Top 5 Vegetarian Restaurants to Try when Studying Abroad in Madrid
Spain is one of the best places in the world to find unique foods to try abroad. As a vegetarian student, I quickly learned there were many restaurant options throughout the city with awesome plant-based and vegetarian eats and sweets. Here’s a list of a few of my favorite places that I recommend to anyone looking for vegetarian restaurants while studying abroad in Madrid.
With locations in Justicia and Salamanca, Roots is a great spot for a vegetarian breakfast or lunch. They also have smoothies and coffee along with a bakery full of vegan treats! Some of my favorite items are The Vegan Dream Sandwich, Mediterranean Bowl, Roots Pancakes, and Eat Your Roots Acai bowl.
Right down the street from the Salamanca location, you can also find Roots Coffee and Bakery. Here you can grab a coffee, tea, or vegan pastry to-go!
Both of the Roots’ locations are in two of my favorite Madrid neighborhoods with many amazing restaurants, so I’d recommend exploring these areas after eating here! You can also order from this restaurant on UberEats and the Glovo App to be delivered to you.
Famous mirror wall at an honorable mention in Salamanca: Bel Mondo ($$).
La Bicicleta Café ($-$$)
This coffee shop and café located in central Malasaña is one of my all-time favorites in Madrid.
La Bicicleta Café allows you to use your laptop computer during many hours of the day, so it’s popular for students to study and get coffee here. Throughout Madrid it’s common for coffee shops abroad to prohibit the use of computers, so if you live in the Malasaña area and are looking for a new study spot, I recommend coming here!
They also have great daily lunch options and cool brunch menus on the weekends. Try their matcha latte with oat milk and any of their toasts!
Malasaña is also a trendy neighborhood in Madrid where you can find tons of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free friendly options at many of the establishments!
The vegan toast with avocado from La Bicicleta Café.
Located in Salamanca right around the corner from Puerta de Alcalá, this restaurant is completely vegan. Known for its unique vibe and interesting plates, Mudrá is a great choice to celebrate any special occasion with plant-based foods and desserts. I recommend trying a few different appetizers here!
It’s a more formal sit-down restaurant compared to others on this list, but it’s well worth the wonderful dining experience! Don’t forget to make reservations in advance if you’re interested in eating at Mudrá.
The Artichoke Tiradito from Mudrá Plant Based Food.
Honest Greens ($-$$)
Honest Greens has many locations throughout Madrid and is a great option for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They have many vegetarian and plant-based options for all mealtimes, and with the exception of their bread, their food is gluten free as well! The menu changes seasonally here, but you can always find delicious choices at any time of the year.
Honest Greens is also a popular restaurant for students to order on UberEats and the Glovo App to be delivered to them. You can also eat-in or get food to-go at any of their trendy restaurants.
Vegetarian Salad plate from Honest Greens.
Alma Nomad Bakery ($-$$)
If you're in the mood for something sweet, don’t miss checking out this fantastic bakery in Chamberí)! This place has some of the most insane pastries in Madrid and my roommates and I went here frequently to try new items. They also make their own fresh breads and quiches daily, so if you’re not in the mood for a pastry, they have many savory options too. Grab and go with a wonderful Coffee or Tea from Alma Nomad Bakery to sip on along with your sweets!
Spread of quiches, breads, and pastries from Alma Nomad Bakery.
In the mood for some Tapas? Many Spanish tapas dishes can be made vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free. A few of my favorites are patatas bravas, berenjenas fritas con miel (fried eggplants with honey), pisto, gazpacho, and ensalada de tomate (usually tomatoes with olive oils and spices).
A few of the most popular Spanish tapas can be made without meat too! Look for vegetable or spinach tortilla, mushroom croquettes, and vegetarian Paella dishes.
Markets and Grocery Stores
Not a big fan of eating at restaurants? Don’t worry! Even though Madrid is full of many restaurants with vegetarian options, some of the best ingredients can be found at the local markets and grocery stores. I love cooking meals at home, so each week I bought super fresh fruits and vegetables from stores right on my street to use in recipes I cooked while living in Madrid.
Keep an eye out for the Mercados in your neighborhood once you are in Madrid! Most areas have at least one market where you can find a variety of food and ingredient vendors. These markets are where you can find the freshest produce and other amazing products! You can also find great produce at grocery stores all throughout Spain. Some common supermarket chains you will find in Madrid are Mercadona, Día, Lidl, Carrefour, Alcampo, and El Corte Inglés.
Enjoy the wonderful tastes of Spain and try some of these awesome vegetarian restaurants the next time you’re in Madrid!
Julia Wafford is the Spring 2023 Alumni Ambassador in Madrid, Spain, and is currently studying at University of Illinois at Chicago.