soy vegetariana estricta (vegan)
We are going to be traveling to Lisbon, and Spain this spring/summer ... I was wondering if anyone had recommendations that might be vegan friendly. Which areas of Spain would we have a better chance of finding vegan food? Also any must do/see recommendations?
Hi--The word "vegano" exists here, but it's an anglicism that most people won't understand. Vegetariano/a estricto/a might get the idea across better, but you should still mention that you don't eat egg (huevos) or milk (leche or productos lacteos). Here's a page with some restaurants listed that have vegan options:
If you google "restaurantes veganos" you'll get many more. Watch out for desserts--I think you'll be hard pressed to find a single one that doesn't have milk, eggs, or honey. On a positive note, the fruit here is really good, so you can always go to the market and stock up. Maybe you can find some places to stay where you can cook, too.
The big cities in Spain have indian, chinese, middle eastern, thai and other more vegan friendly cuisines. In Barcelona, it is super easy to find falafel and I would keep that in mind as a go to sandwich when eating out.
I live in Barcelona so the following relates mostly to Spain:
I also would not worry about finding out how to saying vegetarian or vegan in spanish, catalan or portugese because they all have a very loose understanding of the word. I've found that most people in spain consider eating fish as being vegetarian (common "vegetarian" sandwiches include vegetables plus tuna). Or that being vegetarian means that you just don't eat a lot of meat. Veganism is practically incomprehensible to most folks. It would do you a lot better to specify exactly what you do not eat and to repeat it several times. Plus, at least in Spain, it is common to use lard in place of butter in pastries (especially croissants) so you should also ask about that.
A surprising place for good vegetarian/vegan options in Spain are places that specialize in grilled meats. Because it is pretty traditional to eat grilled meats with grilled vegetables and interesting salads. Plus, you get a more authentic experiences because the food is authentic Spanish. In Catalonia. escalivada is great (red peppers, onions & eggplants grilled on wood fire so it has a lovely charcoal taste--but remind them to hold off the anchovies because sometime they place them on top). Also, it is artichoke season now and grilled artichokes are excellent! Lots of these places also serve "pan i tomaquet" which is literally bread and tomato--you get a nice crusty toast that is grilled on the open fire and tomato, garlic and oil to rub on top. It is pretty traditional to eat this with cold cuts and cheese but it goes great with escalivada or any other grilled vegetable dish. An interesting salad is xato which is vegetables (plus cod fish) with olives and romesco sauce (beautiful sauce made from nuts, smoked peppers and roasted tomatoes). Just ask them to hold off the codfish or tuna and you have a great salad option that is uniquely catalan.
I love Llesca in Gracia (Barcelona) but that is a little out of the way.
In terms of good vegetarian places, I'd stick to the coasts of Spain (and Madrid because it is international) and Portugal. Stay away from Castilla unless you want to spend every meal picking out jamon bits from your "vegetarian" dishes.
When in Barcelona, you can go to Viena for my favorite vegetarian sandwiches in Spain. They have a panini with grilled vegetables (eggplant, onions, pepper and asparagus). Can't remember if they put cheese but I am sure they can accommodate. They also have these new Asian-inspired wraps. They don't look too appetizing to me but they may be a good option.
They are a small family run chain and are located throughout the city. There is one on the Ramblas near Placa Catalyuna.
C/ Doctor Dou 10
08001 Barcelona, Spain
+34 933 012 940
We took a vegetarian visitor here last night and he was pretty happy with the experience. This place is trendy and stylish (in a hipster artsy kind of way) but the food was not, meaning that it was actually good. They have interesting salads, vegetable stir-fries with market fresh produce, desserts that don't have butter or cheese. Entrees were all 15 or less. Tapas for 3-4 euros.