Vegetarianism has taken some time to take root in Spain, or even longer in some of its more remote regions. And Menorca can count itself as one of these, with many restaurants until quite recently only having a vague notion of what it means. It wasn’t unheard of for ‘vegetarian’ dishes to contain bits of fish, while asking for anything vegan would usually elicit a blank expression. Change is certainly afoot, however, with this Balearic isle now offering some (though not much) genuinely excellent vegetarian-friendly dining. We’ve put together a selection of the best (possibly all) veggie options on the island.
Restaurante Vegetariano Fang i Aram, Ciutadella | Courtesy of Fang i Aram Restaurant Vegetaria
Fang i Aram Restaurant Vegetaria was the first (and is arguably the best) 100% vegetarian eatery in Menorca. Originally founded in 2003 as an organic supermarket by the Anglada-Torres family, the restaurant opened ten years later. They serve à la carte and set menus – all made from natural ingredients, with lots of vegan options, too. Breakfast items include the likes of crepes, local cheese, organic egg tortillas, and a range of freshly squeezes juices. Lunch and dinner lean towards pasta, Asian-inspired dishes and veggie burgers, often with a traditional Menorquin twist, plus a long and impressive list of desserts.
Clorofilla Cuina Vegetariana | Courtesy of Clorofilla Cuina Vegetariana
Not only is the menu at this fresh and funky restaurant fully vegetarian, but ingredients are also sourced organically and with a genuine emphasis on sustainability – and they even grow a lot of their own produce. Offering a choice of dishes such as strozzapreti with cashew pesto, beetroot carpaccio, and spinach and mushroom strudel, the food is also as healthy as it is delicious. There are lots of vegan-friendly options as well (including vegan custard), a daily-changing buffet, and tasty sugar-free drinks. An alfresco terrace in the middle of a charming historic square completes a really quite a fabulous package and a must-try for vegetarians exploring the Menorcan capital.
Breakfast at La Cayenne | Image courtesy of La Cayenne
Opened in 2004, La Cayenne is a small restaurant with a pretty courtyard located in the centre of charming Ciutadella old town. The concept is a cocina viajera (or traveller’s kitchen) whereby the owners create a menu inspired by their travels around the globe – mostly resulting in Mexican, Indian and Thai flavours. It’s far from fully vegetarian, but its wok dishes, Asian curries and Mediterranean salads often have veggie options. Breakfasts are also a treat, offering a wide range of cold-pressed juices, maple syrup butter pancakes and avocado toast with organic eggs.
As you might guess from the name, this is a French-run eatery and one more about take-out and al fresco eating than sitting indoors. Opened in 2016, the café is already hugely popular, offering 100% handmade food from a small but delicious menu – roughly half of which caters to vegetarians. They offer the likes of both vegan or veggie burgers, quinoa with chickpeas and Thai vegetable rice, together with soups, salads and some excellent puddings. Be aware that restaurant is seasonal and closes over the winter months.
While there’s no shortage of tapas bars in the Menorcan capital, Taps Can Avelino stands out as being far more vegetarian-friendly than most. Stand-out veggie dishes include sweet potato with green pesto and goat cheese salad with strawberries and walnuts, but there’s plenty of top-quality tapas and raciones for omnivores, too. Its location on the outskirts of Mahón’s centre can feel a little out of the way, but there’s a pleasant courtyard, excellent wine list and portions that are both generous and reasonably priced.
Blue Stilton Gyozas | Courtesy of Passió Mediterrània
The key elements to the food at Passió Mediterrània are creativity and fun, and you can see it in not only the fabulous presentation of the dishes, but also the often playful combination of flavours. While most of the cuisine is animal-based, there are certainly more than enough meat-free options to keep even the most picky vegetarian happy. Some veggie highlights include blue Stilton gyozas, seaweed croquettes and vegan paella with red curry, each of which can be paired with a specially chosen wine.
While this bar-restaurant won’t win any awards for its vegetarian cuisine, this fun and friendly drinking den does offer a surprisingly good selection of non-meaty tapas. Ingredients are sourced straight from the market, and typical veggie dishes include cauliflower cheese and lentil stew. But it’s the views that are the real highlight, with a superb alfresco terrace providing panoramic views over the port of Mahón. Tip: the toilets are at the top of a steep spiral staircase, so anyone with mobility issues should probably eat elsewhere.