For vegetarian and vegan travellers, finding a good restaurant in a new city can be a slight challenge, or it can be a total nightmare. You might be surprised to find that Valencia is an exception, absolutely stuffed with vegan, veggie or at least veggie-friendly restaurants and cafes, most of them concentrated around the bohemian, artsy districts of El Carmen and Ruzafa, but many found in the more upscale and touristy districts too. Here’s our guide to some of the best and most interesting eating spots in town.
This vegan fast-food joint evolved from a popular food-truck operation. The Vurger opened the doors of its new, non-mobile home recently, and has had lines out the door ever since. Located in the the bohemian district of El Carmen, it’s popular with everyone from partygoers to students at the nearby design school. The interior is light and airy and the menu features a good choice of burgers at very reasonable prices, along with juices, sweet potato fries and homemade desserts such as chocolate tart and lemon pie, all made with fresh, 100% vegan ingredients.
One of the city’s best-loved veggie restaurants is La Lluna. A traditional, taverna-style place with simple decor, the cooking too goes back to basics with an emphasis on using fresh ingredients and cooking them well. The kitchen can be seen from the dining room, giving diners extra reassurance that their food will be totally free from meat-based products. The owners, a charming couple of Valencians, say they’ve kept the business going for the last 30 years simply because they’re dedicated to buying the freshest produce and treating their customers well.
Lo de Ponxe en el Kinto Pino
Here’s one you won’t find in the guidebooks. Just around the corner from the Rojos Clementes food market, this little place has an alternative but inclusive vibe, and the warm, informal atmosphere of a neighbourhood bar. You could stop in just for a beer or a glass of organic wine, but it would be a shame to miss the food. Formerly vegetarian, the kitchen is now 100% vegan and the menu is full of surprising flavours. If you’re in a group, order a few of their beautifully presented tapas-style dishes to share, but leave room for their incredibly rich, yet surprisingly healthy, desserts packed with pumpkin, coconut and fresh fruit. Prices are reasonable and service is friendly, but be prepared to practice your Spanish.
If you enjoy vegan food and Scandinavian design, you’ll be in heaven at Copenhagen in the heart of Ruzafa, or at one of its sister restaurants. The owners now have three restaurants in Valencia, each one a sanctuary of minimalist Scandinavian design, though not particularly Scandinavian food. Instead, the menu features fresh flavours from all corners of the globe. There’s also a surprisingly good value lunch menu here, and the kitchen can cater for all dietary needs, including coeliacs.
If you like your veggie food served with a little dollop of anarchy this is just the place for you. La Mandragora, named after the curiously shaped hallucinogenic mandrake plant, is part vegan cafe, part activist HQ. Deep in the bohemian heart of El Carmen, this place feels a very long way from the tourist cafes around the corner at Plaza de la Virgin. Just as much passion goes into the food as the politics here and the dishes are carefully made with the freshest, most delicious ingredients.
If you’re aiming to impress, take your vegetarian dinner date to sleek Kimpira. The macriobiotic, 100% organic menu is beautifully presented and enjoyed in elegant surroundings. All dishes are made using local produce from the huerta – the miles of market gardens that surround the city of Valencia. Kimpira is centrally located between the Estacion del Nord and Plaza Ajuntamento.