The Spot: B13 Bar Restaurante | Calle Ballesta, 13 Madrid
The Price: $ (2-8 euros)
The Rating: 4/5 estrellas
A friend of mine invited me to a vegan tapas event and in the back of my mind I thought: all right, this will be interesting. You see, I’m from Chicago where things like vegan grocery stores, health food stores and vegetarian restaurants are abundant and, more importantly, of extremely high quality. The Chicago Diner, for example, made my meat-crazy aunt clap her hands and do a praise stomp: naturally, my standards are quite high.
Although I grew up in a vegetarian household, I spent 5 years as a vegan. I don’t agree that vegans have to eat salad and boiled vegetables forever—it’s not a prison sentence, it’s a life choice. Needless to say, I was definitely excited to try “Spanish” vegan cuisine. The restaurant is located in Madrid city center right off of Gran Via. Although I spent 5 minutes drooling on the Jeffery Campbell window display, completely overwhelmed by feels, my partner and I finally found it. It looks like an average Spanish tapas bar that could also double as a late-night karaoke joint (at least from the outside). It was so crowded, but everyone seemed to be happy, so I took it as a good sign.
The menu is straight-forward: hot dogs, hamburgers, seitan, chicken burgers, etc. They also have your classic Spanish dishes, but vegan-fied: tortilla de patatas, calamares a la romana, ensaladilla rusa, San Jacobos, and bocadillos de chorizo. We were overwhelmed with possibilities, but still skeptical: how do you make vegan calamari, sir? Riddle me this.
We opted for the menu because, well, divide and conquer. When in doubt, order everything you can for the least amount of money and share. The menú del día is what we all finally decided on, and for 6 euros, it includes a hamburger (you can choose between 3), fries, onion rings or peppers, and either hummus or salad. I also ordered a piece of their frutas del bosque cake and the chocolate con trufas for dessert. The portion size for the menu was well-worth the price; however, I will say that ordering a la carte, the food was much, much heartier. The kebab, for 3,8 took up the entire plate, whereas the entire menu fit on the same plate… if that makes sense.
The food was absolutely delicious! The price, incredible and you can tell that the staff working there believe what they’re selling. My only complaint is that the ordering process was a bit chaotic: the line to order and the line for a table overlapped. We waited 15 minutes for someone to take our order because the server behind the counter doing 34 things at the same time, poor guy. And they do not bring your food to where you are sitting, you either wait by the bar, or hope they remember your face and spot you in a crowd. (Danni’s afro for the win).
Overall, the experience was very positive and I would definitely support them in the future because the prices are out of this world good and the taste wasn’t lacking either. I’ll have to compromise on the chaotic ordering system, because Spain, but I’d give them 4 out of 5 stars without hesitation. On the way back to the metro, still on my vegan food high, I saw 3 prostitutes and a couple sex stores! If that’s your thing, make a Sunday afternoon of it! Oh Madrid, I just love you, you’re so multi-faceted.
Danni, Community Director at Las Morenas de España, is a twenty-something, Chicago native who currently resides in Madrid, Spain. She's a lover of language, words, and travel and has managed to combine all her passions through her work. In her free time, you can find her exploring the winding streets of Madrid, hunting down good flights deals, planning her next adventure and writing & researching for LMDES. Danni loves spicy food, natural hair, music and of course, her wonderful life partner. If you need to find her, she’s the girl with huge hair and her face buried in her Kindle.