Tarragona was another of our day trips from Barcelona. It promised to be another old walled city, this time with the added bonus of the sea! It’s a lovely train ride between the two cities, hugging the coast line and looking out at the dazzling turquoise water.
This time we were looking for something a bit different from the usual cathedral/castle: we were going to see the Roman amphitheatre. It was €3.40 to enter, so we thought we might as well. You don’t need a lot of time to explore it, but it’s fun to climb the ancient seats and roam around the grounds talking like Russel Crowe in Gladiator.
And progressing from the amphitheatre to the old town and cathedral will take you right past Tarragona’s only 100% vegan restaurant, right on the main thoroughfare: El Vergel. It’s a perfect location and, I have to say, a perfect place.
We’d made a reservation for opening time at 1pm, and were shown straight to our little table by the window. The whole restaurant was so charming: really light and spacious, with pretty floor tiles and artwork. All of the dishes are translated into English on the menu, and service was very friendly and relaxed – we weren’t rushed at all. By the time we left it was absolutely packed, so I’d recommend booking if you’re heading this way.
There were about four choices for each course, and we both chose the same starter. We try to avoid that, but what choice do you have when there’s arancini on the menu?! They were so good and crispy on the outside, and full of delicious rice and spinach. The accompanying tomato chutney was good too. This was a huge portion, more like a main than starter. But who’s complaining when it’s this good?
For the mains, Dr HH chose the pflammkuchen: a kind of pizza with an extremely thin and crispy base, topped with a creamy concoction and a bit of cheese, and generously distributed bacon soy chunks. He gobbled it up and said it was very good and salty.
I got the leek, apple and cream cheese puff pastry parcel. I love pastry so much, there was no way this could be bad. The pastry was good and flaky, the filling was creamy and delicious, even the salad leaves were well-seasoned. I was very happy indeed.
Dr HH opted for the cherry pie for dessert. As amazing as it looks, he described it merely as: “pretty good.” He declared the pastry base excellent, particularly the crust, but said the pistachio praline cream on top was a bit too sweet. There was a nice flavour from the cherries though.
I got the very fancy-sounding savarin with red berries. Alas, is was basically a fruit muffin. It was a good fruit muffin, but I probably wouldn’t have chosen it had I not been lured in by a fancy word. The white chocolate cream on top really elevated it though.
It was €13.50 each for three courses, a little bread basket and a refillable conical flask of water (free tap water remains quite the treat in Europe). We were enjoying ourselves so much we even stayed for a brew at the end.
This was one of the nicest restaurants and best meals not just of the holiday in Spain, but of this year so far. If you’re in Barcelona, get yourself to Tarragona and don’t forget to book your table!