As you probably have guessed by now I went to Barcelona! I was there for two weeks, and thought it would be nice to write a couple of posts about where I ate while I was away. I went with my mum, dad, sister, boyfriend and my godmother also joined us for the first week. I am the only vegan in my family, my boyfriend is gluten free and eats mostly vegan, while my sister and godmother are dairy free, so as you can see we had a range of dietary requirements to meet. This made eating out a bit tricky, we ate at some exclusively vegan restaurants, vegetarian restaurants and some that managed to cater to everyone's needs. Hopefully if you're off to Barcelona and have a few tricky customers in your family this post we lend some support.
I'm going to split this blog in to two, week 1 and week 2, as we ate out A LOT and so there's a lot to cover. Also please please excuse some of the photo's quality, a lot were taken in low light, as we were eating late in the evening, and on a phone, so it's to be expected.
We arrived in Barcelona early afternoon, and stepped of the plane to that wall of heat, that is so instantly comforting and exciting. Everyone was raring to go and start exploring the city, however the car rental place had other ideas. We waited around for hours before we got our car and could leave the airport, it was hot and I kept complaining about all the tanning I could be doing. When we finally got to our apartment in Barcelona (only a short drive from the airport, the exasperation at not getting cabs was real, however the car was worth it later in the holiday as it meant we could do day trips out of the city) it started to rain, Typical! Anyway we sucked it up and left the apartment, all starving hungry and went in search of food. We were tired after a days travelling and wanted something quick and easy. We ended up on the sea front at Port Olympic, and went to a Mexican restaurant. Hmm what to say about this place? Maybe don't eat here. In all honesty it was bad, the supposedly vegetable tamales me and Jamie got had meat in, and everyone else's food was really below average. It was a shame because I was so hungry and didn't eat much, but we chucked it up to experience, and were determined to find better food the next day.
The second day was our getting our bearings exploring the city day, we ended up having lunch on Placa Reial, a square just of Las Ramblas. Tempted in by free drinks and a menu that didn't look completely un-vegan friendly, Rossini, describes itself as a Pizzeria Ristorante, they serve a mix of traditional Spanish dishes and Italian food. I went for potato wedges, a green salad and a vegetable skewer. It was a good but nothing to write home about lunch, the setting of this restaurant is lovely though and it's surrounded by restaurants that really don't cater for vegans so if you are local it's definitely a good pit stop.
That evening we all ate at a restaurant, called Cafe Menssana, very close to our apartment, as we had noticed while exploring that it had a vegan burger, along with dishes to keep the omnivores happy! This burger I speak of was a curried lentil burger with vegan aioli. It was delicious, and reminded me of a curry my dad makes (which bangs) but in burger form. Plus it was really filling, I had to leave some of my side of fries because they were a step to far. This place didn't have gluten free burger buns, and the vegan burger itself wasn't gluten free. One reoccurring theme I found when eating out was that often the vegan and gluten free options didn't coincide. So if you need to eat both vegan and gluten free this can sometimes be an issue.
We started the third day off with a breakfast at All you eat is love, a small cafe literally 20 seconds away from our apartment. It is a vegetarian cafe with a lot of vegan options. Over the course of the holiday we got breakfast/lunch here a number of times because it was super close and the food was great, really fresh and light. I ate a number of the wraps, all really tasty, my favourite was a tofu and peanut sauce one, this first day I went for a hummus, quinoa and salad wrap. I also ate the triple hummus and tortilla chip salad and, another personal favourite - 'the japanese bowl' - a mango, avocado, brown rice and pesto salad. The mango went so well with this dish and was super refreshing, this has totally inspired me to experiment with mango in my salads at home.
Me and Jamie had dinner alone in the evening, we ended up at Somewhere Cafe, which isn't far from the Casa Bastillo. This restaurant offered a vegetarian burger (which was easily converted into a veagn one), and gluten free burgers. The kitchen was suitable for Ceoliacs, which is worth noting if you are gluten free for this reason. They also had a gluten free beer, something Jamie made the most of. Unfortunately once again the vegetarian burger wasn't gluten free, as it was made from seitan. Bad luck if you need both dietary requirements but I was pretty pleased because I'd never eaten seitan. The burger came with hummus, confit red cabbage, spinach tomato and smokey mayonnaise. I asked for the burger without mayonnaise to make it vegan. It also came with sweet potato fries; absolute dream. I had eaten a burger the day before but I was in no way disappointed with having to eat one again as it was super tasty. The seitan was delectably chewy and had a slightly smokey flavour.
Dinner on the 4th day was just me and Jamie again and we went to our first completely vegan restaurant. And it really didn't disappoint. BarCeloneta Sangria Bar is a few minutes walk from Barcelona beach, it specialises in sangria, with 15 recipes including non-alcoholic ones, vegan tapas and raw sugar free deserts. We went for a jug of cider, orange, mint and cinnamon sangria which tasted amazing. We then chose a few tapas dishes to share; tempeh skewers with aubergine, and sun-dried tomato, served with caramelised onion and toasted sesame seeds, vegan aliens; grilled zucchini, sun-dried tomato pesto and vegan cheese stacks, vegan patatas bravas, and a vegan cheese and prawn cocktail. The prawn cocktail looked amazing, it really looked like prawns, but I have to say this was my least favourite dish as the texture was slightly odd, a bit rubbery, it didn't stop me eating most of it though. The rest of the food was sublime. The aliens were beautifully presented and tasted so gooey and good. I loved the potatoes in the patas bravas, the sauce on top was slightly spicy and had a hint of curry. We then finished up with a tirawmisu to share. This was creamy and chocolately and I slightly regretted sharing it with Jamie!
Our fifth dinner took us all back to Cafe Menssana, and this time I went for baked aubergine topped with a dukkah salad (this was supposed to be served with yoghurt so I just asked for it without). Totally divine and a recipe inspiration to take home for sure.
The 6th day me and Jamie went in search of a vegan restaurant for lunch. We wondered around for a while before concluding it didn't seem to exist anymore, so we gave up on that and went to Taco Alto, a Mexican fast food place close to where we were. The vegan tacos I went for weren't so good. To be honest if you're a lover of Mexican food I wouldn't recommend this place. It looked super cool, but the actual food was bland. They had a variety of salsa's on the table in bottles (kinda like nando's sauce) which definitely added something. But overall I wasn't very impressed.
This was my godmother Mitten's last night, so we really wanted to choose somewhere we could all have a good meal. After much searching on the internet Jamie found L'Antic Bocoi Del Gotic . Nestled in the heart of the Gothic region this quaint restaurant specialises in coques de recapte, a traditional Catalan dish that is made with a thin flatbread base and a variety of toppings, it's basically a Catalan pizza without any cheese. They had gluten free bases and a host of vegan toppings. I started with tomato bread and went for a coques de recapte for main. The tomato bread was nice, but the main was stunning. I topped my flatbread with, peppers, aubergine, onion, rocket and walnuts. I can't even explain what was so great about this meal, because it was so simple but oh my god it was glorious! This was my favourite restaurant that the whole family ate at. It catered to everyone's diets really well, you could personalise your toppings, the atmosphere and decor were lovely, and everyone really enjoyed their meals.
Curry Barcelona On the 6th night, I was feeling pretty lazy and didn't fancy a long walk. We thought about walking back into the gothic region but this was a good half an hour walk or so from the apartment so we ended up heading to an Indian close to Port Olympic which was very close to where we were staying. Simply called this place was a real good easy option. We had onion bhajis to start and I don't know what witchcraft they had performed on them but they were genuinely the best bhajis I have ever eaten. We followed this by sharing chana masala (chickpea curry), aloo gobi (potato and cauliflower curry) and pilau rice. The curry was pretty spicy (for me, I'm a bit of wuss with spice, well compared to some, I guess it's all relative huh?) but full of flavour, fresh and really enjoyable.
So that was it our first week in eating in Barcelona, well first 6 days to be precise. I think we ate pretty damn well all things considered. Compared with a lot of Spain Barcelona has a lot of vegan options and the staff in a lot of places do understand what vegan is (vegano in Spanish). I'll be back with the next instalment of Spanish feasts soon (I feel like a TV show lol), but I hope you've found this one enjoyable/useful. I can't recommend Barcelona highly enough as a holiday destination, it's the perfect mix of sun, sea, culture and of course good food!