Best New Vegetarian Friendly Restaurant in Madrid

I am very excited to bring you my review of Honest Greens, the best new vegetarian-friendly restaurant in Madrid. In less than a week, they have swiftly raised the plant-based bar to an impressively high level in the city. We’re talking gorgeous and creative dishes that are vibrant in color, complex in flavor and celebrate vegetables on every plate. Behind the sophistication of their culinary creations is a traditionally trained chef who excels at “making healthy delicious.”

Día de prueba, hecho…te esperamos en #honestgreens a partir de mañana!

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Honest Greens is not strictly plant-based, they specialize in meats too; however, they boast a vegetable-centric menu. I am always on the look-out for places that us vegetarians and vegans in Madrid can enjoy alongside our meat-eating friends. This is my new go-to spot that will satisfy everyone’s cravings. Amanda Cohen, owner of one of my favorite vegetarian restaurants in NYCDirt Candy says Anyone can cook a hamburger. Leave the vegetables to a professional,” which is exactly what Honest Greens has done.

Vegetarian Friendly Restaurant in Madrid

 

The People Behind Honest Greens

Honest Greens was founded by an international team of three. I was lucky enough to have a chat with two of the founders, Chris from Portland and Chef Ben from France. Chris, a graduate of IE Business School, has a background in restaurants and has been living in Barcelona for over a decade. Ben is a classically trained chef,  self-proclaimed meat-lover and the creative mind behind the menu. His impressive culinary background includes working for some of the best restaurants in the world: Harrods Ladurée, La CabreraCasamérica, and stages at El Celler de Can Roca, Mugaritz, and Noma (Michelin-star).

Productos frescos ✅ la sonrisa contagiosa del Chef Ben ✅ ganas de abrir ✅ Sólo 2 días más!

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During our conversation, both Chris and Ben were oozing with excitement and pride as they summarized the history, concept, and evolving menu of Honest Greens. I nibbled on a variety of dishes, a wild coco quinoa salad with tofu, some falafel, and a vegan poke salad while they explained that Chef Ben needed a bit of coaxing to get on board with the vegetable-centric themed restaurant.  Ben said, and it’s no secret, that vegetables in the culinary world don’t receive the same respect as meat. Looking at his culinary trajectory, a vegetable cuisine restaurant wasn’t the most logical leap from working in some of world’s best meat-based restaurants. With his experience and expertise in meat, he had doubts that he was the right chef for this veggie-based concept. Fast forward to now…and Chef Ben is as contagiously enthusiastic about the endless creative possibilities of vegetables as he is with meat.  

 

The Concept

Eat Good. Feel Good. Do Good. These are Honest Greens’ values and are manifested through their seasonal dishes that nourishes the mind, body, and community. Compared to other major cities, Madrid is behind the curve when it comes to plant-based options. So opening a restaurant whose concept revolves around seasonal*, locally sourced*, and organic* produce in a culinary carnivorous capital, might be seen as risky- and expensive. However, given the reception they have had in their first week, it looks like they are well on their way to thriving. They are even talking about opening a second location in Madrid. Honest Greens’ mission is to make healthy living easier and accessible to all. Even with a menu that is committed to “real food, always fresh, never processed, no additives, preservatives, or added sugars”, their prices are extremely affordable.

*based on availability

Vegetarian Friendly Restaurant in Madrid

 

The Food  

Whether you adhere to a vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, paleo, or meat-eating diet, Honest Greens has healthy, hearty, and delicious options for you. Their menu is clearly marked to show which dishes are suitable for each dietary need. Both lunch and dinner have the same offerings: Market Plates and Garden Bowls.

  • Market Plates – A choice between homemade falafel or black pepper tofu (meat options available for carnivores) which is accompanied by a small salad mix, dressed with pesto and a slice of their organic bread. Gluten-free and Paleo diets can substitute bread for a double portion of salad.  Hot or cold side dishes can be added for an additional 2€. The side dishes are on display and they all look delectable which makes choosing just one or two almost impossible. These are some of the current sides offered: coleslaw, beet salad, baba ganoush, hummus, roasted pumpkin, baked cauliflower, baked sweet potato, and organic kale.

    Vegetarian Friendly Restaurant in Madrid
  • Garden Bowls – These are Honest Greens’ vegetarian power-packed salads.  It is suggested to add either the homemade falafel or black pepper tofu (meat options available for carnivores) to complete the meal.  To give you an idea of how power-packed these salads are here’s the description of the Wild Coco Quinoa salad I ordered: organic arugula and kale, quinoa, wild rice, zucchini (courgette), baked plum, broccoli, cabbage, feta, spicy almonds and Chef Ben’s signature lime, cilantro, coconut dressing. With names like Spicy Kale, Avocado Supergreen, Ginger-Honey Goat Cheese, Peanut-Chili Lentils, and Sesame Greens expect much more than the typical lettuce and tomato salad. 

The Vegan “Poke” Salad I tasted is the “Salad of the Month” in May, along with its fish version. Poke is a Hawaiian raw fish salad, however Chef Ben has creatively substituted raw fish for roasted watermelon. It’s beautiful, tasty, and filling. He is also working on a vegan ceviche and ensured that all salad dressings will now be vegan. Instead of yogurt, they’ll use cashew nuts, coconut milk, and cooked chickpea for texture and flavor. Vegans rejoice! The menu is becoming even more vegan-friendly with their new additions.

Save room for dessert. All desserts are sugar-free and gluten-free. Depending on where you stand on the vegan spectrum, desserts are not 100% vegan as they contain honey.

 

The Drinks

In alignment with their values, Honest Greens does not service Coca-Cola or sodas for that matter. If you need a caffeine or sugar boost, choose from their organic, fair-trade, specialty coffees or their refreshing infused waters. They also carry their own brand of cold pressed juices, 6 unique flavors for only 5-6. If you’re in the mood for an alcoholic beverage, they have a nice selection of wine and beer.

Breakfast on the go thanks to @honestgreens 1kg of pure fruit and veg should keep us going till lunch!

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Honest Greens

Where: Paseo de la Castellana, 89 *located next to Lateral

Metro: Santiago Bernabeu and Nuevos Ministerios

Hours: Sunday – Thursday1:00 pm to 4:30pm and 8:00pm to midnight. Friday and Saturday they are open until 1:00 am.

Price: Market Plates and Garden Bowls start at 6,90

What to expect: To keep costs down and in turn keep prices affordable, Honest Greens does not have traditional table service. Place your order at the counter (the staff is very friendly and happy to give you suggestions), receive a buzzer, pick-up your utensils, and find a table. A staff member will bring your order to you.

What else?: Try their hummus! It changes weekly and is one of their top guarniciones, a.k.a. sides. There is also an inviting terraza (picture below) where you can enjoy your lunch or dinner. 

Follow Honest Greens on Instagram 

Así te esperamos este fin de semana en #honestgreens 🌱

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Check out Honest Greens and let us know what you think about the Best New Vegetarian Friendly Restaurant in Madrid!

 

8 thoughts on “Best New Vegetarian Friendly Restaurant in Madrid

  1. As a meat-based dieter, I’m a bit put off by the word “greens” in the name, but if you say it’s good I’ll go, Cepee. 🙂

    1. Well, at least they are honest about it. Meat-eaters should know what they are getting into here!

  2. I was totally put off by the name until i tried it….i have been back 5 times in under 2 weeks! #addicted

    1. Haha, what is it with people and greens?? 😛 I’ve only been twice and hopefully can make it again tomorrow night for your event!

  3. Super glad to read your review on this Cepee! Super thorough and informative as always. It has helped me affirm that I don’t need to take a trip out of my way to try it when I’ve read such a comprehensive review. =) To be honest, I’m really confused about the hype around this place from a vegan perspective. They have items labeled vegan on their menu that contain yogurt and honey, showing that they don’t know anything about what being vegan actually means. They also label dishes with cheese and yogurt as “plant-based” – showing they don’t know what plant-based, aka made w/o animal products, means either. It seems like they’re trying to appeal to a wide audience when they should just be upfront and honest about what they are – a more health-focused restaurant that serves some vegetable based dishes, but that aren’t plant-based or vegan at all. Which is 100% and totally fine! But saying items are vegan and plant-based when they simply aren’t doesn’t sit well with me – it’s not very honest, Honest Greens! Haha. There are already so many amazing and innovative vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Madrid where I can get a multi-course vegan menú del día for the same price as a market plate with a side here. Many use all organic and locally sourced produce too.

    It’s also been interesting to see the discussion around Honest Greens from both meat-eaters and vegans. Both groups have been put off by the place because it seems like they’re trying to attract the business of both and not actually appealing to either. I’m sure since they’re new they’re still working out these kinks, but my hunch is that they would do better to appeal to reducetarians and meat-eaters trying to eat healthier rather than the vegan and plant-based world.

    Anyway sorry for the long comment, this has become an essay! Not trying to be negative or anything so I hope it doesn’t come across that way! Just offering my humble vegan opinion and thoughts 😉 I kept seeing your posts pop up on FB and it’s got me thinking about what works, what doesn’t, and that authenticity is so important in any endeavor. People will recognize when businesses are just tuning it in because they believe they can reach a certain customer base or audience. Vegan seems to be a buzzword now that people just want to throw it around, but if it’s not actually vegan it won’t do any good, lol!

    1. Hi Sam! Thanks so much for your comments! You definitely are not alone in your opinion so thank you for sharing. Talking to Honest Greens they let me know at the time that their menu was being updated to accurately reflect their vegan options (for example, substituting yogurt for other non-animal products), so hopefully, this will give a more accurate description of their dishes. Although I agree that they are trying to appeal to a wide audience of healthy eaters, I don’t think they are purposely being dishonest in their offerings. However, they should have ensured that their menu and plates aligned with the labels put on them.

      It is very interesting to see the discussion around Honest Greens, especially from the various hues of the plant-eating community. Honestly, if I had to label myself I’d say I’m a vegetarian (I really dislike labels, they cause a lot of division, but I get how they can be necessary, especially on a restaurant menu) I also call myself a plant-based eater since the majority of what I eat is non-animal; however, I still eat dairy from time-to-time. Given my perspective on these terms, I didn’t even realize that a menu that had items labeled plant-based (that contain honey or dairy) might rub people the wrong way.

      As you can tell, I’m a big fan of their food. For me, Honest Greens offers a celebration of vegetables which I feel is surprisingly lacking from many of the vegetarian restaurants in the city. I see a lot of meat-substitutes, fried stuff, and overuse of cheese out there. This is why I review a lot of mixed (meat + veg) restaurants, as I tend to enjoy their vegetarian/plant-based plates more. However, I need to check out more vegan places since they might have what I am looking for. Good thing I know someone who can keep me posted on all things vegan in Madrid.

      Thanks again for sharing your stance!!

    2. I would be interested if you would name these amazing vegan restaurants you say offer good organic menus? I have found that the few vegan/vegetarian restaurants I have tried in Madrid have been quite poor quality and certainly not organic, for example El Estragón, which I thought was terrible. I find Honest Greens very good and its one of my go to places as its right by my office on the Castellana, together with Health&Go that caters for vegans/vegetarians and has very tasty dishes but is only open at lunchtime.

      1. Hi Carmen! Thanks for stopping by. You’re lucky to have it right by your office, if I lived closer I would definitely be there more often. Btw- have you checked out Alternative Traveler’s blog? They are the go to peeps for vegan eating in Madrid and even have a Vegan Guide to Madrid on Menu del Dias. http://alternativetravelers.com/2017/03/vegan-guide-to-madrid-menus/ Let us know if you have any favorite vegetarian or vegan places in the city. I love discovering new spots!

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