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Vegan in Barcelona: Part 2

October 6, 2010

Okay, time for some more delicious Catalan food.

G and I wanted to splurge once on a nice tapas dinner while we were in Barcelona, and so we picked Sesamo, a highly-regarded vegetarian tapas restaurant (with a very friendly Argentinian chef). We decided to each order a main dish, and then split some tapas plates to start with. 

The first tapas plate we shared was a bowl of watermelon gazpacho. 

I know it sounds a little strange, but it was phenomenal. It wasn’t overwhelmingly watermelon-y–the watermelon just made it a little sweeter than it might have been otherwise.

We also shared some balsamic-glazed baby onions.

These were also delicious–they were, like the soup, served cool, and we a good addition to the sweet gazpacho.

While in Barcelona I noticed that lots of people really enjoy eating tiny potatoes dipped in different sorts of sauces–so, we decided to order a plate of tiny potatoes and sauces.

I think the two sauces were 1) one with a red pepper puree base and 2) one with a nice lemon-garlic flavor.

Probably everyone already knows this, but it was news to me. One thing many people in Barcelona love is fresh tomato and roasted garlic scraped onto oiled toast. So, of course, we had to get some of that.

Even for someone who isn’t a huge fan of raw tomatoes, this was pretty delicious.

For his main plate, Graham got some pad thai, ruining my plan of having an entirely Spanish meal. But I’ll forgive him, since it was awesome.

I think that the bite I took of this was the spiciest bite of food I had had since coming to Europe. It made me miss having actual spicy food.

I had some asparagus risotto which was very good, although it wasn’t as exciting as the tapas plates.

For dessert, Graham got some delicious strawberry-basil ice cream,

(You can tell that G is poised to take a bite as soon as I take the picture!)

And, well, I got a mojito. Since that’s a dessert, right?

Anyway, it could have just been the giant, very strong mojito talking, but I had a great time at Sesamo. The chef was very fun to talk to, and it’s generally a pleasant place to be. In particular, they have a lovely exposed kitchen surrounded by spice jars.

Well, it looks a little dark here, but trust me–it was lovely.

So now I’m going to tell you about my favorite place to eat in Barcelona. It’s not fancy, it’s not expensive, and it’s not even particularly Spanish–but it’s some of the most fun food I’ve had in Europe.

The place I’m thinking of is a vegan “deli” (if there is such a thing) called Gopal, in the heart of the Gothic quarter. Now, their savory food is very tasty, in a comfort food sort of way. But the truth is, what really makes it special are the desserts. We’ll get to those in a minute.

When you first walk in, you can see lots of their offerings in a glass case.

So, you can take a look at all of their beautiful desserts and sausages while you wait for your food.

When we first went there, I got a bun-less burger on a salad, Graham got a crispy seitan sandwich (with avocados and sun-dried tomatoes), and we split an order of potatoes with a spicy cream sauce.

I know a burger without a bun sounds a little strange (you can opt for a bun instead of a salad, if you want to), but the salad was actually really great. You can’t see most of it above, but it was packed full of vegetables, including some nice hot peppers, some sundried tomatoes, and also some guacamole. The potatoes were totally addictive, and Graham’s sandwich was awesome.

But, like I said earlier, what really makes Gopal special are its desserts. Here are a few.

1) Delicious Mini Apricot Meringue Pie.

I ate this on the waterfront, in the dark, which means you don’t get a very nice picture of it. However, it was… incredible. Since apricots can be quite tart, it was actually a great deal like lemon-meringue pie. Now, someone at Gopal has figured out how to make vegan meringue, which causes me a lot of internal conflict. Do I abduct them and make them teach me their secrets? Or do I leave graduate school to become a beggar in Barcelona, using all of my money to buy delicious mini-pies from Gopal? These are very difficult decisions.

Gopal also has amazing cake and tarts (as you can see, we would often get dessert to go, and then eat while wandering around).

2) Creamy Ginger Tart.


3) Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Gopal’s desserts can’t be beat. But if it’s excruciatingly hot while you’re in Barcelona, you may want to consider a treat that’s a little cooler, in which case you should pay a visit to Gelaati, where you can get vegan gelato.

You can tell it was warm that day, since the gelato is already starting to melt. Anyhow, I loved my mix of coffee and chocolate gelato. Predictably, Graham wanted pure coffee.

So, all in all, Graham and I ate extremely well in Barcelona. I left thinking that Paris could learn a thing or two from Barcelona about vegan treats. Perhaps Isa will teach them, when she comes to visit in November?

One Comment leave one →
  1. Mary Bosch permalink
    October 12, 2010 4:20 pm

    Caroline hit the nail on the head. You really love this city. Here you were able to write with a sense of almost joyous abandon. Maybe some day, you’ll find a place that that in the US–hopefully within a few hundred miles of your mother! Miss you!

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