This blog post was originally posted on June 4, 2014, and was updated on March 25, 2017.
Perhaps, as a vegan or vegetarian, you’ve pondered your dining options in Spain, which is known for jamón, manchego cheese and sautéed pig ears. Fear not: Madrid loves its meat, but we know how to get our veggie on as well!
Good news: being vegetarian or vegan in Madrid is surprisingly easy if you know where to go and what to order! To help you out, we’ve put together an all-inclusive vegan and vegetarian guide to Madrid!
Keywords and Phrases
When you have dietary restrictions, we understand how important it is to communicate your needs when ordering food. In an unfamiliar language, it can seem like an overwhelming task! To help make your life a little easier, we’ve put together a handy dandy list of keywords and phrases.
Yo soy vegano/a. I am vegan.
Yo soy vegetariano/a. I am vegetarian.
Yo no como ni carne, ni pescado, ni huevos, ni productos lacteos. I don’t eat meat, fish, eggs or dairy products.
¿Me recomiendas algo rico por favor? Can you recommend me something tasty please?
Yo no puedo comer… I can’t eat…
Yo puedo comer… I can eat…
Leche de soja: Soy milk
In the city center, you can almost always find a vegetarian tapa option. We’ve been known to order a vegetarian tapa or two when our bodies are craving something green!
- Tempura de verdura: Batter-fried vegetables are usually a delicious bet for vegans in Madrid, but vegans should double check that the batter is egg-free (¿la masa lleva huevo?). Often, tempura veggies will be served with a yogurt sauce. However, vegans can ask to substitute it with salmorejo sin huevo y jamón for dipping.
- Berejenas: Strict vegans will have to pass on the berejenas con miel, or lightly fried eggplant with honey. However, you can always ask for the traditionally North African plate sin miel, or con salmorejo vegetariano to spice it up.
- Patatas bravas: Found just about everywhere, patatas bravas consists of flash fried potatoes with a spicy tomato and paprika sauce and is sinfully delicious. Authentic patatas will be mayonnaise-free, but double check that yours are sin mayonesa before digging in.
- Pan con tomate: Always a safe bet for breakfast or tapas, this dish takes toast to a whole new level. Perfectly toasted bread is rubbed with garlic, drizzled with good olive oil and slathered in fresh tomato, making for a belly-filling and very tasty bite.
Though bullfighting fans still fill the bars near the Plaza de Santa Ana, younger Madrileños are moving away from their country’s bloody history and on to a more healthy and environmentally conscious lifestyle.
- Pimientos de padrón: A favorite among all our vegan friends, these fried green peppers are a real treat and can be found in most tapas bars in the center. They come out of the kitchen with a slightly crispy skin, tender inside and a dusting of sea salt, making for a succulent start to dinner.
- Salteada de verduras: Vegetable stir-fry is a go-to dish for all vegans, and vegans in Madrid are no different. Here, chefs use amazing local olive oil and garlic to make the plate extra special and will sometimes even use a little flour to thicken the sauce. It’s a little harder to find veggie stir-fry in tapas bars, but any sit-down restaurant will happily serve it to you if you ask nicely.
- Setas al ajillo: It’s easy to be vegan in Madrid with mouth-watering veggie dishes like these garlic-sautéed mushrooms. Made with mushrooms, a healthy amount of olive oil, white wine and lots of garlic, setas al ajillo is one of the most hearty dishes vegans can order at a tapas bar. This plate will often come with jamón, so make sure your waiter you know you want a plato vegetariano and you won’t have a problem.
Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants
If you’ve had your fill of tapas, pop over for a full vegan or vegetarian meal at one of our go-to spots. We suggest taking advantage of the mid-day deals and fueling up with plenty of veggies to kick off your afternoon with lots of energy!
- Reineta Vegetariano: A vegetarian restaurant (Calle Infante, 5) so delicious that many of its regulars aren’t vegetarians! Definitely try the spiced lentil “meatballs” and the rich chocolate cake with bitter orange marmalade.
- Yerbabuena: One of our absolute favorite vegetarian restaurants in Madrid, Yerbabuena (Calle Bordadores, 3) offers hearty plates of healthy comfort food. Our favorites include the seitan al ajillo sandwich with vegan cheese and tomato, vegan nachos and the eggplant mussaka. Bring your appetite; the portions here are very generous!
- Viva Burger: If you find yourself in the artsy La Latina neighborhood, stop by Viva Burger (Costanilla de San Andrés, 16) for a buffet lunch. Here, you pay by weight for goodies such as veggie paella and meatballs. In addition to delicious vegan burgers, you can treat yourself to fresh-pressed juices and vegan desserts.
- Abonavida: This vegetarian café and store (Calle Navas de Tolosa, 3) is a true oasis smack dab in the middle of Madrid’s center. Both the terrace and eclectic seating inside offer a tranquil escape from the massive crowds of tourists in bustling Callao.
- Tiyoweh: This café (Calle San Pedro, 22) has a calming, hippie vibe, and their menu of food, pastries, teas and juices is extensive. We love their chai tea with hazelnut milk, carrot-apple-ginger juice and vegan brownies. Furthermore, the staff is more than happy to remove cheese from whatever you order.
- Rayen Vegano: This small vegan café (Calle Lope de Vega, 7) is known for homemade cooking in the cutest surroundings. It is the perfect place to stop for lunch in the literary quarter, right around the corner from Madrid’s most famous museums!
Vegan and Vegetarian Shops
As Madrileños become more health conscious, even the corner stores are filling up with fresh vegan options! For all the rest of your needs, you can stop by one of the following specialty shops in Madrid.
- Planeta Vegano: A haven for vegans in Madrid, Planeta Vegano (Calle Ave María, 34) has everything you need to create your own vegan version of any traditional Spanish dish.
- Vegania: Vegania (Calle Jose María de Pereda, 17) has everything, and we do mean everything. They even carry vegan dog food!
- El Corte Inglés: No matter where you are in Madrid, you’re never far from a Cortes Inglés. The trusty Madrid department store offers an expansive health food section. Consequently, the massive store can be overwhelming, so ask an attendant to help you to find the tofu (¿me ayudas encontrar el tofu por favor?).
Looking for a food tour experience in Madrid and unsure if your vegetarian diet can be catered for? Never fear, Devour Madrid Food Tours can provide vegetarians with delicious alternatives during our foodie experiences. Make sure to note your specific dietary restrictions and we will show you the best vegetarian food in Madrid!