Trip to the Spanish capital is incomplete without taking a tour of its Gastronomic routes. A paradise for seafood lovers, Madrid provides an amazing blend of traditional Spanish food from all over the country. Passing the initial hurdle of our search for vegetarian food we were quite a happy souls when we ended our Madrid trip with good food memories.
The Mercado San Miguel was the first place we visited during our stay and we were impressed by the way the market was organized. Although we found that the choice for vegetarians is kind of limited here, but every mouth-watering tapas we tried was out of the world. Apart from the Spanish tapas, the market is filled with fresh fruits, vegetables and great collection of local wine. The market is located at the central part of the city and has a perfect mixture of tourists and locals relishing on the wide array of light food and wine. One of the must try items here are the olives with some yummiest stuffing inside.
The narrow lane in between the Plaza Mayor and the Mercado San Miguel leads you to the oldest restaurant in the world, Restaurante Sobrino de Botìn (established in 1725). On having a look at the menu prior to visiting the place we knew there wasn’t much we could have for meal here, but the thought of having a chance to experience of dining at place filled with history was something we did not want to give up. The restaurant has a certain old world charm with several antiques placed in nooks and corners.
We tried the Gazpacho soup and the Sangria, which was served in a cute painted jug. The chilled soup served with fresh veggies was very refreshing and had a homemade touch to it. The Sangria was crisp with fresh citrus flavor as the waiter adds the fresh fruits right before serving and this was one of the best we ever tasted in our life.
When in Spain another must do is sitting outdoors at one of the many café for breakfast and order a scrumptious Spanish breakfast, as you watch the city come into life. In our case it included of large pie sized portion of Tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelet or Tortilla española), with bocadillo (Spanish bread), sautéed mushrooms with picos (olive oil breadsticks), freshly squeezed Naranja (orange juice) and Café con leche (Spanish coffee, espresso mixed with milk). Café and Te is a pocket friendly coffee shop found all over Spain and was a regular breakfast joint of ours during our stay in Madrid.
We tried the Patatas Bravas (fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce), famous Spanish tapas at an old tavern near Plaza Mayor, Taberna Corrientes. Just like most of the restaurants in Plaza Mayor, this place is a regular tourist stop for lunch and beer and also to getaway from the afternoon sun.
While walking towards Plaza Mayor one evening, we spotted a cute little vegan restaurant named “Yerbabuena”. After running around the city looking for veg food and trying to translate every menu we went through, this place looked like manna from heaven for us. Yerbabuena offers gluten-free veg food in a very creative way. Best part of the meal is the free appetizers containing cucumber water and yummy salads and if you’re looking for some alcohol free sangria this is the best place to try. It is highly recommended for all the vegans visiting Madrid.
Madrid has large number of pastry shops serving mouth-watering and yummiest desserts. Two of the places we tried were the Rodina and the La Mallorquina, both located at the Puerta Del Sol. The displays outside the shops are too tempting for a passerby to stop and pick some pastries and based on our experience we would say it is well worth trying.
The Chocolateria San Gines, paradise for every chocolate lover is something one cannot miss during the visit to Madrid. Considered to have the best Hot Chocolate and Churros in town, it is one of the oldest Chocolateria in the city and is open 24*7. The light crispy Churros are done to perfection and the hot chocolate is rich in thickness and decadent.
Lastly, if you find it difficult to explain the vegetarian food preference just tell them “Soy vegetariano” (I am Vegetarian) in Spanish.