by Katie Goldstein
A Spanish friend of mine calls herself a vegetarian. But, she says, “I make an exception for jamón.” There you have it: it can be a little tough to be a true vegetarian in this country.
In Madrid, though, life is not so bad for those who seek vegetarian-friendly shops or restaurants. First, you’ve got NaturaSí, an Italian natural foods supermarket chain with three locations in Madrid. I buy everything from oats and organic chocolate to tofu and tamari here. Another of the biggies is Ecocentro—a natural foods “center.” In addition to the <a href="http://ecocentro.es/multitienda.htm" supermarket, which is comparable to NaturaSí, there's a vegetarian restaurant with many appetizing options. Finally, in Lavapiés, you’ve got A salto de mata, which is a smaller natural foods store with a serious focus on buying its products locally.
Among the many vegetarian dining options in the city, the organic market and buffet Viva la Vida is excellent for a quick meal. Conveniently located on Calle Huertas, it offers a mouth-watering buffet for 1.80 euros per 100 grams. Make sure to save room for a piece of carrot cake after your meal. El Granero de Lavapiés, on Calle Argumosa, also deserves a mention for its delicious home-cooked, and mostly organic vegetarian food. You’ll feel like you’re at home too, in their welcoming dining room.
See map below for the places mentioned above.