Three havens for vegetarians living in Zaragoza.
The Neighborhood: La Magdalena
Calle Mayor, 53, 50001 Zaragoza, Spain
At a glance:
This is a quirky and grass-roots collaborative bar run by friendly volunteers. They offer a honor-system of payment for their 100% vegan tapas selection - you simply put one euro per tapa in a cup left on the counter! The beer is cheap, the wine is emergency-only, and the people are amazing.
There is no outside seating, but this bar oozes what kids these days call “the authentic craic” - and there always seem to be a dozen or so people mingling and chatting outside in the streets. This is common in Spain, and a sign of a happening spot. Again, this bar has odd hours, so it’s best to get a list before making the trek to La Magdalena.
This bar is a great place to find out what is going on in the underground scene in Aragon. There is a heavy use of the regional language, Aragonese here, and most signs are either in both languages or only Aragonese.
The layout is a bit of a railroad style, with small tables lining the left wall, flanked by the bar running along the right side.
Bathrooms are simple and serviceable.
The tapas here are great - very fresh, and as I mentioned, 100% vegan, which means you can go wild and chow down without fear!
This is a place you must go at least once, for the culture if not for the prices.
Market: San Vincente De Paul Market - fresh fish, meat and vegetables.
Calle de la Universidad, 3, 50001 Zaragoza, Spain
At a glance:
This is a low-key bar/restaurant, with a punk edge. They boast a solid organic wine selection, a case full of 100% vegetarian tapas and a full menu. Pricing is totally reasonable. The hours are tricky (closed on Mondays, tapas & menu subject to special hours) but, it’s worth the wait! There is a full “horario” on the website. It is staffed by a cooperative team - everyone is very nice. Most of the staff speak Spanish or Aragonese, but some speak English. It’s best to try your hand at Spanish here!
There are one or two tables out front in a modest tree-lined alley. Quite pretty in Spring and Summer!
As you walk in, there is a fantastic micro-store “El Brote Vegetal” to the left. At this simple counter, you can buy those hard to find products such as falafel, soy and rice milk as well as an assortment of local snacks and meal essentials.
To the right is a seating area and the Frida Kahlo library full of progressive books about social, artistic and some political issues, and heading toward the dining area, you’ll find a sprawling local bulletin board with events, shows, band posters, independent ads and more.
There is a full bar situated in front, but as you round the corner, the dining area is spacious and inviting with brightly colored walls, local art and big natural wood tables.
Bathrooms are clean and nice.
I had a huge salad, and my friends tried the veggie burger and a special entree. The food is wonderful and well worth the price. The desserts are outstanding!
I highly recommend this place for a relaxed, affordable slice of life in Zaragoza’s Magdalena neighborhood. For vegetarians, it’s a great value and felt to me like a home away from home.
Landmark: Rio Ebro
C/ Don Teobaldo nº 16, 50001 Zaragoza, Spain
At a glance:
La Otra is a fantastic dining option open for a wide range of hours (some with limited menu) and a kind staff.
This restaurant is situated at the intersection of two side streets and surrounded by great murals. The restaurant does not really feature outside seating, though the door is usually open, welcoming in passers-by.
Lime green walls and nice lighting brighten this narrow restaurant. There is beautiful local art and photography on the walls, a bulletin board and pamphlet area at the entrance, and a small but nice bar and tapas case in the center.
Along the left wall, they make a clever use of space, with simple mounted drink surfaces along a slim bench for lounging single and couple types.
At the back there is a nice and cozy dining area.
Bathrooms feature fantastic Male/Female symbols–you’ll have to go there to see them!
They have an amazing sangria (a large pitcher for 6€), a mixed menu of vegetarian and meat dishes (clearly labeled with vegan, contains cheese, spicy), and a nice selection of very unique tapas.
I’d say La Otra is worth a specific trip, if you like a low-key artsy space with a mixed menu… for either a quiet lunch or a quick meal before a night out in the artsy Magdalena area. It’s only a few blocks from El Rio Ebro, and a 10 minute walk from El Tubo, or El Pilar.
Landmark: Rio Ebro
BONUS EATS: El Mirador & La Cicleria
Right after writing this, I had the pleasure of visiting another wonderful eatery in La Magdalena for pizza: El Mirador is a beautiful and quiet restaurant nestled into a corner just steps away from Rio Ebro and El Pilar. The Italian fare was amazing, prices were totally reasonable, and you can get a Jarra (pitcher) of house wine for the table at quite a value! Lots of veggie options.
La Cicleria is another gem where I stopped in for the afternoon to meet people, check out the bike rentals and take advantage of the public wifi and biking library in the cafe. I was very excited to see they had soy and alternative milk options at the cafe, and vegan, sustainable and affordable treats! This is a super spot.