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At first glance, it may not seem like healthy options abound in Barcelona. The endless ham, the white bread and chocolate croissants, the fried and breaded tapas… and all of it, as one of my friends from North America put it, is “swimming in olive oil.”
Fair enough. But remember that this is also the land of the Mediterranean diet. Fish, fruit, nuts, steamed greens, and delicate salads are also on the menu in the Catalan capitol. Healthy eating is not hard to come by in Barcelona if you know where to go in the city. Until recently, it was a headache to be a vegetarian, but now this too is no big deal in Barcelona.
For your five daily doses of fruit and veggies, here are my local recommendations:
Locations throughout Barcelona
Fresc Co is a buffet-style restaurant with an enormous salad and pasta bar. This is a good place for vegetarians and picky eaters because there are no surprises and you take only what you want. It’s also a steal, at about €10 for lunch or dinner. The downside is that Fresc Co does not score high in the charm or uniqueness department but the price makes up for this. There are many Fresc Co locations in Barcelona; visit the website for more information.
C/Sant Antoni Abat 52 08001
934 416 411
Not only is this cute spot vegetarian-friendly, it is also organic! In the hip El Raval neighborhood, Sesamo is a bit hidden, so check your map before heading over—it is worth the journey. Tuesday through Sunday the restaurant offers a set meal for €15, which includes three course, bread, and a drink. To some Cheapos this may seem a bit pricey, but portions are large and €15 is an excellent deal for a three-course lunch in Barcelona.
Plaça Gardunya, 3-4
933 014 163
Another one of my old favorites is Ra Restaurant, which also offers a set meal for €13 on weekdays and weekends alike. Ra is a popular choice for locals and tourists because it is right off Las Ramblas and has one of the nicest outdoor terraces in the city center.
Ra is not a veggie restaurant, but it always offers a veggie option, usually lasagna or some other delicious creation. Ra changes its menu all the time, but the eats are always tasty. I have never been disappointed at Ra, and I have been there many times. Tip: Go before 1:30 PM or you WILL NOT get a table.
C/ Hospital, 74
934 439 082
Amazingly, there are even vegan options in Barcelona! Juicy Jones offers vegan fare, smoothies, and fresh squeezed fruit juice. There are a few Juicy Jones around the city, but I am only familiar with the ones in the Gothic Quarter and El Raval. Dreadlocks, hipsters, and new generation hippies abound at Juicy Jones, sipping guava shakes and warming up with homemade soups in the winter months. The prices are reasonable for the high quality.