One of the first fully vegan restaurants in Madrid, Rayen Vegano, is found in the charming literary neighborhood Barrio de las Letras. It’s just a moments walk from the beautiful Plaza Santa Ana; this area was a favorite corner of Ernest Hemingway back in the day. Nowadays this area shines brightly in stark contrast to his dark and bloody hunts, much in thanks to Rayen Vegano.
They preach and serve kindness and compassion, and with two daily lunch seatings which are generally booked solid, you can say they’re as much a success story as ol’ Papa himself.
It feels like stopping by your talented friend’s house for lunch; homey furnishings, modest flower decorations, and handwritten chalkboard signs. The pantry is in the dining room, with bio and eco ingredients peeking out from behind lattice.
Also like visiting a friend, the menu is fairly set – with two options for each course. Maddy and I both ordered different menus so we could try everything on offer.
I began with a ginger and lemon infused kombucha and Maddy started with a cardamom water. Both were light and refreshing and made me yearn for the wintry weather outside to lift its veil and give us a glimpse of Spring.
The starters were beautifully plated. First a quinoa burger patty made from corn, carrots, fried onion, and sautéed veg was served with a side of massaged kale in a creamy citrus dressing. The garnish of a shaved beet chip added a nice earthy crunch to the soft texture of the patty.
My starter was a winter vegetable puree served with a side of homemade bread with plenty of seeds for added vitamins and fats. Naturally, the slices were drizzled in Spanish olive oil.
We couldn’t help but notice how popular the spot is, even during weekday lunch hour. Though we had reservations many people popped in, sneaking in with just enough time to dine before the second lunch seating.
My main dish was a nicely layered lasagna with cashew ricotta. Thinly sliced and roasted veg balanced nicely with the cashew cream served on the side. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was jealous when Maddy’s entree was served.
He bravely chose the lentil curry — he’s quite allergic to any spice, so he was definitely nervous to try — and he was so rewarded for the choice. This beautifully plated dish combined traditional curry flavors with local, fresh, in-season produce and paired with a wild rice pilaf. The piece de resistance was the dehydrated carrot which added a beautiful flair and a very fun touch to the plate. Hands down, it was our favorite thing we tried at Rayen Vegano!
Dessert came in the form of personal mini-cakes, something so adorable it could have come from an Easy Bake oven. Maddy went with the classic chocolate and I devoured my banana nut muffin with a delicious soy latte. Though it’s not a spot to curl up with a notepad and scribble away the afternoon as Hemingway himself might have liked to do, it’s certainly an apt spot to nourish your body and soul gently. After all, that is the future of food…
For more about their philosophy check out their website. To dine, you will find them at Calle Lope de Vega 7, but I highly recommend making reservations at 675382072 or via their Facebook page, here. Our thanks to Rayen Vegano for hosting us for lunch!