Hi guys! Welcome back to The Vegetarian Carnivore, to another adventure in the Around the World food reviews section. I hope you all enjoyed my first post reviewing vegan and vegetarian food in Madrid. If you haven’t read it yet, I am linking it right here so make sure you check it out! A quick recap – There is no lack of vegetarian/vegan food options in Spain, and the two restaurants I reviewed made that abundantly clear. Now I am back to provide reviews for the remaining vegetarian restaurants in Madrid that I went to. Spoiler alert: I rate these all as 11/10 in terms of quality of food, service, and hospitality.
It’s not just about the food…
As a food blogger, I always thought that I would be ranking and rating restaurants based on quality of food alone. However, since I started writing, I started paying more close attention to every aspect of a restaurant. Because I had to make a list of all the vegetarian/vegan places I wanted to go, I became more aware of the locations that these restaurants were situated in. This, in turn, led me to pay more attention to other aspects of the restaurant, including logistics like size, accessibility, and popularity, as well as ambiance, like decor, hospitality, quality of service, and aesthetic presentation of the food.
I feel that I am able to provide a much more well-rounded review this way, as opposed to if I just focused on the quality of food alone. You will find that my previous article (link at the beginning of this article!) talks a lot about the location, service, and presentation of food as well.
So let’s jump right in…
Eso es para usted, Berta!
Hablando de la hospitalidad, puedo decir que este restaurante está entre los tres restaurantes más agradables de este viaje. Se encuentra unos 5 minutos a pie del metro en una calle bastante silenciosa. El restaurante es relativamente pequeño y por eso sería fácil a perderlo. Los camareros eran muy simpáticos y aunque no tenían espacio para mi madre y yo en la hora que vinimos, ellos hicieron espacio en la zona de bares para que pudiéramos cenar.
Conocí a Berta, una camerera que me dio una buena recomendación de vino españolo, y me ayudó de escoger un plato principal delicioso. Escogimos tres aperitivos pequeños (paté de berenjenas ahumadas, setas y algas escabechadas, y aguacate con pico de gallo). Yo no había pensado en estas combinaciones, y la singularidad de esta selección fue impresionante!
No tengo palabras para describir la calidad de mi plato principal. Comí el arroz negro con calamares, alcachofas, espárragos y mayonesa de ajo dulce. La presentación era hermosa y el plato tenía varias texturas que le hizo un placer de comer. La mayonesa era vegana, por supuesto, pero si no supiera que era vegana, habría pensado que era real! Mi mamá comió el chile con carne con guacamole y queso de jalapeño, con tortillas y arroz. La mejor parte de su plato era el “queso.” Picante y cremoso, le pareció auténtico!
No olvidemos el postre 😉 Comimos la panna cotta con hibisco, chia caviar y piña asada, y nuevamente nos sorprendiós el sabor auténtico de la panna cotta – cremosa pero vegana!
Vale, eso es todo! Recomiendo que vayáis a Vega si quieren probar comida excelente y diferente. 11/10 😉
Back to English
Ok, back to English! Speaking of hospitality, I can easily say that Vega was in the top three most friendly eateries I went to this trip. The place was tiny and packed, and despite this the servers made room for my mom and me at the bar so we could eat that day. The servers were really very kind and were happy to explain the menu and make great wine recommendations. I met a friendly server, Berta, who recommended I try the black rice with asparagus, artichokes, “squid,” and sweet garlic “mayonnaise,” which is what I got.
But let’s back track to the appetizers first. We got a flight of three appetizers – the aubergine paté, the avocado with pico de gallo, and the picked seaweed and mushrooms. Three incredible and innovative appetizers that you could not expect to see usually. My main dish, as I stated earlier, was the black rice. The dish combined all the textures you could think of: creaminess from the mayo, nuttiness from the al dente black rice, crunchiness from the asparagus, and chewy textures from the artichokes. I was absolutely blown away by this and even came back a second time and ordered the exact same thing!
My mom got the chile con carne with guacamole and jalapeño cheese, with tortillas and rice. Her dish was incredible as well, with the highlight being the authentic tasting spicy and creamy “cheese.”
For dessert, we got panna cotta with hibiscus, chia caviar, and roasted pineapple. Again, I have no words for how autentic the panna cotta tasted, despite being vegan. I am in absolute awe of how indistinguishable the imitation meat and dairy products were from the real thing at Vega. Hats off!
One of the most difficult things to do in Spain was “grab a casual bite to eat.” The culture is such that you sit down and wait for a server to come and take your order. Things usually take a while and for an American who is used to grabbing a quick bite at a bakery and running, things got a little frustrating at times. That being said, B13 was such a breath of fresh air! In fact, they have a “disclaimer” at the bottom of their menu that states that this is a typical casual bar that serves great vegan bar food. I loved it!
Finding the place was pretty easy and it was located close to the metro, but just like Vega, it was in a quiet street so it would have been easy to miss. At first, I was confused because I walked in and was expected to seat myself but spent a few minutes figuring that out. We were also encouraged to go straight up to the bar and place our order, just like the bar scene in the US. It felt similar to home and I was grateful for that on that night!
I ordered pollo con ajillo (garlic chicken) and perrito caliente (hot dog), to taste the quality and authenticity of the imitation meat. I loved the chicken very much – some mushrooms had been sauteed into it, which was a huge plus for me, as I love mushrooms! The texture of the chicken was really good and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I think this texture is what my meat eating friends call “delicious, but not authentic.” But it was delicious so I didn’t care about “authenticity” at the time. The hot dog was delicious as well. It came topped with fried onions, which added a really great crunch to the dish, breaking up the otherwise monotonous texture. It tasted just like the smart dog from Trader Joe’s, which I absolutely love.
I give this place 11/10 as well, for its simplicity and casual ambiance, as well as its top-notch food. I had a wonderful experience here!
Still, not a conclusion…
Again, this isn’t a conclusion by any means. Simply part 2 of my food adventures in Spain. Stay tuned for a special post on desserts and a complete rundown of vegetarian/vegan food in Andalucía! Leave me some comments below and let me know if my reviews are helpful for you and what else I should take into account to make them even more valuable to you!
See you soon!
Janani <3 <3