My trip to Barcelona would mark my very first experience as a vegan abroad, and I was both nervous and excited.
Prior to my trip, a number of people expressed their ‘concerns’ about the abundance of cured meats and cheese, which I would undoubtedly come face to face with; but to my sheer delight, I found myself almost bombarded with alternative options and four days suddenly felt like I would barely be able to scratch the surface of this vegan-friendly paradise.
My travel companion and sister, Lucy, is very much a carnivore, yet she was incredibly open to eating a more plant-based diet on our trip (yay)! We worked together to ensure we both got the best out of our meals and I like to think that she came home with a little more appreciation for vegan food, whilst still being able to get her meat and cheese fix when necessary.
So in no particular order, let’s take a closer look at where we ate in this gorgeous city:
After dropping our bags off at the hotel, my sister and I practically power walked to Quinoa, a vegetarian/vegan cafe located in Gràcia. This quirky little eatery was tiny inside, with about four tables arranged cosily towards the back. The walls were decorated with funky art work and hanging baskets filled with gorgeous fresh produce.
We shared a bowl of nachos with a side of fresh guacamole to take the edge off our grumbling tummies, whilst we waited for the rest of our food.
My toasted sandwich was enormous and came filled with the freshest ingredients. I couldn’t get enough of the juicy Spanish tomatoes and olive tapenade.
We loved Quinoa so much we went back again on our last day, to fuel up on avocado toast and smoothies before visiting Park Güell.
Walking into Cat Bar was like being transported straight back into one of Manchester’s cool dive bars. This snug little joint had a punk feel to it and looking around, it attracted the alternative crowd. Surrounded by cat-themed wall art and illustrations, we dived headfirst into a glass of local artisanal beer and the most amazing vegan burgers with a side of patatas bravas.
This vegetarian/vegan restaurant is rumoured to have the best vegan pizza in Barcelona. After one bite, I’d go as far as saying it was the best vegan pizza I’ve ever had!
I opted for the gourmet pizza, with creamy mushrooms, homemade vegan cheese and truffle oil. It was rich, bursting with flavour and as I write this I am trying not to drool.
No vegan trip to Barcelona is complete without visiting Flax & Kale, who have a number of locations around the city. We visited the Tallers restaurant, a stones throw from the Universitat metro stop. The menu labelled itself as ‘flexitarian’, meaning that it was primarily plant-based, but included oily fish.
I loved the large, open space and everything was beautifully designed, from the decor to the menu.
To accompany my home-made nut milk latte, I ate the most gorgeous bagel for brunch, which contained a delicious combination of vegan cheese and tempeh.
Lucy had her very first açai bowl and was blown away.
We couldn’t visit Barcelona without sampling some of the tapas, so after a bit of research, we made our way to la pepita in Gràcia one evening. The little restaurant was absolutely buzzing and to our dismay, a queue had already formed outside the door.
Luckily for us, a waitress pointed out their sister restaurant la cava, located just a few doors down. It had the same menu and chef and though hesitant at first, hunger and curiosity soon got the better of us.
Inside, the bustling little restaurant was cosy and the walls were covered from floor to ceiling in handwritten messages from people all over the world. We drank two jugs of sangria whilst watching the waiters zoom around with sizzling plates of food.
We shared a huge plate of patatas bravas. I also ate my weight in fresh guacamole and peppers. Lucy treated herself to a cheese dish with artichokes (which I nibbled on) and tuna carpaccio.
Though the vegan options were slightly limited for me (I didn’t fancy bread, hummus and olives on this occasion), the portion sizes were enormous and I left feeling perfectly satisfied.
Raw, local, plant-based goodness. We stopped here for a light lunch one afternoon, pairing our smoothies with beetroot hummus, crackers and veg. Though delicious, it was by no means cheap and we left feeling considerably poorer.
Such a great find! Filled with hammock chairs, this cafe was a great spot for breakfast. I also had the best smoothie of my life here, which tasted like salted caramel!
I treated myself to an açai bowl after getting a touch of the food envy at Flax & Kale. It was delicious and perfect for cooling me down in the warm weather, though paired with the cold smoothie, I ended up with goosebumps and a numb tongue!
When we happened across this vegan bakery in Gràcia I most definitely lost my cool; cake is my weakness. As well as enormous cupcakes, there were muffins, cookies and desserts on display and I spent a good while just staring at everything in awe.
I eventually got a carrot cake cupcake to go, and carried it with me, all the way to Park Güell, before giving in and devouring it.
I was lucky enough to spend just under 24 hours back Barcelona this year, and had one place on my mind. Roots and Rolls was recommended to me by my lovely vegan friends Katie and Nicola and it certainly didn’t disappoint. In fact, I came away from the restaurant feeling like I’d eaten the entire menu.
To start, I tried the gyozas and spring rolls. The sauce smothering the gyozas was divine and my friend James pretty much licked the plate clean.
We then shared a bowl of ramen miso; the flavours were sensational, yet it felt incredibly light on the stomach.
Next, we moved onto a sharing platter of ‘sushi’ rolls (mushroom, spicy mango, rocket, chickpea), nigiris (tomato & basil, tofu & kimchi, avocado & sriracha) and avocado makis, which were made from black rice, quinoa and mixed grains and came topped with 4 different sauces.
We ate the lot, they were beautifully presented and absolutely delicious.
All in all, I found Barcelona to be exceptionally vegan-friendly. Not once have I felt awkward or struggled to find decent food; in fact, the city has some of the best vegan grub I’ve ever eaten! There is also such a great selection; from healthy breakfasts and brunches, vegan beer, tapas, guilt-free fast food, to a cheeky cupcake.
To see what activities I got up to (between stuffing my face), check out my blog post; How to Spend 4 Days in Barcelona.