Madrid boasts plenty of options for vegetarian restaurants who choose not to eat meat, milk or eggs, or who simply enjoy cuisine based on vegetarian ingredients.Recently, more and more restaurants that promote vegetarian cuisine have opened up in the city offering elaborately prepared recipes which yield innovative and very tasty dishes combining basic ingredients such as fresh fruits, vegetables, seitan or tofu.
Amongst all the different types of vegetarian specialties to be found in the city centre, many restaurantswill tantalize you with their skilful preparation of Spanish-grown garden vegetables – among the best in the world – in either traditional Spanish recipes or in more modern creations, offering an original fusion of flavors and textures.
Ecocentro (Calle de Esquilache 2-12): This enterprise promoting organic vegetarian food includes a store selling organic produce, a specialist bookshop and a vegetarian buffet. Next door, the vegetarian restaurant, offering different menus depending on the time of day or day of the week, serves up casseroles, pulse dishes, vegetarian adaptations of traditional stews and some more innovative creations, allowing you to sample ingredients and recipes from all over the world. Highlights include toasted rice lasagna with truffle, and tartar of tofu with organic mushrooms and Japanese plums. For dessert, you will be enticed by such delights as caramelized pears with orange jelly and lime-infused carrot mousse, as well as beer, liquor and chocolate mousse with passion fruit and raspberry cream. We cannot fail to mention the homemade cakes, many of them vegan. You can order a slice or a whole cake to take away.
El estragón vegetariano (Plaza de la Paja 10): This is one of the must-visit establishments in the La Latina district. It serves lacto-ovo-vegetarian fare where the accent is firmly on the flavors, and the proof of the pudding is in its dishes, which perfectly reflect the accuracy of the restaurant’s slogan: “non-vegetarians will be impressed”. Salads and hot and cold soups precede the main courses consisting of rice and pasta dishes, broken fried eggs, mousseline crêpes and Brie hamburgers. For those with a sweet tooth, there are some scrumptious desserts on offer, including the house chocolate cake. Located in the building of a former tavern, it boasts a charming outdoor terrace and background music ranging from flamenco to soul.
Crucina (Calle del Divino Pastor 30): This establishment claims to be the first restaurant in Spain and the only one in Europe offering vegetarian food without a stove in the kitchen as it serves raw-vegan gourmet cuisine. At Crucina nothing is cooked above 41ºC to conserve all the ingredients’ phyto-nutrients. The dishes they prepare contain no cholesterol, sugar of any kind, gluten, eggs or dairy products. They are handmade using innovative techniques to recreate classics such as tiramisu, lasagna and moussaka, providing a genuine boost of energy, antioxidants, enzymes and vitamins.
La Galette and La Galette 2 (Calle de Bárbara de Braganza 10): La Galette is one of the fixtures amongst Madrid vegetarian restaurants. Founded in 1976, it opened its second establishment, La Galette 2, 15 years later. Decorated in a romantic colonial style, both restaurants offer traditional vegetarian meals alongside international haute-cuisine, avant-garde and seasonal dishes. The apple croquettes, their specialty, are served both as a first course and a dessert. One possible menu could consist of Persian peppers stuffed with creamy vegetable rice and topped with grilled Emmental cheese, followed by a creamy emulsion of aubergine with egg yolk tempura à la brunoise of piquillo peppers with crispy walnuts and raisins, and for dessert, the mango tarte tatin, a mouth-watering pastry filled with fresh caramelized mango.
El Vergel (Paseo de la Florida 53): Located close to Príncipe Pío station, this eatery, serving organic fare, is governed by its concern for the environment and the health of its diners. It pays close attention not only to the ingredients used in the dishes, but also to the cleaning products, which are 100% biodegradable, the décor, with 100% cotton tablecloths, and the environmentally-friendly kitchen utensils that reduce the emission of toxic gases. The house specials include mushroom paella, courgette lasagne, an assortment of vegetable croquettes and Seitan cutlets with green pepper sauce. It also boasts a supermarket selling organic products.
Artemisa (Calle de Ventura de la Vega 4 and Calle de las res Cruces 4): Opened in 1990, Artemisa restaurants are some of the most firmly established eateries on the Madrid vegetarian circuit. They serve healthy set menus from Monday to Friday and an à la carte menu which includes soups, pasta, pizzas, vegetarian wok dishes and tasting meals such as quiches, croquettes, rice and mushroom specialities, to name a few. The restaurants are famous for their excellent Artemisa aubergines and the Farah Diba pie, as well as for their sweets, such as the vegan Agar Agar mango pudding. The menu includes some vegan dishes, while others which are non-vegan can be ordered in a vegan version. They also serve meals suitable for people who are lactose intolerant.
Sources| Michelin Guide, Ayto. Madrid, Tourism of Madrid, esMadrid, rpp, 20minutos, lainformacionlain, Mercado de San Miguel, Mercado de San Antón