To explore a city like a local, we say, discover what it has to offer through its food. In abillion’s city guide series, we speak to abillion members, asking for their recommendations. For the month of July, we’re featuring abillion ambassador Valentina Martini who lives in Barcelona. Valentina is an active user of the app and enjoys exploring new dining spots with her two adopted dogs, Asia and Portia.
Photo of Valentina Martini.
Originally from Italy, Valentina has been living in Barcelona for two years and challenges herself to eat all the wonderful vegan food the city has to offer. She considers Barcelona to be one of the most vegan-friendly cities that she has lived in.
Valentina’s vegan journey started while she was living in Shanghai five years ago. She says it was the street markets that sold different parts of animals that made her want to shift towards a plant-based way of living.
Here are Valentina’s recommendations for enjoying Barcelona.
Must try vegan restaurants
Roots and Rolls is a vegan restaurant that specialises in making different types of plant-based sushi. The food is more fusion than traditional, taking influences from different Asian and Japanese cooking styles. Valentina recommends the restaurant not just because of the food but also because it is pet-friendly. She says, "The restaurant itself is stunning, the service impeccable, and the dogs get their blankets in winter and water bowls." Her favourites are the NY-style noodles, Japanese crepes, and any of their sushi.
Just two years into opening, this vegan gastrobar is already recognised as one of the best vegan restaurants in the city. CactusCat is a gastrobar that serves both traditional Catalan dishes as well as other dishes drawn from a variety of cuisines. Valentina recommends the vegan Sausage Roll and also says that the Vietnamese rolls with peanut sauce are a must-try.
Located in one of the trendier districts of the city, in the neighborhood of El Poblenou, this nautical-themed bar and restaurant is a hit with tourists and locals alike. This Italian-owned restaurant changed to an all-vegan menu in 2019. They're pet-friendly and offer an outdoor seating area. Valentina says that BluBar serves the "best pizza" in Barcelona. She says, "Blu Bar offers a variety of wonderful dishes, from burgers to tacos, but pizza is what keeps me coming back. My favorite one is the Campesina New Age, with smoked ham, arugula, mushrooms, and mozzarella."
At first glance, this restaurant looks like a typical burger joint. But La Golsa serves vegan burgers, along with a selection of cocktails, salads, and vegan cakes. Valentina loves the burger selection here. They are so good in fact that she says it's impossible to choose a favourite. For first-timers, she recommends, "From Mumbai, with curry, mango confit, guacamole, cheddar, onions and veganesa to the Vei-kon, and lastly, don't forget to get their loaded Vrabas as a side dish to complete the meal."
Vegan dessert spots
La Besneta is a homey bakery and a dessert spot. Some of their most popular items are their tiramisu in jars and carrot cake. Aside from offering an all-vegan menu, they pride themselves on using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Valentina recommends choosing their classic tiramisu or their cupcake as a sweet treat.
For chocolate lovers, this shop is not to be missed. They specialise in crafting vegan chocolate desserts. One of their best-selling items are their cronuts, which come in flavours like hazelnut chocolate cream, lemon pie, and pistachio. Of all the flavours, Valentina suggests getting their orange cream and chocolate cronut. It’s her go-to combination. Chok also makes other baked items, including doughnuts, brownies, and cookies.
This vegan cafe serves a little bit of everything, from breakfast to smoothies, acai bowls, and vegan desserts. As the cafe's name suggests, their signature items are coconut-based, including milkshakes, homemade bounties, and cakes. Valentini recommends getting their Fracoco, a coconut frappe that is a perfect way to cool down on hot sunny days.