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An excellent vegetarian restaurant, especially in Barcelona, is always a welcome surprise. Green Spot is a sleekly designed and professionally run, upscale vegetarian eatery between the city’s Ribera and Barceloneta neighbourhoods. Dubbed “veggies for veggies and veggies for non-veggies”, the food at Green Spot is full of bold seasoning and substance. The creative cocktails and juices serve as a warm invitation to launch your meal, and the addition of live music during dinner (Thursdays) is an unexpected bonus.
The restaurant decor itself is certainly worth mentioning—a gorgeous and instantly welcoming space designed by world-famous Brazilian architect and interiorist Isay Weinfeld. The classy mood lighting and assortment of unique fixtures, the broad expanses of natural wood panels, the sturdy furniture and the lush interior ‘greenhouse’ conspire to create a hushed, cosy environment where diners are undistracted and unmolested by neighbouring tables. Imagine dining in a stylish, Scandinavian library, with your own personal desk lamp illuminating the table as you eat.
The service offered by Green Spot’s denim-clad waiting staff is friendly, though my phone request for a Friday night table was immediately denied (“fully booked”), only to have my girlfriend call back 10 minutes later and be told that we could come at 10pm and have a drink while we wait for a table to open up. The wait wasn’t long as we lounged on the plush, upholstered sofas in the centre of the dining room, which form a semicircle around a massive, rustic wooden coffee table, loaded with hip indie magazines and potted plants.
Our pizza did not disappoint. In fact, it pained me to share it, as I could have eaten every slice myself.
Overall, the food was delicious, though I do feel that in some instances the same food served in a less beautiful space would have made for a less impressive meal. That being said, I enjoyed my first experience at Green Spot so much that I went back again just two weeks later. The first visit began with intriguing dishes such as fennel braised in orange juice with spicy chillies and sunflower seeds (a dairy-free dish that cleverly emulated the richness of butter with a sauce base of deeply caramelised onions), lemony red quinoa-stuffed grape leaves (dolmades), and a peppery salad of watercress with red berry vinaigrette, crunchy ice plant leaves, grapes and grilled Halloumi cheese. All of these dishes offered surprises, and I really couldn’t get enough of the salad (I even tried to recreate it at home the next day).
Green Spot has become well-known for its wood-fired vegetarian and vegan pizzas, many made with activated charcoal and hemp doughs (the hemp dough still contains wheat flour too), and our pizza of asparagus, kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes and smoky scamorza cheese did not disappoint. In fact, it pained me to share it, as I could have eaten every slice myself.
The ‘chilli sin carne’ vegetarian chilli was adequate, though not something I would repeat. It was served in the style of a do-it-yourself taco platter, with thin and chalky flour tortillas, which reminded me more of the Chinese pancakes that come with Peking duck than the chewier Latin American variety. The condiments were nice, especially the corn salsa, and I liked that they brought bottles of habanero and Valentina salsas to the table, but I just didn’t care for the texture or the flavour of the chilli itself.
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On our second visit to Green Spot, we tried the aubergine and courgette tacos, which were served in a similar fashion to the chilli dish, though this time the tortillas were the traditional corn variety. I would have loved this dish if it wasn’t for the dried-out and torn tortillas. The taco filling was a delicious stew of vegetables with a touch of Chipotle and plenty of achiote for a bright red colour. The grilled pineapple garnish was great, as was the fresh tomato and corn salsa (same as the chilli). I can’t be certain, but the corn tortillas looked store-bought, which is a shame since the dish would have been superb in a softer, more tender wrapper.
Dessert at Green Spot sounds appealing in theory, but neither the Lemon Pie (great flavour but not enough lemon filling compared to the amount of crust), nor the Rhubarb Crumble (again, excellent flavour but this time very watery) blew me away. The Carrot Cake was very moist and satisfying, though it almost bordered on a savoury dish with its vegan cashew icing, blend of spices and lack of sweetness.
Overall, I was impressed with this restaurant and would recommend it to anyone looking for a vegetarian meal in Barcelona that is well above average, especially if you are dining with regular meat eaters, as although the dishes contain no meat, they never fail to satisfy. I’m sure to be back...again.