Everytime I go to Madrid, I like it more and more. There’s just so much to offer. It’s a place where Spain’s posh-finer-things-club/central government coexists alongside it’s gypsy heart, LGBT community, intermingled with a large immigrant population and of course, a boatload of selfie stick wielding tourists. It’s a vibrant busy place that I have the privilege of bopping in and out of a few times a year.
The Madrid vegan scene has been exploding recently. Quite a few restaurants have opened up in the heart of the capital, right alongside the traditional bars with their ham legs hanging in the windows. I like to try a new place whenever I’m there and have gotten to know the city pretty well. That being said I haven’t hit them all and am still chipping away at my ‘must see Madrid vegan’ list.
Anyways, if you’re heading to the heart of the Iberian Península anytime soon, here are a few of my plant based recommendations.
Bunny’s Deli - A tiny little vegan spot that just opened last fall. Run by a mother-daughter combo from the Balkans, this place has got great breakfast and lunch options. Go and enjoy a healthy bowl for breakfast and get a coffee AFTER so you can enjoy it with one of their incredible breads or desserts.
The Pum Pum Cafe - This little spot is in the Lavapies neighborhood, 10 minutes from the center of the center of the center of Spain. They’ve got great coffee and are famous for their avocado toast. The bread is out of this world and everything on the menu is underpriced for the city and location. So, go nuts, order a couple things and share with friends. (Side note, this place isn’t 100% vegan so you can take your favorite egg sluts)
LUNCH ~~~ DINNER
Pura Vida Vegan Bar - Located in La Latina, rocking some well-priced burgers, appetizers and pizza, this is one of my favorite restaurants in Madrid. I highly recommend the pizza. Order a few for the table, sip a small draft while you wait and then enjoy. The crust was on point and I liked how they use a homemade cashew cheese and not a soy-based shred knock-off. The result is a creamy-cheesed great pie, no matter the toppings.
El Distrito Vegano - Also in Lavapies, a few blocks from the Pum Pum, is this dinner place. It’s small, quaint and has some great menu items. We ordered some sharing plates and all were great but the hummus was the highlight. I’ll definitely be trying a burger when I return, they looked bomb.
Viva Burger - Get a reservation, because this place gets busy. A vegetarian burger joint in La Latina that is obviously adaptable for vegans, it was a pretty memorable experience. The neighborhood, the plaza, the ambience, the crowds of people and of course the burger, made this an awesome meal. Great burgers and some tasty looking desserts, that we unfortunately didn’t try, I’ll definitely be heading back to sample more of the menu and soak up that ambience.
Traveling with omnivores that are tired of vegan restaurants OR traveling with close-minded assbags that don’t want to go to a lefty-hippy-hempy vegan restaurant? Not a problem. I’ve got two recommendations for great restaurants with organic produce that have both meat and veg options.
Bump Greens - A little north of Retiro, in a well-to-do neighborhood is Bump Greens. It is a beautiful restaurant with a menu that, when we were there, satisfied a bodybuilder and two vegans. Great juices, salads and sandwiches, I’m pretty sure it’s hard to miss no matter what you order.
Honest Greens - Up in the north of the city, a short metro ride or an Uber will bring you close to the Real Madrid stadium and Honest Greens. My brother in law and sister liked it so much that they went twice when on a short stint through Madrid. They’ve got high-quality ingredients that they put together with care and are willing to cater to ANY diet restriction. Highly recommended if you’re thinking about watching a futbol match or just touring Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
My Favorite of All Time
Rayen Vegano - This might be my favorite restaurant in the world. It is tiny, the menu changes often and the hours change seasonally. Basically the way I'd do it. Their breakfast was incredible but I’m not sure if they’re still doing it but that’s not a problem because they’re lunches are on point. I’ve been numerous times, have never eaten the same thing twice and have always left extremely satisfied. I love Rayen Vegano because it’s apparent that they care about what they’re doing. Top notch ingredients, put together with care, excellent service, all with a laid back atmosphere, yet they’re serious about the food. I love this place and every time I leave, I think, “dammit I want a place like that.”
Madrid, it is quickly becoming my favorite city in the world. I’m definitely thinking about living there for a year at some point in the future and taking a deep dive into the veg scene, the markets, the live music, the art, the bars, the vintage shops, the parks, join a local futbol league, meet a cute vegan, say fuck only staying for a year, settle down, have a niño, open up my own place in a neighborhood far enough away from Rayen that we’re not competing, but close enough that I could still go regularly, and basically spend the rest of my days sipping wine and cooking for my family and the neighborhood. #livingthedream