Fear not: Spain may love its meat, but eating vegetarian or vegan in Madrid is surprisingly easy. The trick lies in knowing where to go and what to order!
At first glance, Spain may not seem like the most herbivore-friendly of destinations. With giant legs of ham hanging from the ceilings of traditional bars, and market stalls overflowing with fresh seafood, it can seem like meat-based products are the way to go here.
But look a little closer, and you’ll soon find that eating vegetarian and even vegan in Madrid can be surprisingly simple. From traditional dishes that are naturally plant-based to a growing scene of contemporary vegan restaurants, here’s where to go and what to order while you’re there!
Best Vegan Restaurants in Madrid
Tortilla de patatas without the eggs? Yes, it’s possible—and you’ll find it at B13!
This casual spot in Malasaña is the go-to place for vegan versions of delicious, traditional Spanish food like croquetas and the aforementioned tortilla. Because nobody should have to miss out on some of the most typical foods in Madrid!
2. La Colectiva Café
If you’re traveling with non-vegans who don’t believe that a vegan restaurant can just be undisputedly good, take them here! La Colectiva Café has wowed many a skeptical carnivore with their soy yogurt parfaits, plant-based toasts, and everything in between.
This is asily one of the best spots for those eating vegan in Madrid. VEGA has an extensive menu of vegan dishes made with love! From a plant-based twist on traditional arroz negro to dishes with international flair (jackfruit al pastor tacos, anyone?), there’s something for all tastes at this cozy cafe.
4. La Encomienda
If you’re looking for a trendy, vegan brunch spot, La Encomienda is it! But no worries if you can’t make it first thing in the morning. Stop by later for a drink and enjoy the free tapa that comes with it.
Best Vegetarian Restaurants in Madrid
1. Reineta Vegetariano
Reineta has achieved the seemingly impossible. It’s a vegetarian restaurant so delicious that many of its regulars aren’t even vegetarians!
You can’t go wrong with anything you order here, but definitely try the spiced lentil “meatballs.” Just be sure to save room for dessert: their rich chocolate cake with bitter orange marmalade is the stuff dreams are made of.
Yerbabuena 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 moussaka. Bring your appetite; the portions here are very generous!
Local tip: Order their veggie-friendly menú del día for a delicious and filling lunch that won’t break the bank.
3. Viva Burger
If you find yourself in the artsy La Latina neighborhood, stop by Viva Burger for lunch. Here, you’ll find goodies such as veggie paella and meatballs in addition to delicious vegan burgers. For something different, don’t miss their fresh-pressed juices and vegan desserts.
Falling into the “off-the-beaten-path” category is this all-you-can-eat veggie buffet just off of Gran Vía. They specialize in vegan and vegetarian Asian dishes, so if you’re looking for something besides typical Spanish tapas, this is the place to be!
5. La Hummusería
Specializing in vegetarian Middle Eastern slow food, La Hummusería is a gem of a restaurant in Chueca. Their five hummuses (from “the Classic” to “the Irresistible”) are the stars of the show, but they also serve salads and veggie tapas on their regularly changing menu.
Vegetarian and Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Madrid
While the following places don’t offer an entirely vegan or vegetarian menu, they do have plenty of options for plant-based or meat-free dishes!
This vegetarian-friendly café and store is a true oasis smack dab in the middle of central Madrid. Both the terrace and eclectic seating inside offer a tranquil escape from the massive crowds of tourists in bustling Callao just around the corner.
2. La Chilostra
La Chilostra is your typical Spanish bar that just happens to have a few vegan options! This is a good choice if you’re looking for something traditional, not trendy.
Spanish Vocabulary for Eating Vegetarian and Vegan in Madrid
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 list of Spanish words and phrases that you can use to communicate with bar and restaurant staff.
- Soy vegano/a. I am vegan.
- Soy vegetariano/a. I am vegetarian.
- 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…
- Carne: Meat
- Cerdo: Pork
- Jamón: Ham
- Pollo: Chicken
- Pescado: Fish
- Atún: Tuna
- Mariscos: Seafood
- Leche: Milk
- Queso: Cheese
- Mantequilla: Butter
- Nata: Cream
- Huevo: Egg
- Miel: Honey
- Yo puedo comer… I can eat…
- Verduras: Vegetables
- Ensalada: Salad
- Judías/Habichuelas/Alubias: Beans
- Lentejas: Lentils
- Soja: Soy
- Leche de soja: Soy milk
- Almendras: Almonds
- Nueces: Nuts
- Arroz: Rice
- Aceite: Oil
- Pan: Bread
- Champiñones/Setas: Mushrooms
- Espinacas: Spinach
- Fruta: Fruit
7 Vegetarian Tapas in Madrid
In the city center, you can almost always find a vegetarian tapa (or several) on menus. These are our some of our favorites.
Spain’s version of ratatouille is a medley of delicious veggies. It often comes served with an egg on top, so vegans just need to ask for it sin huevo.
2. Croquetas de queso, espinacas, o boletus
Croquettes are made with béchamel, breaded and fried. They often include meat or fish, but look out for cheese, spinach, or mushroom ones for a delicious vegetarian option.
3. Tempura de verdura
Batter-fried vegetables are usually a delicious bet for vegetarians, but those eating vegan in Madrid 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.
Speaking of gazpacho’s richer cousin, salmorejo is a cold tomato soup, thickened with bread and made smooth and silky with lots of olive oil. It often comes topped with ham and egg, so vegetarians should specify sin jamón, and vegans, sin jamón y huevo.
We’re sure you’ll love berejenas con miel, or lightly fried eggplant with honey. If you’re a vegan in Madrid, you can always ask for the traditionally North African plate sin miel, or con salmorejo vegetariano for dipping.
6. Huevos rotos
If you needed another reason to fall in love with Spain, allow us to introduce you to huevos rotos. Any country where olive-oil fried eggs and potatoes is a traditional dish has to be a keeper, right? Just make sure it comes without ham or sausage (often chorizo or chistorra).
7. Tortilla de patatas
Step aside, paella—this is Spain’s real national dish! It doesn’t get better than a slightly runny tortilla. We prefer ours with onion, but you’re free to order yours without!
7 Vegan Tapas in Madrid
It might surprise you to learn that some typical tapas in Madrid are already vegan-friendly! Dishes like these make eating vegan in Madrid a breeze.
1. Patatas bravas
Found just about everywhere, patatas bravas consists of flash-fried potatoes with a spicy tomato and paprika sauce that is unbelievably delicious.
Traditional Madrid-style bravas will be mayonnaise-free, but vegans in Madrid should double check that yours are sin mayonesa before digging in. Some places also include a bit of beef stock in their bravas sauce. While not common, we suggest asking just in case!
2. 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.
3. Pan con tomate
Always a safe bet for breakfast or tapas, pan con tomate 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.
4. Gazpacho and ajo blanco
Two of Spain’s classic cold soups are great options for vegans in Madrid. Gazpacho is the tomato-based soup you’re probably familiar with, and ajo blanco is its almond-filled, tomato-free predecessor.
5. 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.
6. Parrillada de verduras
A more common tapas option while eating vegan in Madrid: a classic assortment of grilled veggies!
7. Setas al ajillo
It’s easy to be vegan in Madrid with mouth-watering veggie dishes like garlic-sauteed 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 Shops in Madrid
As madrileños become more health conscious, even the corner stores are filling up with fresh plant-based 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 has everything you need to create your own vegan version of any traditional Spanish dish.
- Nanyea Market: This secret spot has vegan Asian food to go. Nanyea also stocks vegan ice cream, healthy snacks and a great craft beer selection.
- El Corte Inglés: No matter where you are in Madrid, you’re never far from a Corte 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 a encontrar el tofu por favor?).
A vegetarian tapas crawl in Madrid
Want to see how all of the above play out in real life? Check out the video below, where Devour Tours co-founder James takes a 100-percent vegetarian tapas crawl through some of Madrid’s best bars!
Update Notice: This post was originally published on June 4, 2014 and was updated with new text and photos on November 9, 2021.