Last week, I shared my ideas about the best neighborhoods for solo female travelers in Barcelona. In my notes about El Raval, I mentioned one of my favorite restaurants in Barcelona: Teresa Carles.
I learned about Teresa Carles from the tourist information stand in Placa Catalunya. I was asking about the local vegetarian and vegan scene, and she said that Teresa Carles was famous for its plant-based foods. Also, it was only a couple of blocks away. I was sold.
I was a little bit worried when I walked into the restaurant, because it was pretty early for lunch and it already looked absolutely packed. Fortunately, Teresa Carles sets aside two large tables (each seating eight or ten people) for solo diners to eat together. I took my seat at the communal table, greeted the other people (mostly local businessmen) and perused the menu.
Although Teresa Carles has an expansive à la carte menu, I was more interested in ordering from its menu of weekly specials. Each month, the restaurant publishes a week-by-week menu featuring a variety of starters, main courses and deserts that you can piece together into your perfect plant-based meal. Everything on the menu is vegetarian, and the vegan and gluten-free options are clearly labeled.
I opted for a two-course lunch with organic wine, which costs about €15. First up was my generous pour of house red, served alongside a bottle of their filtered water.
A few minutes later I was served my starter. The menu always offers a choice of soup or salad, and I chose the salad because it contained calçots, a seasonal specialty in Catalonia. Similar to green onions, but less potent, these local treats are only available from November until March. In true Catalan spirit, the calçots (and their veggie friends) were all dressed in a creamy romesco sauce.
My main course came quickly after my starter. The menu sorts featured main dishes into vegetables, legumes, grains, simple pasta and stuffed pasta. I chose the legume dish, which was a tofu-based patty garnished with fresh tomato sauce, greens and pesto.
I loved this dish because it was the perfect portion size and it wasn’t too heavy with starchy carbohydrates. The tomato sauce and pesto were especially flavorful.
I was tempted to indulge in a dessert dish before I left. At Teresa Carles, desserts are organized into cakes, fruits and yogurt-based dishes, and I have a hard time saying no to cake… unless I’m running late. Unfortunately that was the case, and I had to grab my bill and head out without trying their amazing desserts (or stunning fresh juices).
If you’re already tempted, plan your trip to Teresa Carles now! They’re located two blocks southwest of Placa Catalunya, at Carrer de Jovellanos, 2, and they are open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Teresa Carles also recommends their favorite local businesses, including nearby accommodation options. If you’re looking for an upscale hotel in the neighborhood, they suggest checking out Regina Hotel, which combines “timeless smartness and contemporary design”. For travelers on a tighter budget, they suggest Hotel Room Mate Pau, where the front desk agent holds all of the city’s secrets… and he might just share some with you!
Do you have a favorite restaurant in Barcelona? Share it in the comments!