The Green Spot is shielded from the gazes of major thoroughfares in Barcelona and the kinky street vendors around Port Vell. As a peaceful sanctuary this eco-minded contemporary vegetarian restaurant does not veer at tourist crowds, but for the green lifestyle seekers the calming and warm hues of the oak meets terracotta is the best what Barcelona has got so far. As you enter through the long, oak-clad corridor split from the kitchen by a verdant inner garden, you will tune yourself into its green mood.
The Green Spot elevated the ladder of vegetarian dining in Barcelona. The Mediterranean city of seafood paellas and meat-loaded tapas lacks in a scale of quality, plant-based eateries. There are other good vegetarian, some vegan, raw, locally sourced, farm-to-table eateries around the Catalan capital, yet none does the feel good concept better than En Compañía de Lobos. The founder Tomas Tarruella creates “spaces with personality, cared for design and gastronomy, quality in the produce used in avant-garde ambiences, well priced.” The restaurant group manages eight very popular design-driven cafés and restaurants in Spain so far (the newest is coming in Mallorca soon). Bosco de Lobos in Barcelona and Ana la Santa in Madrid are its stars, but The Green Spot is more than that.
The Green Spot is the first purely vegetarian and plants-mainly focused restaurant by the intrepid group, although it does not blink at you as such. Its message is discreet attracting non-vegetarians dining next to the strict veggies. This trend opens a question box – is eco-responsible dining out with focus on health and sustainability becoming mainstream in Europe? Boosted by the cool veggie lifestyle aura of LA, San Francisco, and New York, now Berlin, London, Milan, Prague, Vienna as well as Barcelona offer plenty of top quality local, grains, nuts and vegetables highlighting restaurants. In the latest Flax & Kale pioneered the flexiterian diet, juicing and other health centric eating out, yet using organic vegetarian ingredients hit its streets only recently.
The Green Spot vegetarian lifestyle designed cool
No need to dress up, like almost anywhere in Barcelona, you can wear shorts during the weekend brunch and the weekly lunch hours. For dinner, some nights are sparked up through live music sessions (Tue & Thurs) and the mood gets reportedly more jazzed up. We only came for brunch and lunch, but as the inviting character of the long, copper coated low chair bar, the tables nesting along the walls and under the arched ceilings assembled with the En Compañía de Lobos entertaining through food experience, we knew it was doing something right on the Iberian peninsula. A Brazil-based designer Isay Weinfeld masterminded my favourite hotels in South America, the Fasano in São Paulo and in Punta del Este, Uruguay. The oak, sleek curves and natural feel characteristic of his design fill any space with grace and purity. Located in a historic neoclassical building dating back to 1840 on the same compound where the Picasso family moved to in Barcelona, the space roared for respect. The Green Spot tamed it.
Food: Global culinary ideas meet local creativity
Far from tapas size portions, sharing is the best approach at The Green Spot. The chef Marcelino Jimenez paired with a vegetarian food specialist Julia Kleist to offer a finer experience than any of the Teresa Carles local casual eateries (Flax & Kale, Teresa’s Juicery, …). Although a simple Muhammara – Red pepper dip with walnuts, pita bread, carrot and celery crudités and pizza pop to the seasonal menu, their presentation is more sophisticated, and the portions smaller than at Flax & Kale. We had to try the charcoal dough pizza. The Activated carbon black pizza with a blackish thin crust had an ash-like bite, but the generous toppings of goat’s cheese, pumpkin, caramelized onions and parsnip moistened it. A sprinkle of pistachios on top made the difference from your regular slice. Order some salad with it for the perfect main course to share. The Japanese seaweed salad with umeboshi, black and white sesame vinaigrette makes for a funky pair, but there are enough greens to temper the intensity of the black noodle-shaped hijiki algae, with red radish and edamame freshen it all up.
From the starters our favourites were the Beet Tartare with Avocado, grapefruit and horseradish and the fine Carpaccio of kohlrabi, spirulina, pistachios and tamarind vinaigrette. Some plates like the Macrobiotic bowl, Pizza Margarita and the four cheese topped with the seasonal (May-June) zucchini flower and jerusalem artichoke are organic.
The rustic clay ware plates recall Hearth Ceramics of San Francisco, the trendy East London eateries, but are locally made by Aguade potters studio in Barcelona. The world meets the Mediterranean in the fusion cuisine served on them. The Green Spot may disappoint the purists but to any adventurer admiring the world’s culinary diversity, who wants to eat more responsibly in a beautiful environment this is the place to eat in Barcelona. The Greek Dolmadas are stuffed not with rice but quinoa wrapped in grape leaves. “From the World” come the Quesadillas with kimchi and avocado, some curries, Korean and Austrian inspired dishes next to the popular vegan burgers. More healthful Whole wheat spätzle with raclette cheese and caramelised onion propped from the Alps, while the fresh Pea dip with dukkah touches on the Middle Eastern tradition.
The menu colourfully highlights the allergens (sulphites inclusive), raw, vegan and gluten-free items. There are vegan soups, Green hemp pizza with vegan cashew “cheese”, gluten-free Sweet potato tagliatelle with macadamia nut sauce luxuriates on freshly shaved black truffles. Something safe for everyone, just do not crave fish or meat here.
The desserts blend Michelin ideas with simple sweet treats. The Lemon and celery sorbet was the most disappointing creation though. No wonder, the Michelin restaurants would serve something like this as a palate cleanser/refresher and not as the staring dish. Chia and matcha lovers will ohm over a pudding blending both of these trendy “superfoods”. Vegan brownie and ice creams fill the plant-based cravings. In June the Rhubarb and strawberry crumble with vanilla sauce graced the menu and my favourite fruit, the persimmon made an appearance too. My brain needs some sugar, excuse me “clean” eaters.
To sip on, the drinks were not overlooked. Whether you crave an organic wine, a cocktail like a bloody spiced-up kimchi mary for brunch as I had, a cup of coffee, tea or just plain Spanish water, you won’t be bored. All the wines by the glass were well chosen.
House pressed raw juices from organic ingredients are perfect alcohol-free brunch pals, but they can be taken to go since they are bottled every morning. The cold pressed Maia was perfectly balanced blend of pineapple, apple, cucumber, lemon and mint.
Restaurants like The Green Spot brighten the time we live in when the hippie lifestyle of the 60s has been luxed up into a trendy, global movement of the millennials and the generations succeeding them.
12 C. de la Reina Cristina, Barcelona
+34 938 02 55 65
Mon – Fri: 12:30PM – 12AM
Sat & Sun: 1PM – 12AM; Fri & Sat drinks till 2AM