‘Soy vegeteriana’ is one of the many phrases here that gets me some funny looks. Being veggie really is a foreign concept to the Spanish. Cooking is a bit part of Spanish culture and guttingly for me, meat is too! You can’t walk down a main highstreet without seeing huge hunks of jamon serrano staring you in the face. That doesn’t bother me. Sure, you won’t find me salivating outside the window making love to it with my baby blues but I get that Spain is a meat Mecca. No one loves a good Madrileños
I challenge you to find a cafe where there aren’t legs behind the counter. And not the ‘hotspanishwaiterwho’salsoabitcreepy’ kind of legs, full on beefy pins. Go in, sit down and look up. Chances are, there’ll be a hoof in your face.
“You don’t eat meat? At All? Not even fish? HOW DO YOU LIVE?!” Yeah. I hear that a lot.
Having said that, as a capital city Madrid has plenty of cafes and restaraunts that are veggie friendly! When I was living in Sevilla I found one place that even had a veggie tapas menu and it was some of the best veggie stuff I’ve ever had.
Now I can hear you green beans shouting, ‘But Georgie, whilst I am partial to a cheeky hoof now and again (preferably still attached to the animal), where can I get my veggie fix?’, woah there, I’m coming to it.
Behold, many a veggie tapa. Can I get a hallelujah? The truth is, the Spanish can do veggie. They don’t realise it, but they can. They just don’t see the point. So when they go whole hog (rather than hanging one in the window) and do all out veggie, expect the best.
Veggie’s Guide to Tapas:
Tortilla – just potato,eggs,onion and all that good stuff. You can find variations with peppers or other veggies too so keep an eye out.
Espinacas con garbanzos – One of my favourites. God that stuff’s good. Spinach and chickpeas.
Berenjenas con miel – Aubergines with honey. I’ve never been a fan of aubergines, i know, sinful veggie. These are heavenly.
Queso de cabra – You can get it on tostadas with a yummy berry compote or as part of a platter but anything with goats cheese is a winner.
Queso Manchego – Yeah so if you don’t like cheese, you’re kind of screwed. This is usually served with jamon and fruit.
Pimientos asados – A mix of roasted green and red peppers in a sauce, usually a kind of light dressing with vinegar.
Aceitunas – A staple. No one can resist an olive. We know this from the subway ads with the scary olive chat up lines.
Croquetas – I’ve have spinach, cheese,mushroom and even pesto croquettes and they’re definitely worth a try. Very filling.
Patatas bravas/alioli – Everywhere does these differently, mostly they’re potato wedge type things with either a spicy tomato or a garlic sauce
Champiñónes – Usually you get a tapas bowl of mushrooms with a garlicy sauce – pretty god damned yummy.
Quesadillas – Sometimes veggie, sometimes not, usually they’re stuffed with mushrooms, pepper and cheese, with guacamole and sals dips.
These are just a few, there are plenty more out there if you look for them. There are also some great veggie places to go for a meal if you really want to push thr boat out and you’re in danger of getting scurvy from raiding cien montaditos.
This place, is brilliant. Restaurante Integral Artemisa. I had a stuffed aubergine there, with the full veggie works; tofu, cheese, an amazing sauce..the lot. I don’t know what they did to it, but it was the nicest aubergine I’ve ever tasted. Witchcraft. If that aubergine was a person, it would have been Johnny Depp. I would do bad things to that aubergine. Get on it.
These places are also worth checking out, I’ve had some bangin’ tofu concoctions in Madrid:
La Isla Del Tesoro
Viva la Vida
So veggies of Madrid, don’t suffer in silence ( not that you would, come on,) with a platter of jamon on your left and a suspicious looking sausage to your right. Get out there, explore the veggie options and you might discover a tasty little something you never knew existed!