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Feb 27, 2011 11:22 AM

Vegan-Vegetarian Friendly Tapas Joints in Madrid

I (carnivore) and my friend Etienne (vegan) are spending 3 days in Madrid together next weekend. We are looking for places that will cater to both of us so I can stuff myself with cheese and gambas and he will be able to find something to eat. Any recommendations on vegan-friendly joints that also serve good traditional or new fusion Spanish food would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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  1. It's really rough out there for vegans, because eggs and cheese find their way into the few traditional dishes and tapas that don't have meat or fish (I have a son who is allergic to eggs, so I know firsthand just how much stuff he can't eat here--good thing he loves pig)...

    There are two places that specialize in wild mushrooms that would work (just make sure to specify that you don't want an egg on the dish):

    El Cisne Azul (in Chueca)--boletus, chanterelles, also grilled squash blossoms, salads, and a huge carnivorous steak (lomo bajo)

    El Imperio (Quevedo metro)

    Both are tiny, so go early or be prepared to eat standing up at the bar.

    It's not a tapas place, but as I remember, La Bardemcilla has some good salads, a vegetable "a la plancha" (grilled) dish, and a pisto-like ensalada templada (sort of a Spanish ratatouille).

    There's a place in Lavapiés that does a menú del dîa and caters to vegetarians/vegans--it's called El Granero de Lavapiés. It's not terribly exciting for non-vegs, but I think it's better than "El Estragón in La Latina, which is another option.

    It's calçot (a springy-green onion that is grilled) season... you might want to try them a Catalan place like La Huerta de Lleida.

    2 Replies
    1. re: butterfly

      Hi! That is incredibly nice of you. I tried to find the website for El Cisne Azul -- do they take reservations? Because your description sounds perfect.
      I love Spanish food, especially the seafood, but most of the menus I have looked at don't have a single vegetarian option.

      1. re: guzelsu

        El Cisne Azul doesn't take reservations and it's really old school so probably no website (it's tiny, just 7 tables or so--and aesthetically like a typical neighborhood bar). If you get there early (8:30ish) you should be okay.

        El Imperio does take reservations (also just a handful of tables). It also has a good selection of mushroom dishes and might also have some salads (they have a nice fried artichoke dish, but they probably use a bit of egg in the batter).

        There's one marisquería (a restaurant specializing in seafood/crustaceans) that I can think of that does have a grilled vegetable plate (not quite a whole meal, but it's something...). It's called Marisquería Norte Sur--it's right next to the Cuatro Caminos metro stop. They have a bar in the front where you can stand up and eat and a sit-down restaurant in the back where you can reserve.

    2. La Panera at Calle Arenal. Raciones (platters for sharing). Vegan: pimientos de Padron (deep fried green peppers), Not-vegan: chopitos (fried baby cuttlefish) OR lacón (slices of boiled pork shoulder dressed with paprika).
      Las Bravas at Calle Nuñez de Arce. Vegan: patatas bravas (fried potato with spicy sauce). Not-vegan: tortilla, oreja (chunks of grilled pig ear)
      Según Emma at Calle Conde de Miranda 4 (opposite the Mercado de San Miguel). Vegan: salmorejo (tomato cream, ask it without minced ham nor boiled egg), papas con mojo (small boiled potatoes with a sauce from the Canary Islands). Not- vegan: carrilleras (stewed pork cheek).
      Taberna de Conspiradores at Calle Moratin 33. Vegan: pisto (ratatouille). Not vegan: migas (breadcrumbs cooked with chorizo), magro (stewed pork meat), Torta del Casar cheese.
      Faborit at Calle Alcalá 21. Vegan: salads, fruit juices. Not-vegan: cappuccino.
      Huerta Uno at Calle Huertas 1. Vegan: tosta de setas (toast topped with mushroom with spicy sauce), tarta de zanahoria (carrot cake). Not-vegan: pulpitos a la plancha (grilled baby octopus).
      Huerta de Lleida Restaurant at Cuesta de Santo Domingo 16. Not-vegan: calçots (green onions), escalivada (baked vegetables). Not-vegan: bacalla al forn (baked cod), llonganiza (Catalan sausage).
      Artemisa at Calle Ventura de la Vega 4. Vegetarian/Vegan restaurant. Not-vegan dish: pastel Fara Dibah (vegetables with cheese au gratin), chicken.

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