Vegetarian restaurants in Spain can be hard to find, and with very few options on menus at normal restaurants, they’re all the more important. Being a big arty city, Bilbao has quite a number to choose from – including vegetarian Basque pintxos bars, vegan tapas bakeries and quaint restaurants with tasty, healthy, organic food. Here’s our pick of the best.
This cute little vegan bar has whitewashed brick walls, shelves packed with ecological wines and beers and long wooden benches to sit at. They serve vegan snacks and tapas such as hummus, seitan, tofu and tempeh, as well as Japanese-inspired creations like sushi and goyaza. If you’re feeling especially hungry, order one of their huge veggie burgers. La Camelia was also recently named one of the ‘Top 10 Ecological Restaurants in Spain’ by the Sustainable Restaurant Association. You can also stop by for a soy milk coffee and vegan brownie for an afternoon pick-me-up.
Fun, colourful and delicious are the words that best describe Garibolo with its bright yellow and blue painted walls, filled floor to ceiling with vibrant paintings. The menu includes a list of tasty salads to start, followed by creamy vegetable soups or purees and then a main of pasta, rice, stew or stuffed vegetables such as aubergine or courgette. Don’t forget to order a plate of their house speciality albóndigas vegetales (vegetarian ‘meatballs’). They also have an incredible list of 42 different homemade desserts to choose from, so make sure you leave a little room! A set menu costs €13.50 on weekdays, €15.50 at Saturday lunchtime and €22.50 for dinner on Fridays and Saturdays.
Located in the Casco Viejo district, Gustu Bilbao is run by a nutritionist and serves healthy, organic vegetarian and vegan meals. In its clean white dining room with chunky wooden booths, enjoy innovative and creative dishes such as chard stuffed with cashew curd, served with quinoa and vegetables; millet burgers with algae and mushrooms; and tempeh stir-fry with rice and seaweed stew. The restaurant also acts as a gallery with ever-changing artwork on the walls, and even has its own culinary school attached.
GOIKAR is not actually a vegetarian restaurant, however it’s the perfect spot for vegetarians or vegans travelling with their meat-loving partners or friends. As well the usual steaks, hamburgers and seafood, it has a vegetarian and vegan menu, offering dishes such as wild mushroom and asparagus risotto, vegan spinach croquetas and big juicy veggie burgers. It’s a bit rough and ready and laid-back, but if you’re looking for somewhere that will fill you up and satisfy everyone, it’s a great choice.
Vegetarian pintxo with red pepper and asparagus | Pixabay
Vegetarians and vegans don’t usually get to try local Spanish and Basque cuisine, because most of the time the dishes contain meat, but that’s not an issue at Twiggy. This small colourful bar, filled with 70s-inspired decor, serves traditional Basque cuisine, including pintxos, using only vegetarian and vegan ingredients.
This trendy vegetarian restaurant with its mismatched chairs, tiled floor and green-bottle chandeliers is both cosy and inviting. Its menu offers organic, vegetarian and vegan plates. Dishes cooked up by chef Gilles Savoins include creamy crêpes stuffed with mushrooms, Moroccan vegetable soup, vegan pommodoro pasta and Indian eggplant smothered in tomato sauce and melted cheese. Veggiefave also offers a set daily menu with three courses for €12 at lunchtime and €18 at dinnertime. Don’t forget to save room for dessert, which includes vegan chocolate fudge cake and light sorbets.
If you’re after something sweet, then head to Bohemian Lane. A vegetarian and vegan bakery, everything here is also organic and handmade. They specialise in cakes, cupcakes and cookies, selling everything from cheesecake, choco-caramel cake to cream cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies. Pair these with one of their delicious tea infusions or fragrant coffees.