Vegan in Valencia, Spain
About My Trip to Spain
My first trip to Spain I spent most of my time in and around Valencia. I was in the city December 18th - 31st, 2022. I am in a long distance relationship and Jose and I hadn't seen each other for 10 months. We are hoping in 2023 I can make the move to Spain permanently. While I tend to do a bit of research before a trip, I find the most unforgettable experiences while traveling happen when you just let things happen. It's about being adaptable, spontaneous and following your instincts in the moment. I've seen the best sunsets and had the best meals in different parts of the world all by chance. This was my approach in Valencia. There are so many dining opportunities it would be impossible to try them all. I was pleasantly surprised that most places I stumbled upon had vegan options, and there were many 100% vegan restaurants that I didn't get a chance to check out during this trip.
Jose had to work some of the time during my stay, so sometimes that meant me venturing out on my own (directionally challenged, GPS in hand...it's an adventure!) One thing I ran into was that the hours of operation can differ greatly between restaurants. Some places are open all day and night, others open for lunch, then close for several hours, opening up again around 8:30 and even 9:00 pm. Jose and I both prefer not to go out late so that dictated a bit where I/we went.
Our air bnb had a small kitchen with two burners but no oven. We ate a few simple meals in the apartment but definitely ate out more often than not. I have written a bit about each restaurant I ate at during my two week stay in Valencia, and I am honestly surprised to report that I didn't have any "bad" food in the city. Some meals were better than others, but nothing completely off putting. Trust me when I tell you, I am a food critique at heart so I don't give great reviews lightly.
Restaurants I ate at in Valencia
(1-6) located in Old Town Valencia
(7) located in Ruzafa (an area in Valencia)
(8). located in Benimaclet (area in Valencia)
1. Mali Gastrobar
Mali Gastrobar was one of the first places I had dinner while Jose was working. They actually have multiple locations in Old Town, all really close together. I didn't notice until days after I first ate there while walking around aimlessly and realizing I walked passed it 3 times ha. The first meal I had was Paella. They had one vegan option. "Paella de Verduras" with Artichoke, Zucchini, Roasted Peppers & Broad Beans. It was incredibly delicious. This was the only Paella I had in Valencia, I would in theory be curious to try others, but this one was perfect. The oils coated my lips, it had deep rich tomato & roasted vegetable flavours with the perfect amount of acidity.
This Paella served two people. They list the price as "per person" meaning it is actually double what the printed cost was. (I think about 13 euros per person, so 23...I kinda forget). One thing to note is unless you are at a restaurant that advertises take out as an option, it isn't typically a thing here. Since I was alone I asked if there was anyway I could take half of the Paella to go. They were accommodating and gave me a piece of tinfoil and a paper bag to carry the rest home. In theory if you want to be able to bring leftovers, I would just have a bag or small container on your person.
I chatted with a server working at Gastrobar Mali a bit, asked what else he recommended in the area. He laughed and said "Gastrobar Mali." He mentioned the vegan burger being really good on their menu. I was intrigued, I don't necessarily *go* for vegan burgers often, but if they are good then it is a worth while experience. The idea stuck in my head anyhow, and I went back a couple of days later to try their vegan burger while Jose was at work.
The burger was made from textured soy, and I have to say, it isn't a product I have worked with before (not sure why!), but it had great flavour and texture. I'm guessing they would have used beets to give it the colour, but I'm really not sure. It also had caramelized onions, mushrooms, pickles, guacamole, roasted peppers, greens. This burger was really delicious. I think the next time I attempt a vegan burger I am going to give textured soy a whirl! It came with a side of chips. I had a bag with me in my purse, and I took half home because for me it's a lot of food at lunch in one sitting, and I wanted Jose to be able to try it too. To be honest we shared it later haha, and it was even good cold. I also made an Instagram friend with the server who suggested I try it. I love making random connections.
2. Noble Cafe
Noble Cafe was the only coffee shop in Valencia I went to, and Jose and I went just once. This was mainly because there was a Nespresso Machine in my Air Bnb, and by the time I was strolling around the city most days I was going for a drink and a meal.
Noble Cafe is located in Old Town Valencia. They actually had soy milk as an option, so I was really happy about that. I am always disappointed when I'm going out for coffee and there is no dairy free alternative. Our breakfast was toasted baguette, with tomato puree and olive oil on the side. The pan con tomateI had in Morella was definitely better than the one here, but it was still tasty enough. The space was clean and in theory I would have enjoyed going back more than the one time. I am not sure how many vegan options there were on the menu, but I was happy enough with what we ordered. Somehow I rarely eat food when I'm at a coffee shop anyhow. I'm always there for the coffee and the wifi. I prefer to eat healthy so I rarely go for baked goods. (Though I had a vegan croissant in Switzerland on my little side trip to see family and that was delicious!)
3. Matiz Cantina
3. Matiz Cantina. I stumbled upon Matiz Cantina randomly one evening while Jose was at work. Took a glance at their menu and saw a few vegan options. This place is all about the wine. They had an extensive hand written list of reds and whites. I chose a glass of white, a locally made varietal, and it was delightful.
A dish of olives to nibble on while waiting for food.
I ordered the "Veggie Tartar" to start. The menu said toasted bread, but it was un-toasted. It was still good, toasted is always what I want for things like this though. It had broccoli, almonds, roasted peppers & lots of brightness. I ended up ordering the hummus because while this veggie tartar was delicious it wasn't a stand alone dish for me. I needed some richness beside it after some bites. So hummus and more bread rounded it all out. That isn't even a negative comment, I prepare dishes all the time where I want a 2nd or 3rd dish to balance the flavour profile of the entire meal. The owner was really sweet and friendly, she spoke some English to me and I really enjoyed my evening out. (Would have been better with Jose there heh.)
This is the wine list, and the wine I chose. I actually stopped drinking for 1 year and 8 months prior to this trip. I decided a while before that I wanted to enjoy wine while in Spain, so introduced it back in my life. Now that I am home, I am back to not drinking much. For me having the ability to cut it out of my life for extended periods of time is the difference between my 39 year old self and my 29 year old self. Anyhow, I think any wine lover would find something delicious at this restaurant.
Hey! I'm Trisha