Sunday, May 31, 2009

A few surprises in Madrid

Not that my time in Madrid is over yet, but I wanted to share two little vegan-friendly places that I found.  Despite this, I have found that being in a big city like this and not knowing the language is rather difficult. I'm glad that I'm here meeting a friend because not as many people speak English as you would think. (Much of which I learned in the trails and tribulations of putting more money on my German cell phone, which still has not been fully resolved, but I'll spare the details.)

First up is Yerbabuena.  I went here for dinner on Friday when I was on my own because I was able to find it easily from my hostel.  This is a small little place, but bright and cheerful inside. I thought it was strange that I was the only person eating there at 7:30 pm, but I suppose that I was eating dinner rather early compared to the late dining habits of most people in Spain. 

The meal itself ended up being rather expensive, but I didn't mind because the food was really good. Even though my server spoke almost no English, and I speak no Spanish, it was easy to order because all of the vegan items are plainly marked on the English menu. The menu was rather extensive, and 1/3 of the dishes were vegan and another 1/3 had vegan options.  I tried to order a soggy brown rice dish (really what it was called!) and got the  blackened rice dish instead. I didn't mind because this one was probably better than the one that I originally wanted. It doesn't look like much, but it had a very savory and earthy flavor. I rather enjoyed it and ate almost all of it.  The dish also came with a small salad.

For dessert, I got the vegan ice cream, which came with a cherry and corn flakes on top!  It was well worth the price because this was some of the best homemade ice cream that I have ever had. It was so rich in creamy and definitely had the 'I can't believe it is vegan!' factor going for it.

Even though my bill ran about 22 euros, I would come back again. You can find Yerbabuena at Calle Bordadores 3, just North of Plaza Mayor on the Eastern side.

The next great vegan meal that I literally stumbled upon while walking around with my friend was at Viva la Vida! located at Calle Huertas 57.

This meal consisted of a vegetarian buffet in the middle of a very small biomarket. It was pay by weight, and the desserts were a different price than the foods but still by weight. The vegan items were plainly marked as vegana on the cards labeling the dishes.  There was a good variety, as well as dessert, and  my friend explained to me how much the Spanish love croquettes. The meal was quick and just what we were looking for in a quick mid-afternoon meal. Plus, the torte was very good and had a lot of chocolate, even if it was the only vegan dessert on display.

So far, I have had good luck with vegan food on my stay in Madrid. As a standby, I do have bread and jelly ready if need be, though I suspect that I will save that for the train ride from Spain to Italy, which I still have to get a ticket for... 


Jeni Treehugger said...

22 euro for just you!!!
That's extortionate!

I've heard great things about Viva la Vida! It's quite strange that you've been there before me if you know what I mean. Strange in a nice way.

Mary said...

Have a fantastic trip! You're so lucky. I hope you find some good eats...