El Born is known for the Picasso museum, the many good cocktail bars and the active nightlife. But El Born has many more facets than that – there’s a lot of local designer stores and little decorated alleys, full of little handcraft and artisanal shops, there’s a lot of interesting street art and – for what it’s important for this article – many vegan and vegetarian restaurants. El Born has loads of culinary options to offer, covering burgers, street food, Asian cuisine, amazing brunches and healthy food. So whenever you’re strolling through the beautiful streets of El Born, in between visiting the famous church Santa Maria del Mar and shopping local designer products, make sure you try out some of the best vegan places in El Born.
If you’d ask me for the best vegan burgers in town, I would always say Cat Bar CAT, without even thinking about it for a second. It’s a purely vegan burger place with a big selection of different burgers, salads and great vegan beers. The bar is very small, but cosy with a quaint decoration and a piano for whoever wants to jam a bit. The patatas bravas are amazing and I can specifically recommend the mushroom burger that is super juicy, salty and tasteful. The atmosphere at Cat Bar CAT is always quirky and relaxed. It’s a great little bar to have some burgers before getting drinks with friends.
Vegetalia is another one of my all time favourite restaurants in Barcelona (there are several Vegetalias in town, one in El Born, one in El Raval and one in El Gótico). Its vegetarian cuisine, with healthy, fresh and creatively composed dishes, offering a big selection of vegan and a few gluten free dishes. To give a small impression of the menu, there’s a miso soup with tofu, a superfood salad with red quinoa, avocado and kale, a green curry and even a vegetable paella. Furthermore, in the section para picar, you’ll find loads of tapas you can share with your friends, like bruschetta with vegan mayonnaise, vegetable rolls in teriyaki sauce, nuggets made out of tofu and mushrooms or home-made hummus with pita bread. I especially love the Vegetalia in El Born because of its beautiful location, on a plaça right in front of the church Santa Maria del Mar.
Whoever loves Vietnamese food, will love La Vietnamita. It serves authentic and fresh Vietnamese street food, and although it’s neither vegetarian nor vegan and the menu is quite small, it has some fantastic vegan options. I especially love the satay skewers out of tofu with peanut sauce, the yucca fries or edamame as a starter, followed by the red curry or summer rolls. You can come here with a big group of friends, vegans or non-vegans, and everyone will find something that they’ll love. There are also several Vietnamitas in town, so if you’re not around El Born, but in Grácia, Sant Antoni or Sant Gervasi, you can also enjoy their great Vietnamese food there.
Espai Mescladis is one of my favourite secret spots in El Born (I was actually even thinking about not revealing this little gem). Located in a small, hidden street you enter the outdoor place through a little alley and find yourself in a garden like ambience, surrounded by block walls, colourful chairs and wonderfully bizarre decoration. The walls are decorated with old photographies, cupboards with books and antique articles of virtue and plants. I barely saw tourists in this place, only locals enjoying organic food and their vermouth around siesta time. All the dishes are home-made and made out of local and sustainable products. You’ll find plenty of vegan dishes to share like a Moroccan lentil salad, bulgur tabbouleh or amazing hummus with warm pita bread! Though what’s really special about that place is that it’s not only a restaurant, but also a social organization and community, supporting educational and integration projects. The community vibe is very special, so please keep that place a secret!
Enjoy Vegan is a small, rustic and fully vegan bistro, serving tapas, vegan versions of traditional dishes like Spanish tortilla with potato and onion, croquettes, empanadas, samosas, sandwiches, lasagna, veganized chicken burgers and very delicious desserts – especially their donuts and cinnamon rolls are extremely delectable! The prices are very decent and the food comes quickly – so it’s not really a place you’d go to for a whole evening, but rather for quick and cheap, but good and satisfying lunch while visiting El Born. A good mix of fast food and healthy options.
El Born is always worth a visit – no matter what time of the day or what purpose. Whether you want to grab a drink, go out, do some shopping and sight seeing or get tasty food. Try out some of the best vegan places in El Born and experience Barcelona’s diversity in vegan food! And if you crave for more, you can read my other reviews on the best vegan places in Eixample, El Raval, Barceloneta and Grácia.
Header Photo: © istock/Ignacio Ruiz Casanellas
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