Any suggestions for vegan restaurants and general tips for vegans -- much more restricted than vegetarian! -- visiting Barcelona, Cordoba and Granada?
Lisa here is a complete guide of the vegan restaurants for Barcelona, Cordoba and Granada.
I recommend spending time with RJean's links. I think it may be fairly difficult to put together a vegan mean in a standard Spanish restaurant.
Among other things, Spaniards love ham, and it crops up in a lot of dishes, including some that one might expect to be made entirely of vegetables. Be especially careful about the mid-day menus del dia. They are great deals if you want a real meal at lunchtime (i.e., between perhaps 1:30 and 4 PM), but they are often advertised on temporary boards outside the restaurant. Dishes are typically listed just by name, without the additional descriptive information you'd find on a printed menu. You'll need to make your dietary restrictions clear rather than simply relying on those signs. And that's assuming you see something that seems viable. The vegetarian dishes often contain eggs (especially) or cheese. For a non-vegan vegetarian, tortillas (omelets) and revueltos (scrambled eggs) are common choices, but they won't work for you.
I've also seen fish listed in the vegetarian section of a menu, though at least that's obvious and you wouldn't order it by mistake.
You may find this podcast on the topic interesting:
I've not been to Spain but I also use the Happy Cow website to find vegan restaurants in the parts of Europe I have traveled to.
I also have printed out "I am vegan" cards in French, Dutch, German and Italian. They work pretty well. I print out the section and tape to a 3x5 index card, that way the server can take it back to the kitchen if needed. A couple of times I thought I had figured out vegan selections on a menu and showed the server the card then pointed. Sometimes they would agree, another time or two they would take the card to the kitchen then come back and point to things on the menu that would work.
In Germany a couple of times I did the point to an item thing and showed the card and the servers both indicated they were also vegan and that they would bring me what they liked to eat there if that was OK. I went with it and got some delicious meals, lol!
These are the cards I use altho there are of course other options. This one has an app which I downloaded but I didn't use my last trip. I returned to France and although I don't speak French I can do well enough in reading menus.
For the plane flight I always take food. I've usually ordered vegan meals on Delta and sometimes it's actually vegan and sometimes it's not. I got tired of the food this time and just ate the salad and bread off the regular tray. Delta tends to make 2 out of the 3 meals/snacks you get curry-based and it's pretty dire. My go to on leaving home is a couple of cinnamon-raisin bagels (they travel well without getting squished) and a couple of packets of Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut butter. That will keep me fed over a 10 hour flight from the western US.
Have a wonderful time!
General tips for vegans? Have an apartment with a kitchen! Hold your breath when near the jamon? Being half serious and half silly here this morning. We were in Spain for a month and got a really bad cold on the flight, so we didn't go out a whole lot. Most grocery stores don't have the greatest produce departments, however there are produce stores, often called fruteria (?sp), which is where we got most of ours. We aren't into fancy foods and our largest meal of the day is our second one, with evening being very light.
As Pam suggests, be familiar with Happy Cow, and have a translation card. You can sort on Happy Cow by vegan, vegetarian, veg options, etc. We always look for ethnic options as well.
In Cordoba there was a restaurant whose name I didn't record in the Zoco Municipal where we could've eaten. So you could check that out.
In Granada we stopped at Hicuri on our way downhill after our Alhambra visit. It worked.
In Barcelona there are lots of options. Our mistake was not understanding that reservations are often required, so, for example, we couldn't eat at an Indian restaurant we had selected and had to find something else. In doing so, we found an area with a good many Middle Eastern offerings, where vegan is easy. We did eat a Maoz, a falafel chain. If you're not familiar with it, it's mostly stand-up or take out, so very casual. We ate at a cafeteria place twice, Sopa, which has two locations. http://sopa.vg/provenza/es/
We did stumble upon a vegan bakery while wandering, but sorry, no name, maybe La Besneta? I can't speak to prepared options from grocery stores, but I imagine they are there. Maybe more at El Corte Ingles than at Carrefour? Check the heladerias for vegan options, we did find a nice one but had to look for it, using the standards taught for Italian gelaterias.
I also agree with Pam with respect to packing your own food for your flights. I pack whole meals, as snack foods just won't cut it for either of us. That's both directions across the Atlantic.
Donna, good thought on Maoz! It's my go to in Paris but have also eaten in them in Amsterdam and The Hague. There is one listed in Barcelona but I don't think the list on the website is up to date. It does not list the one in The Hague which had just opened in April when I was there. This is a reliable lunch place - inexpensive yet filling. With the basic falafel pita you can load up salads onto it from their salad bar.
LOL Pam! You know Denis will always want to find a falafel joint or two! Sniff, sniff, the local Maoz location here in the Orlando area CLOSED!! Believe it or not, this is one of your falafel wastelands, where we are presently parked.
Thanks everyone for the very helpful information!