veg paella as well 🙂 Paella and Churros are on my list when I go there. Isn’t Gelato big …as dessert in Spain..the way it is in Italy or Croatia?

  5. We also loved to eat tortilla when we were in Spain. And Barcelona is heaven for foodies. Our apartment was near Sagrada familia and the street was lined with plenty of outdoor restaurants to choose from every night for dinner.

  6. Oh man that Spanish Tortilla looks good. I LOVE eggs and taters! I’m not a vegetarian but I wouldn’t mind some of these dishes!

  7. All that food looks so yummy! So sorry to hear you were robbed also that is awful! Glad it didn’t get your spirits down too much and continued with your trip! Such a good guide to so many places. All them cakes is making me peckish!

    1. Yes it was difficult but I am glad that I continued with my trip. I would just go stare at the displays of the many dessert shops around Madrid. I couldn’t afford to have so many desserts.

  8. While I’m not vegetarian, I do remember seeing lots of vegetarian options at tapas bars in Barcelona. Glad to read that you were able to indulge in the delicious looking Spanish omelets. The fruits from Mallorca look so delicious…yum!!!

  9. Great post! I find there are quite a lot of vegetarian options here in Germany as well, but of course the German kitchen is nothing like the Spanish :p

  10. Oh Gosh..you too got robbed in Spain:( I experienced that in BCN but anyhow glad that you managed fine with the food. I am a vegetarian too and I had to search a lot for vegetarian paella! God things there are so many other delicious things to try out too:)

  11. The tortillas in Spain are one of my favorite things! There is a famous place to get it in San Sebastian (I forget the name) but it sells out early, so we didn’t get to try it.

  12. This looks amazing! Even though I am not a vegetarian, I still love fruits and vegetables…and of course dessert, so this guide is wonderful. I am so sorry to hear you got robbed, but I am glad to hear that things bounced back for you and you were able to find some lovely things to eat and enjoy in Spain.

  13. I’ve only recently heard of Happy Cow- super keen to try it out next time I am travelling! This list is fantastic! Ive recently gone vego so am excited to try all these wonderful places next time I am in Europe!

  14. Sharing with my vegan/veggie friends!! As a non-vegetarian its always so hard for us to find food choices, and we’re heading to spain together in a few months so this is perfect!

  15. For some reason I always thought Spain would be a tough place to find vegetarian options. As a veggie myself I know how hard it can be to travel to different places and trying to communicate your dietary restrictions. Definitely the best advice is learn some phrases to communicate your needs when ordering food! All of the food you’ve described sounds so delicious. I love Spanish omlettes too! So delicious!

  16. Those food looks delicious. Honestly, I don’t like eating green leafy vegetables. But looking at those photos, Oh boy! I want to try. I’m sorry to hear about your bad experience. Hope everythings okay. Anyway, I have a couple of vegan friends. I’ll refer them to your blog. They’ll going to love it.

  17. It sucks that you got robbed, but glad you could recover and resume your travels! I was at Plaza Mayor just about a week back and having read many such stories, a sizable amount of my attention was focused on just being alert and aware the entire time.

    I too went to Yerbabuena! 🙂 Good food!

    The oranges in Madrid were amazing! The first time I had fresh squeezed orange juice, I actually double checked if it was 100% natural or artificially sweetened. Also, initially I found it a little weird that most “traditional” breakfast menus in Madrid included both coffee and orange juice, but soon enough I starting liking it that way.

    1. Plaza Mayor, La Rambles all are hot spots for getting robbed. It was a different experience and I was glad that I was able to recover.

      The oranges were amazing and I loved having orange juice all around Spain.

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