Delicious Vegetarian Tapas in Madrid

This blog post was originally posted on August 22, 2013 and was updated on February 11, 2017.

Many people arrive in Madrid with the idea that being a vegetarian in this city will be difficult, but there are so many delicious tapas you can enjoy that don’t include any meat!

While being veggie isn’t nearly as easy as being an omnivore, vegetarians need not worry when visiting Madrid. The Spanish capital is home to many vegetarian and vegan restaurants, and most tapas bars offer a variety of vegetarian tapas too. In fact, many traditional Madrid tapas dishes are naturally vegetarian. But we’d always suggest brushing up on your Spanish, and learning this phrase:

“Soy vegetariano. No como ni carne, ni cerdo, ni pescado.”
I’m a vegetarian. I don’t eat meat, pork, or fish.

Hopefully this will be enough to prevent an ordering fiasco, but just in case, make sure to specify that you don’t eat atún (tuna) when ordering a salad, as it’s often a surprise ingredient! Vegetarian or otherwise, you can’t go wrong with our list of delicious vegetarian tapas in Madrid!

Think that meat-eaters have all the fun in Madrid? Think again! Many of Madrid's typical tapas don't include meat! Here are our favorite vegetarian tapas in Madrid.

Photo Credit: Stacy Spensley, Text Overlay: Devour Madrid Food Tours

Aceitunas

It is said that Spain cultivates 262 different varieties of olives and a good number of them end up on our table as delicious cured table olives. The specialty in Madrid are Campo Real olives, and the bright green olives are absolutely delicious, tasting of garlic and oregano. Make sure you eat lots of olives while visiting!

You'll often see a bowl of green Campo Real olives on your table in restaurants in Madrid - one of many delicious vegetarian tapas in Madrid
The bright green color of the Campo Real olives is a standard sight in many tapas bars in Madrid

Patatas Bravas and Patatas Ali Oli

This typical tapa hits the spot with an ice cold caña, a small draft beer. Consisting of parboiled potato wedges that are then quickly deep fried in olive oil and topped with a sauce, there are two popular varieties in Madrid. The bravas have a slightly spicy paprika and tomato sauce, and the ali oli is a homemade garlic mayonnaise. Both are must-try vegetarian tapas in Madrid!

A big bowl of patatas bravas drizzled in bravas sauce is a common vegetarian tapa in Madrid that can be enjoyed by everyone
Patatas bravas are hugely popular among vegetarians and meat-eaters alike!

Huevos Rotos

Literally “broken eggs,” this typical Madrid dish is a plate of homemade french fries topped with the most perfectly fried eggs—a must-try dish when you’re in the city. Right before serving they break the yolks, often at the table, thus their name!

Insider’s Tip: Make sure to specify that your tapa shouldn’t come with ham or chorizo (sausage).

Huevos Rotos may be one of the most popular vegetarian tapa in Madrid, but even people who eat meat can enjoy this Madrid classic
Huevos rotos with a side of green beans—heaven!

Croquetas de Queso or Croquetas de Espinacas

There are many different varieties of croquettes, which are essentially fried béchamel fritters. But the best vegetarian choices I’ve found in the city have been the delicious ones de queso (cheese) or de espinacas (spinach). Keep your eyes peeled for other interesting combinations and try as many of these vegetarian tapas in Madrid as you can!

Delicious mushroom croquettes make for the perfect vegetarian alternative to this Spanish classis
Delicious mushroom croquettes make for the perfect vegetarian alternative to this Spanish classic

Berenjenas con Miel

These are pieces of thinly-sliced eggplant that have either been dusted in flour or battered, and then flash fried in olive oil before being drizzled with cane honey—also known as heaven on a plate!

The light batter on the eggplant means this tapa is not too heavy and the honey adds a welcome sweetness to the dish - one of the best vegetarian tapas in Madrid
Fried eggplant drizzled with honey may be simple but it’s sooo delicious!

Tortilla de Patata

The classic Spanish omelet is alive and well in Madrid, and many people choose a big slice called a pincho de tortilla as their mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. Tortilla can be served hot or cold, inside a sandwich or on its own, with onions or without; regardless, it’s always one of the delicious vegetarian tapas in Madrid.

A big slice of tortilla is one of our tops suggestions for kid friendly Spanish food in Madrid
The simplistic superstar of Spanish food: La tortilla de patata!

Gazpacho

Mostly served in summer time, every traditional Madrid restaurant will serve their own version of vinegary gazpacho, a cold vegetable puree that you often drink by the glass. 

Summer is the best time to visit Madrid.
Beat the heat with cool gazpacho on a summer day

Queso

Cheese is one of Spain’s most respected products in all Spanish delis and it also happens to be one of the most popular vegetarian tapas in Madrid! You have to try the well known Manchego, but then go for something different like the queso Roncal, a sheep’s milk cheese from Navarra, or queso Cabrales, a blue cheese blend of cow and goat milk.

a few slices of cheese spread across a wooden chopping board and bam - a scrumptious vegetarian tapa!
The cheese plate: another simple but delicious vegetarian tapa in Madrid

Pimientos de Padrón

The Russian roulette of Spanish tapas, these tiny chili peppers are mainly mild, but every now and then someone gets a super spicy one! It’s all part of the fun as you grab them one by one with some friends.

A plate of padrón peppers covered in a small sprinkling of salt - delicious but dangerous if you get to super spicy one!
Not a fan of spicy food? Beware of the (occasionally) super hot padrón pepper!

Champiñones a la Plancha

Madrid has a reputation for some excellent mushroom restaurants, and most traditional tapas bars offer champiñones a la plancha, or grilled mushrooms. Usually grilled with olive oil and garlic and served with a slice of lemon, they are seriously addictive!

Mushroom served in traditional restaurants in Madrid will generally include a slice of lemon for flavor!
A typical serving of mushrooms will be accompanied by a slice of lemon

Want to explore more of the amazing vegetarian food available in Madrid? Our food tours are vegetarian friendly! We can adapt our tours to suit your needs and see to it that you experience the traditional Madrid foodie experience! 

Featured Image Credit: Stacy Spensley

3 Comment

  1. Allison B says
    September 13, 2013 at 11:14 am

    I’m a vegetarian and love going out for tapas. I lived in Almeria for 2 years and we had many of these options you mentioned. Another one that is DELICIOUS is Sopa de Ajo Blanco. They usually had it in the summer and was so yummy with fresh melon! Also, croquetas de champiñónes are really good too.

    Reply
  2. Franca says
    June 30, 2014 at 10:08 am

    I have to admit the tortilla de patatas is probably my favourite!!!

    Reply
  3. Ian says
    September 1, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    You have meat listed on this page unfortunately. Nearly every variety of Spanish cheese has offal (chopped up calf stomach) stirred into it during the manufacturing process. This is not the case with all cheeses, for example about 2/3 of British cheese is vegetarian (made using microbial rennet instead of offal) but Spain is by far the worst for it.

    You can’t include cheese on a Spanish vegetarian tour.

    Reply

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