Go off-the-beaten-path, go off the touristy path and you’ll discover Madrid’s neighbourhoods for vegan food.
Tapas are a good choice, but what do many Americans remember when you mention tapas? Many Americans experience tapas in the US as overpriced, small portioned gastropub grub. If that’s what is said of non-vegan tapas, how is a vegan tapa?
For starters an American tapa will not resemble Spanish food or what your ordinary folks in Spain eat at bars and restaurants.
You’ll be delighted to know that many restaurants and bars serve tapas for free, no charge. It comes as a starter without you ordering a starter. They just give it to you. It’s part of the deal.
You order a drink, a “caña”, a glass of “tinto de verano”, a cocktail, a glass of red wine and the free tapas are served.
Are vegan tapas treated the same way as their non vegan brother (or sister) tapas? Well, sort of. If you go to the more established vegan/vegetarian restaurants and bars, you will be given your share of free vegan/vegetarian tapas. The smaller ones where you usually can only pay in cash, sadly won’t. You only get what you ordered and paid for.
Here are some of the vegan tapas now available in vegan and vegetarian restaurants and bars in Madrid:
- Tortilla – a vegan potato omelette without the eggs.
- Patatas Bravas – Potato wedges served with a spicy sauce on the side
- Pimientos de Padrón – Some like it hot, as the saying goes, but those heat-seekers better also be gamblers if they’re looking to pimientos de Padrón for peppery heat. Only about one in ten of the small green peppers from the Spanish municipality of Padrón, in Galicia, are extremely hot, while the rest are as mild as your common green bell pepper. The pimientos are seared and fried in extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with coarse salt. The funny part is that it’s almost impossible to tell them apart until you actually put one in your mouth. It’s part of what makes eating them so exciting.
- Bocadillo de Calamari – Baguette filled to the brim with squid. But unlike it’s non vegan squid counterpart, your vegan calamari is breaded calamari made of konjac powder, which is derived from the root of a plant native to Japan, China, Korea, and Indonesia and is used widely in Japanese cuisine. The multigrain breading is made of wheat, rye, barley, millet, and flaxseed. Just like the squid calamari, the non-vegan version comes in rings, are deep fried and stuffed into a baguette. Yummy!
- Chorivegano – vegan chorizo
- Tosta – bread with toppings (vegan toppings of course)
- Alcachofa (artichoke) dip
- Tofu sandwich on a toasted mollette (roundish flatbread from Andalucia)
These are our favourite vegan tapas in Madrid on top of the usual fare of olives, vegan burgers, hot dogs, pizza.
Here are some vegan bars and restaurants to check out:
- Distrito Vegano
- Llanten Veggie Bar
- La Oveja Negra