A vegetarian guide to Madrid

A little help from our friends?

We hope that one day, Vegetarian Venues will be the site to visit for all veggie advice concerning Madrid. But this is a tall order. With so many restaurants to visit, it’s going to take us a very long time to work through them all… So if you’ve discovered any great restaurants in Madrid that are serving up top-notch vegetarian food, then we want to hear from you!

Vegetarian food Madrid

Check out our brand new blog to discover where to find the best vegetarian food in Madrid! We are aiming to compile the definitive guide of all the best vegetarian restaurants in Madrid, and all the Madrid restaurants that are vegetarian-friendly!

Also, question of the day – WAS LISA SIMPSON A VEGETARIAN?

Benefits and advantages of being a vegetarian

According to the, always reliable, wikipedia, a 2002 poll of American adults asking for the reasons why they had chosen a vegetarian lifestyle found the following:

Most important reason for becoming a vegetarian
Health 32%
Because of chemicals and hormones in meat products 15%
Don’t like the taste of meat 13%
Love of animals 11%
Animal rights 10%
Religious reasons 6%
Concern for the planet 4%
To lose weight 3%
To reduce hunger and famine worldwide 1%

So for American adults, health benefits is the main reason to choose a vegetarian lifestyle. What do you think? Why are you a vegetarian? It would be interesting to hear from Americans – do you agree with the findings? and people from different countries, to see if reasons for becoming a vegetarian differ depending on where you’re from.

El Puerto de Cabreira

Home of traditional Spanish tapas, with some tasty options for vegetarians, El Puerto de Cabreira is a particular favourite of ours – all our friends are taken here when visiting, as well as our parents. Staff are some of the friendliest we’ve come across in Madrid and, while the restaurant is always buzzing, we always manage to get seated straight away, the perfect combination.

The menu is traditional Spanish tapas, so it’s a great opportunity to sample some excellent Spanish cuisine, just because you’re vegetarian, it doesn’t mean you can’t. Excellent quality and price, what’s not to love?!

We recommend:

Pimientos de padrón – green padron Spanish peppers – succulent small green peppers with salt

Tortilla de patatas – Spanish omelette – made fresh to order, this is always a delicious option and a must-try for anyone new to Madrid/Spanish cuisine

Patatas Cabreira – according to Veggie 1’s dad, “THE BEST FRIES I’VE EVER TASTED’. Home made fries covered in Cabreira’s secret sauce, we still have no idea what’s in it, but we do know it tastes amazing.

Berenjenas con miel – aubergines in honey. I wasn’t a big aubergine fan until I tasted these. Delicious.

Location: Velarde 13 (Metro Tribunal, Bilbao)

There is also another branch on Plaza 2 de Mayo, just a little further down from El Puerto de Cabreira. It serves the same food, with a few additions to the menu, including some delicious asparagus. Inside, this restaurant is noticeably more traditional regarding its decor, but it does boast a nice outside dining area just off the plaza.


Located in Malasaña, the indie area of Madrid that still retains it’s rebellious heart from when it was the centre of the Movida in the 1980s, Ojalá is always really good fun. It belongs to the same group of restaurants as La Musa, and the menu is pretty similar, giving a contemporary twist to traditional tapas.

Many people flock here, however, to go to the beach, la playa. For, what seems like an unassuming, regular Madrid restaurant upstairs morphs into a beach as soon as you descend to the lower level. The floors are covered in sand, and diners eat at low tables sitting on huge floor cushions in the atmospherically lit cavern – definitely an experience not to be missed while in Madrid!

We definitely recommend booking if you want to sit downstairs on the beach – just turning up, especially on weekends, will probably mean you’ll be given a table upstairs.

We recommend:

Aros de cebolla rojo y blanco – red and white onion rings

Hummus – served with olive oil, tomato and parsley with accompanying pita breads

Patatas bravas – potatoes served with a spicy tomato sauce

Ojalá also serve delicious cocktails and an array of desserts that will tickle your taste buds!

Website – http://www.grupolamusa.com/restaurante-ojala

Viva la Vida

Viva la Vida’s mirrored mosaic exterior grabs your attention as you enter Plaza de San Andrés – one of Madrid’s most unique vegetarian restaurants awaits beyond the doors. Viva la Vida is a vegetarian buffet and the concept is simple. You heap your plate with as much of the luscious vegetarian grub as you wish then take it to the till where it is weighed and you pay according to the weight of your plate (beware: we piled our plates so high with all the delicious grub, we got a bit of a shock come weigh-in time!).

A classic veggie restaurant with a bit of a hippie vibe (..in a good way) you can be sure to find many of the veggie staples that other Madrid restaurants lack, such as tofu and seitan.

Viva la Vida is a great option when you tire of ‘typical’  vegetarian tapas (tortilla, patatas bravas, pimientos…) and want to try something a bit more adventurous.

Viva la Vida has a lovely terrace outside, where you can enjoy a fruit juice or cocktail and people watch on one of the loveliest plazas in Madrid.

Location: Costanilla San Andrés, 16

Mercardo San Miguel

Mercardo San Miguel is a treasure trove of exciting culinary finds. The market was opened in 1916 and has recently undergone a make-over and regeneration which has restored it to its former glory. There are a number of stalls inside the market, some of which specialise in one thing, such as the stall devoted entirely to olives. Other stalls sell general tapas and drinks, and visitors can enjoy their food around some central tables, standing up as is the tradition when eating tapas here in Madrid. Don’t miss the pastelería (cake stall) at the back of the market, that always has a mouth-watering array of tarts and cakes.

We recommend:

Una tosta de queso de cabra – a goat’s cheese toast with caramelised onion, available at most of the tapas stalls.

Espárragos – asparagus, always juicy and plump, hard to resist!

Una tarta de fresas – strawberry tart – delicious!

Mercardo San Miguel is located right in the heart of Madrid, just off the Plaza Mayor. It is definitely worth a look around, you can sample some of the best food Madrid has to offer in an atmosphere buzzing with excitement, surrounded by your fellow food-lovers!

Website : http://www.mercadodesanmiguel.es/


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