Saturday, March 31, 2007


As a treat for our wedding anniversary, my wife and I went to Barcelona for the weekend.

I wasn't sure what the veggie scene was in Spain - I was expecting it to be reasonably poor, so I was encouraged when I discovered the Barcelona Vegetarian Guide website, which listed several vegetarian restaurants and a selection of restaurants that had a good selection of meat-free menu options.

However, in our short time in the city, we never actually got around to visiting any vegetarian restaurants to eat, although I did check out a couple of menus as we passed them on our travels.
There are several branches of Maoz in the city, which are effectively falafel and salad bars. The produce looked fresh and the bar itself looked very clean.

For lunch we braved a tapas bar and despite what the owner decided didn't contain meat or fish (we were offered sausages at one point!) we did have a lunch consisting of a Spanish omelette, potatoes and bread - not spectacular, but filling.

We found a restaurant called Unicornious fairly near to the Plaza de Catalunya, but we didn't go in as the menu didn't look that inspiring, consisting mostly of tofu and meat substitutes such as tempeh.

So, we decided to hit that haven of the veggie traveller, the Italian restaurant, of which there are plenty in Barcelona. The hotel we were staying at recommended La Perla Nera in Via Laeitana as the best Italian in the city. It must have good pizzas, as the pasta we had was certainly nothing to write home about. The spaghetti looked and tasted like it was a can of Heinz - very weird indeed. One of the desserts we ordered was pancakes covered in marmalade! We refused to pay for that as it was really disgusting. When we walked past the restaurant the next night there was a queue to get in. Like I said, they must do great pizzas, unless the Catalans have a peculiar affection for Heinz spaghetti or marmalade!

The next morning I did a Gourmet Walking Tour of the city. This lasted for about two hours and we were shown various old shops that had been producing the same food for eons, fancy chocolate shops, specialised delicattesons (where you could buy Tiptree Jam!) and, the highlight for me, Boqueria Market.

The market sells every conceivable food item you can think of (or seemed to) The displays were a sea of colour and were great.

There is a mushroom specialist there (unfortunately closed when I visited later on) that also stocks a range of edible insects, for those that maybe interested!

While in the market I noticed that there was a stall selling vegan fayre called Organic. I made a mental note to visit it once the tour was over Which I did, and had a huge, very tasty vegetable paella accompanied by a salad consisting of just about every salad item I could think of.

We had a great time in Barcelona, it's a lovely city and it'd be nice to go back as we didn't have nearly enough time to look around everything that we wanted.

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