On a recent visit to Spain, I got a chance to stop by the capital – one I jumped at, of course. The warm, breezy air of Madrid in September was a welcome change from my hometown of Hamburg. But of course, the weather wasn’t the only thing I liked. Among the buzzing atmosphere, culturally rich entertainment scene and stunning architecture, I was surprised to find a lot of vegan restaurants, cafés and stores. In the city, that sadly still sticks to the bloody tradition of bullfighting, this feels like the winds of change are blowing.
The first location I visited and the one, that took my heart by storm, was Rayén Vegano. I came here for lunch and had a mouth-watering gazpacho with celery and apples, served with homemade bread and olive oil. For dessert, I tried a muffin with chocolate filling, that was so fluffy and delicious, I would have loved to eat ten more. After this first meal at Rayén, I couldn’t resist to come back the next morning to try their breakfast. I had a sandwich with a vegan version of serrano, a traditional Spanish ham, a healthy juice and a coffee with almond milk. And again, everything was beyond delicious. Honestly, I am still dreaming of this yummy food!
I think the main reason, why the meals in this restaurant are pure magic is the passion of its owners. Noemi, a Sicilian yoga teacher, and her boyfriend Paulo, a Chilean artist, share the love for organic, plant-based seasonal products and I could taste this in every single bite. Since they have opened in 2013, they have only used the best vegetables, fruits and grains from local farmers. Their menu changes with the seasons of the year and is inspired by all the wonderful treasures that Mother Nature has to offer. Their creations are the best proof that a vegan diet is full of colours and flavours, and goes beyond the typical perceptions of salad and tofu. “We have non-vegan guests that come and eat with us up to three times a week and some people actually went vegan after being here and talking to us”, says Noemi.
What I also really loved was the warm atmosphere, created by the presence of little details such little vases on every table, a black cat painted over the entrance of the kitchen and beautiful Sanskrit quotes printed on the walls. Rayén Vegano was my favourite place in Madrid and I highly recommend a visit. Noemi also gave me some vegan shopping tips and would certainly be more than glad to welcome you in her vegan happy place.