The search combination ‘vegetarian’ and ‘restaurant’ mainly produces a hit in tourist centers such as Playa del Carmen, Playa Blanca and Costa Teguise. In that respect, Spain has improved considerably in recent years. They have even learned questioning and thinking along (‘we can leave the tuna out of the salad’ or ‘do you eat eggs?’). However, it generally concerns restaurants that only have vegetarian or even vegan options. In that respect you are always good with an Italian or Indian restaurant, but the challenge is in fact something other than pizza, pasta or curry.
Soja y Pimentón is an exception to everything. The Argentinian couple Natalia and Juan provide a vegan Argentinian Grill on their own meat free finca, for groups as well as couples. We were only with the two of us and time was taken for us. Not very cheap (four courses € 40.00* per person incl. drinks) but keep in mind that almost everything is hand made, there is a lot of personal attention, and you can take the left overs home. Read more about this later in our separate blog.
Other places we have visited:
Mi Piace is a small, low-threshold and very affordable eatery in Costa Teguise (Avenida Islas Canarias 15) with a small terrace along both facades. The café presents itself as a restaurant / pizzeria / grill and has mainly Italian and other European dishes. Among them are vegetarian pizzas (€ 8.50 – € 12.00*) and for example a vegan lentil burger (€ 8.50 *). Mi Piace scores a 4.5 on Tripadvisor.
In the historic building Casa León in the center of Teguise (Calle León y Castillo 3) Las Hespérides offers organic, Mediterranean and European dishes, including some attractive vegetarian and even vegan options. Although the menu on the facade is very youthful, the restaurant belongs to the higher price range. Our vegan olive tapenade with a few pieces of bread cost* € 1.70, falafel € 7.50, papas arrugadas € 6.50 and humus and quinoarisotto together € 18.50. The tea is organic. Las Hespérides scores a 4.5 on Tripadvisor.
With a score of 3.5 on Tripadvisor, Casa El Barba at Playa Papagayo scores avarage, and yet we had a delicious meal with good portions. Casa El Barba is one of two lunch cafes with a partly covered terrace overlooking the popular sandy beach in the south of Lanzarote. The offer consists of sandwiches, salads, pizzas and meals. It is a low-key lunch cafe (many beach visitors slide into his or her beach clothes) but because of the location near the beach the price range is average. As vegetarian options there are roasted sandwiches (e.g. with cheese and tomato), a mixed salad (without tuna!) and papas arrugadas.
In Caleta de Famara, the most famous beach town in the north of Lanzarote, El Sibarita (Avenida del Marinero 128) is a stranger in our midst. Caleta is small and yet there is this good running Asian restaurant with lots of vegetarian and vegan options. Unfortunately it was closed when we got there, but the reviews are very favorable. And even in the even smaller neighboring town of La Santa, 12 km west of Caleta, we drove past a cafe that had a vegetarian burger on the menu.
Also in the supermarkets there is – in addition to meat and fishless salads and vegetable packs – an increasing supply of vegetarian and vegan products, especially in the tourist areas. For example, Spar has a few types of vegetarian meat substitutes from the brand Campofrío Vegalia and Lidl has different types of meat substitutes from Chefs Special (including hamburgers, veggie balls, cheese burgers with vegetarian cheese, and vegetable schnitzels), all around € 2.29*.
Finally, it is becoming easier to eat a decent vegetarian sandwich at a local bakery, which is richly invested with, for example, lettuce, tomato and avocado.
So it goes in the right direction on the Canary Islands!
(*) Price January 2018