This question is always on my mind and I know I am not alone. Strangers have contacted me to ask what places I would recommend if they want to eat more than just a potato omelette and a salad. The truth is that vegetarians are not well provided for outside of the big cities and Granollers may be called a city but for most purposes it is better to think of it as a small country town.
However it is slowly getting better
The Milk Cafe on Carrer Girona is a unique example of a place in Granollers where not only can you eat vegetarian food but it actually specialises in it at lunch time. they have a menu for less than 10 euros which is totally meat and fish free.
I went in last week to see if it still is as good as last year and I had a lovely meal, sitting comfortably alone reading my kindle, surrounded by other people who if not actual vegetarians were obviously happy to eat something different. You start with soup and chose as much as you want from the salad bar. If I have a niggle it is that the salads could be more adventurous but really I am not complaining as I am so grateful that it exists at all!
Then I had the lasagne which was delicious. I asked for something to spice it up a little and they happily gave me a bowl of hot sauce. People here are generally frightened of hot and spicy food so I can’t critisize that the food is generally blander than I like.
When I arrived at 1.15 the place was quiet but half an hour later every table was full.
I did have pudding, of course. A chocolate mousse which I ate before even thinking about taking a photograph! You will have to imagine it – or even better, go along and have lunch in the Milk Cafe.
Thanks to my friend Tiffany we have a new place to eat in Granolllers.
It is Japanese and is called Teriyaki. It is a bit hidden away and doesn’t look like anything special from the outside but when you go in it is like Dr Who’s tardis – stretching upstairs, downstairs and out to the back.
There are lots of things on the menu for vegetarians
Noodles, seaweed, tofu, vegetable tempura.
The first time we went I was too busy eating to get any photos of the food so, we just had to go back again the following week and do it all again!
The lunch menu is 9.50 euros and is a buffet style meal – you just keep ordering until you are full. Drinks are not included so beware of the surprise extras on your bill for wine or water.
I totally recommend the potato cakes which sound boring but having Irish blood I can never resist a potato dish and when they arrived they were too delicious to share so we had to order more for the others!Teriyaki
Let’s move to another part of the market where there are no cages.
Right down at the end of the main shopping street we arrive at Plaça Corona
I don’t always make it as far as this but today we did the whole stretch. The crowds begin to thin out down here. There are plenty of cafes with space for tables and chairs outside while in the town centre the stalls take over the whole street.
Back in the Porxada there are fruit and vegetable stalls under the shade of the old market
Here we are – it’s Thursday again and the market is in full swing.
For the sake of this blog I forced myself to go and visit the caged birds
I am too sensitive to their plight and usually avoid this end of the market. If I had come here in the first part of the 20th century then I would have had to deal with animals of all sorts being bought and sold. Now there are mainly flowers and herbs and olives and a few birds.
The square outside of the library is called Malluquier i Salvador and was used as the cattle market as in the old days it was outside the city walls.
There are only a couple of stalls selling chickens and ducks and I suppose it could be worse. People come here from the countryside and perhaps they have gardens and ponds.
One little boy was asking for a duckling ‘Vull un anac! Vull un anac’ and his mother was about to buy him one. I wonder where it was going to live
The official name of the square is Malluquier i Salvador and the local name is Plaça de Can Sinia. The library runs along one side of the square and is housed in a historic building called Can Pedrals. And underground there is a large bomb shelter from the civil war.
To all the birds in the market – may you find happy homes with good people!
Wherever I live I am always drawn to the health food shops and Granollers is lucky to have several, the biggest of which is Veritas.
It’s actually a chain of supermarkets, started in 2002, and now there are 23 shops in Catalunya. Veritas was founded by 4 Catalan families with the aim of providing healthy, more ecological and non chemical food. In the UK health shops don’t tend to sell meat, but this is normal here and Veritas has an ecological range of meat products in the chiller section. Organic meat is expensive in Catalunya but it’s good to know there is a market for it even though the main supermarkets haven’t taken this on board.
This branch is very friendly and you can have a coffee and cake in their little cafe which is rather basic but ok and has tables by the window. I think a notice board would be a useful addition but that is also not so common as in the UK.
It’s not a cheap option to buy things in Veritas but in general prices are high for vegetarian or ecological products all over Catalunya and here they have a wide range.
I took this picture because of the Bimbo van. The name always makes me laugh but of course it doesn’t mean the same in Catalan. Bimbo has been producing sliced packaged bread since 1964 from their factory here in Granollers. Before Bimbo this type of convenience loaf didn’t exist in Catalunya or Spain.
I want to write about the shops in Granollers where I have found good service. Remember I am not the typical shopper – I look for friendliness above all and especially that the shop keepers don’t treat me like an alien because I am foreign and stumble over my words.
I don’t want to get into naming and shaming or describing the negative experiences I’ve had (although perhaps I will be tempted sometimes) so these posts will be mainly about the good places I have found.
Saras butcher is hidden away on a quiet back street on Carrer Tarafa. I only recently started going there since starting to feed my dog a raw meat diet. I am vegetarian but do occasionally buy organic chicken for humans
The woman who runs the shop – is she Sara? – is very friendly and helpful. She was genuinely interested in finding things like chicken necks and meaty bones that I can give my dog and she even went out on the street to say hello to her.
There is another butcher closer to home who are polite to me but they don’t smile much or chat at all and I always feel nervous and awkward going in there as it is clear they don’t warm to me. So I now chose Saras every time and am greeted by a cheery ‘ Hola guapa’ which makes the whole experience much more pleasant. A butchers shop is not the favourite haunt of a long time vegetarian so it is saying a lot that I actually almost enjoy going in there.
Cycling home this evening I passed through the Porxada and stopped to take these pictures as it looks so beautiful at night. This central square is one of the best parts of Granollers
It is quiet, not really like a city. There are people sitting drinking and talking at a cafe and some others walking home or just having a stroll. The Ajuntament is the Council building.It is perfect cycling here as it is flat and there are lots of streets with no cars.
I have a secret pleasure in riding my bike through the centre – it was recently totally renovated and the tiles are a little bit loose in places. They make the most satisfying ‘ptuk ptuk’ as you go over them and I try to get as many as possible on the way home!
We arrived late back from the airport with a friend and looking for somewhere nice to go and have supper we thought of El Mirallet. It is in the centre of town and has a more lively atmosphere than many of the other restaurants in Granollers which tend to be rather staid. It was Wednesday and we found it even livelier than expected as it is the night when they have concerts with live music
We sat inside where it was quieter and had a selection of food and some cold beer. There are vegetarian choices here which is something special in Granollers and as well as the goats cheese salad, there was a vegetable dish whose name I have forgotten but it was delicious
At lunch time they also cater for vegetarians with a fixed price menu as well as all the usual food of the region.
Mirallet was opened in the early 80’s as a cheese and wine bar but several years later it became a cooperative with all the people working there being members. They expanded and started serving lunches and dinners as well as cafe food. It is situated next door to the Cambridge School Of English so it often has the sound of English spoken and is generally a popular place to go if you are part of an arty or musical crowd.
It’s always friendly and even when busy they are able to conjure up a smile.
This is one of my main criterion for liking or rejecting a cafe!
It’s a nice name and it’s a place I like to go and eat. They have lots of vegetarian options and most important of all they have the only (as far as I know) vegetarian menu for lunchtime in Granollers. It costs 9 euros and has three courses with a drink and pudding. There is a large salad bar and soup for starters, then a choice between three vegetarian main meals, and lastly a pudding which includes the wonderful home made cake with cream!
It has always surprised me that the place is full at lunchtime. Not because of anything to do with the food but because to find so many people eating vegetarian food in Granollers is amazing. Would be interesting one day to ask some of them what they like about the place. I have never been to another restaurant in Granollers which has a vegetarian option for the main course let alone three.
The address is Milk Cafe, Carrer Girona 4, Granollers and they serve lunch from 1-3.30pm. It is also open at other times for drinks and snacks and the menu includes the usual tapas and sandwiches for this area.