Barcelona Vegetarian Restaurants

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Gente de Pasta

Just as important as the vegetarian-friendly restaurants in Barcelona, are the vegetarian non-friendly ones.

Today I went to Gente de Pasta for the lunchtime menu del dia. Now as it is just round the corner from my house and the fact that I have visited on many occasion, I didn't expect any problems. However, as I arrived outside and quickly scanned the menu, expecting a salad for starters and a pasta dish for main course, I soon realised there was no vegetarian option for first course.

Now I have to say that even in the most non-vegetarian restaurants in Barcelona, they are nearly always more than happy to make an exception for vegetarians and if no option exists, they will quickly knock you up a green salad to start followed by the ubiquitous tortilla con patatas.

So I thought I'd better check and asked the lady. It soon became apparent that I was in for a struggle. I was informed that if I wanted to have a green salad for starters, I'd have to choose from the 'carta' (main menu).

The whole object of a menu del dia (lunchtime menu) is that they prepare a number of starters and main courses, which due to economies of scale, provide a fast and easy way to feed the masses without having to get into the minor details of a cacophony of choices from the carta. The outcome of this is a cheap lunch.

So when it was suggested that I have a salad from the main menu, I looked at the prices and found that the starter would have cost the same as the entire menu del dia price. So I tried to appeal to the waitress's good nature to make an exception out of the kindness of her heart and just knock me up a simple green salad - I'm sure it can't be that much hassle. I was wrong, and ended up eating elsewhere.

All I am saying is that if a restaurant has no veggie option, don't assume they will be as kind and giving as they often are - check first, so you don't have to sit down, get comfy, start ordering, only to either find out you'll be paying double the price of everyone else, or that you have to get up and go some place else.

So, for the price of making a simple green salad, they lost 2 peoples' business. Perhaps that's why they call it Gente de pasta.


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