Another year of great dining in Spain and finally another country! The pandemic slowed many of us down, but it didn’t entirely stop us from getting out and trying some great restaurants or becoming regulars at a handful of favorite places.
So in no particular order, here are my favorite restaurants of 2022. The year is not over, and I may find a few more that need to be added to the list, but the following restaurants have exceeded my expectations.
Although I consider flavor, price, decor, and staff when making my list, I also judge the quality of experience and whether or not this restaurant made it into my memories and heart.
I hope you will try these restaurants if you live in the area or save them for future dream trips to the Catalonia region, Spain, and…the South of France.
This list isn’t in any particular order but El Bindu is definitely one of our family’s favorite and regularly visited restaurants. It’s vegetarian but has many vegan options. It’s located in a small city near Monsterrat and after driving, eating, and promptly leaving, I convinced my husband we should investigate. We found the city of Igualada has a great Esclat supermarket with a home shop attached, a main plaza, and many nice green spaces.
But back to El Bindu. The food is a vegan/vegetarian take on traditional Catalan cuisine and other inspirations. Great flavors, seasonal with delicious desserts. The staff is friendly and the dining area is beautiful. Think warm, and cozy with a large circular fireplace in the middle of the room.
Can I tell you? The smell of the fire burning in the colder months is nostalgia overload for this Canadian. Growing up, having fireplaces wasn’t that big a deal, but these days it’s rare to find a working fireplace in new flats and houses. Even in the summer when the space is kept quite cool, there is still a welcoming coziness.
La Belle Verte 50 rue d’aubuisson, 31000, Toulouse France
My husband had been feeling a little bored and disappointed with the latest vegan restaurant offerings in Spain. So, we thought we would try France as it’s known for its haute cuisine. Although Paris was a little far, we found a few good candidates in Toulouse, packed up the car, and were off.
La Belle Verte and in particular the plate you see above were exactly what we needed to restore our faith in vegan cuisine, creativity, innovation, and the fine chefs that make it happen.
La Belle Verte serves exquisite food with unbelievable flavors. The location and restaurant itself are lowkey, but the service, food, and vegan wine list are exceptional. Although we don’t drink, we did overhear other diners discussing the offerings with delight.
If you are a vegan foodie and have the good fortune to spend time in Toulouse, you must go to La Belle Verte. Be sure to make a reservation, as if you don’t and can’t get a table, the loss of experience will haunt you…until you make it back to Toulouse.
La Mifa 40 Rue De La République, 31300, Toulouse, France
Fun, Good Vibes. La Mifa is owned by the same good people who own Bloomy, which was closed for holidays or I’m sure would be on this list. But, La Mifa is Bloomy’s new fun, colorful, creative cousin who came to party or at least sit on a patio with you.
Tacos with jackfruit, naan bread seitan pizza, lemon pie with a pesto drizzle, there is a lot of creativity happening here, and it works. With a reasonable size indoor dining room and plenty of outdoor seating on a patio that is part of a plaza, La Mifa seems to be a good spot for the young hip crowd or a romantic dinner for two.
Sagarrofa Camí del Mas Rostei, 17255, Girona, Spain
I love this place as do many locals and those who pass through this wonderful spot while enjoying a perfect Catalan summer on the Costa Brava. I really can’t say if Sagarrofa is more magical in the summer or winter as I love rain and the cozy fireplace vibes as much as the hot summer patio energy.
So whatever time of year, if you are staying in or looking for a nice day trip to the Pals, Begur area, be sure to stop in. Part Restaurant, part yoga meditation studio, and little shop, this place could keep you entertained for hours.
And the food! Traditional Catalan flexitarian with many vegan options. Delicious and healthy with plenty of flavor and creativity. Think Seitan and mushroom gravy, rich chocolate cakes, and the most incredible mezze platter I’ve ever tasted, just to name a few. This location would also be an excellent choice for a celebration, maybe a wedding, anniversary or important birthday. So, get planning your next magical memory!
Fika Brunch Carrer Forn, 15 Caldes de Montbui 08140, Barcelona, Spain
We stumbled on Fika Brunch as I was trying to broaden our horizons and try something different for our Saturday restaurant excursion. A 20-minute drive from where we live, we were not sure what to expect. First, the town of Caldes de Montbui is fantastic, and we’ve all been seriously sleeping on it because I have not heard anything about it not ever…from anyone.
Secondly, the restaurant is very spacious and well decorated with comfortable couches and wooden tables. And of course, the food is superb. As a vegetarian restaurant, Fika Brunch offers many tasty items that involve cheese or eggs but also many vegan options. From waffles to housemade seitan burgers to vegan cakes and potato bravas with 3 vegan dipping sauces, Fika Brunch is one of our most treasured resto finds of the year.
Almalibre Acai house Carrer Girona 118, Barcelona 08009, Barcelona, Spain
So we discovered Almalibre by accident when we couldn’t get into another nearby very delicious but not mentioned here vegan breakfast spot. And boy are we happy. This is our go-to place on a Saturday morning when we don’t want to take any dining risks and feel confident we will have a great meal.
There are so many great vegan dishes to choose from, and all are presented with the utmost care. Jackfruit or seitan burritos, hummus platters, potato bravas with caramelized onion and aioli sauces, vegan burgers, Heura nuggets, all kinds of toasts including avocado toasts, and delicious cookies or croissants for the drive home.
As well, they host pop-up dinners with the most delicious vegan ramen maker in town -Umami Plantbased – so there are even more tasty reasons to try this spot.
Nordest Cafe Placa dels Herois 8, 17520 Puigcerdà, Spain
I adore this place and the charming city of Puigcerdà. We discovered this eatery last March on my first ski trip in 5 years and my son’s first time experiencing snow.
The Nordest Cafe was listed as the best place in town for coffee which may well be, but it’s also a great place for vegan and vegetarian options. We had soft shell tacos, empanadas, vegan burgers, potato bravas, and hummus and left satisfied. Nice dining area inside and outdoor seating on a patio that is part of the main plaza. Whether you visit Puigcerdà for the snowsports of winter or the hiking and cycling for the rest of the year, be sure to stop in at Norderst Cafe.
Brulé 12 rue Alexandre Fourtanier, 31000, Toulouse, France
Wonderful place for breakfast, lunch, or cakes and coffee. We stopped by twice to try some of their delicious breakfast options one day and some cakes and coffee the next. This all-vegan spot has some creative ideas for standard breakfast options. Savory pancakes, BBQ toast, breakfast burritos, potato bravas, and a sumptuous selection of vegan desserts. The cake pictured above was epic. Filled with peanuts and banana in a pie-like crust with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles- Heavenly!
Just off St. Georges Place, this small spot has seating indoors and out with friendly efficient service.
Alvocat Carrer La Nau 6, 43003 Tarragona, Spain
We have known of this restaurant for some time but never visited, as it’s just around the corner from one of our all-time favorites. But, after misjudging time and missing our reservation at our usual spot, we decided to give this a shot.
A cute place with plenty of indoor dining on a quiet lane in the old town, Alvocat, had plenty of vegan and vegetarian options. We chose 2 three-course menus and 1 two-course menu. And can I tell you there was so much food! This place definitely serves up good-sized portions with plenty of variety. We had veggie tempura, a cheese platter, chickpea curry, faux seafood paella, and a seitan dish.
The service was friendly, and the cost was very reasonable especially considering the portion sizes. Tarragona has a few excellent vegan/vegetarian places so if you’re staying in the area or passing through definitely add this eatery to your list.
Kuki’s Carrer Arnals, 10, 25530 Vielha, Spain
So, this restaurant is the dream. Cute location not too far from the Vielha town main road and so much charm and whimsy it’s hard to concentrate. The whole place is cozy and warm with beautiful tablecloths, brightly patterned throw pillows, and artisan goods for sale in addition to delicious cuisine. Although it’s not completely veg, I don’t remember seeing many meat options on the menu but a great selection of vegan items.
Just like the eclectic nature of the decor, the menu seemed to serve whatever they felt like, including my personal fave canary islands potatoes! small, boiled potatoes served with salsa verde and salsa rojo. I assume the owners have some connection to the canary islands or at least that dish and what a treat to have it in the northeast of Spain!
The Newest treasure to hit the Barcelona plant-based dining scene. Velada is located just a short walk from the famous La Rambla in the Barcelona city center. With its beautiful interiors complete with lush emerald green velvety chairs and wooden ceilings covered in the most exquisite designs and craftsmanship, this restaurant is well needed.
Barcelona tends to have quite a few fast and casual vegan joints but not a lot of places that cater to a more upscale experience. Although the menu consists of standard vegan fare, they do have some interesting dishes or presentation ideas. Artichokes with pesto drizzle, sliders with various fillings to choose from, quesadillas, and the most delicious salad dressing I’ve had in a long time.
This place is the perfect place to stop in solo, in small groups, or book ahead for larger holiday parties. A sophisticated atmosphere with a menu that’s sure to please everyone.