12 March 2012

vegan in córdoba

if sevilla was the land of oranges, córdoba was the land of geraniums.  gorgeous pops of potted colour everywhere!

cordoba was a bit of a switch up from seville.  in seville i had gotten myself used to spanish time, but soon after arriving we realized the city {or at least the old centre where we were staying} seemed to be a bit more on "tourist time".  the city seemed to come alive much earlier in the day and restaurants were filling up a bit earlier in the evening.  this led to the low point on our trip.  {cue ominous music.}

as we wandered the darkened cobblestone streets we felt like some places were actually closing up for the night - and we had yet to find a spot for dinner!  i am not a pleasant gal to be around if i miss dinner {m can surely attest to this}, so in a moment of panic we settled on a seemingly okay tapas bar.  i was pulled in by the promise of champiñones al ajillo, mushrooms sauteed with garlic, olive oil & lemon juice and typically seasoned with fresh parsley, salt and freshly ground pepper and served with crusty bread to mop up the juices.  we should have known something was wrong when the patatas bravas arrived and we found ourselves looking at a plate of french fries.  when the mushrooms arrived?  i found myself peering into a bowl of slimy, grey, sliced, tinned mushrooms!  blech! they were horrible!  but the worst part is that i know they were horrible because i was so hungry that i ate some of them!  

we couldn't get out of there fast enough, and quickly retreated to our hotels rooftop to gorge on red wine and larabars.  it's funny now, but at the time i had completely given up on spanish cuisine.  thankfully, each day is the chance for a fresh start.

we began ours in the early hours of the morning when a visit to the Mezquita is free.  groups aren't allowed in at this time of day and all visitors are meant to observe in silence.  mmmm, it was magical.  the seemingly endless brick & plaster arches were both breathtaking and hypnotizing.

the inner courtyard and gardens are free to enjoy any time of day, so we found ourselves coming back a few times to sit in the sun and wander through the orange trees.  it's so beautiful and serene, especially if you could find a little spot away from the tourbus crowds. 


after we took it all in we left on a mission - a mission for greens!

i had a serious hankering for greens so we found a great little covered market and stocked up on some lunch fixings: tomatoes, avocado, olives, fresh bread & the biggest, most gorgeous head of escarole i had ever seen.  people must have thought i was crazy as i wandered the streets eating handfuls of it!

for lunch we retreated to our rooftop and prepared one of the best sandwiches i've ever had.  it could have been the fresh heirloom tomatoes, it could have been the spanish sunshine, or it could have been that i was comparing it too the previous night's mega fail, but it was awesome.  córdoba had officially redeemed herself.

onward to dinner at amaltea, again recommended by both our lonely planet and happycow.  the resaturant was down by the river and full of roomy tables, dim lighting and brightly coloured walls.  we enjoyed the dedicated attention of the staff {we were the only ones there!} and shared our way through dishes again. 

to start we had cold couscous salad with raisins, cashews, pomegranate and mint.  following that, our salad was a big pile of mixed greens {hurray for more greens!} with dates, more cashews and avocado scooped out with a melon-baller.  this was all topped with a very sweet vinaigrette.  for our main we went with a fresh vegan pasta drenched in pesto with pinenuts and big grilled artichokes. 

it was all so good and my only regret is that we were too full for dessert!  i still can't believe we were the only ones there on a thursday night.  it must have been a fluke, because amaltea is wonderful.

the following day before catching our bus to granada, i took in one last blast of sun and caffeine and waved goodbye to córdoba.

my top 2 picks for vegan-friendly eats in córdoba:
el mercado for fresh fruits & veggies in the plaza de la corredera
amaltea for dinner on ronda de isasa {restaurant with many vegetarian and vegan options}

i'm a little sad to have had only 2 picks for córdoba - have you been?  if so and you found some other great spots that i missed, let me know in the comments!


  1. Mezquita looks absolutely gorgeous! I'm glad you were able to redeem your prior night's meal at Amaltea. The food sounds wonderful.

  2. Beautiful! May I please challenge you to recreate the couscous salad with raisins, cashews & pomegranate? It sounds delicious and I know you could make it stunning and delicious!

    Didn't you just love the grounds of the Mezquita?

  3. Thank you Jess! I am loving your Spain posts!


  4. You retreated to your rooftop? To your rooftop??? And you guys came back because....? :) Man, I am so jealous. Oh, and could you get any cuter, by the way? Seriously.

    1. i know, how i would love my very own rooftop terrace here... although my neighbourhood views would so not be the same! and stop it with the compliments, will ya, i'm blushing over here!

  5. Your salad from the market sounds so fresh and delicious! Boy, Spain is gorgeous. I would love to go back!