Vegan Survival Tips for es Mercadal, Menorca: Restaurante Las Vegas

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated August 12, 2013. (I could not verify that this restaurant is still in business on 28 November 2021).

Restaurante Las Vegas is located at Carrer Nou, 3, down the street from Dietètica Margarita (at no. 29) in es Mercadal. From the outside, this restaurant doesn’t look very appealing. It’s a bar & restaurant, and the bar at the front of the restaurant looks just like that: a (rather darkly lit) bar. Not very inviting, if you are looking for a place to eat. But don’t let yourself be deterred, and walk past the bar towards the back of the restaurant. The dining room opens onto a small patio (still closed in April), and huge glass windows let in a lot of light.

Restaurante Las Vegas offers a set menu for lunch, unsuitable for vegans, and vegans will end up with the usual: toasted bread and a salad.

They do have a selection of pizze on the menu (posted outside the restaurant), but you cannot order them without cheese. Strange, I know. I wrote about this before in an earlier article – the only explanation I can come up with is that the pizze are prepared in advance, frozen, and then re-heated when ordered. Who knows what they do, but pizza wasn’t an option at Restaurante Las Vegas, and that’s a shame, because it was the reason we chose to eat there in the first place.

© Ingrid Haunold

My only choices were toasted bread a la “escalivada” – smoky grilled vegetables, with aubergines, tomatoes, and onions – and a “mixed salad.” I spoke at length with the waiter, to make sure that the “escalivada” toast was really vegan, and was assured that it was (true). Then I was served my mixed salad with an egg on top.

In my first blog entry about Menorca – Vegan Survival Tips for Menorca, Spain – I advise you to be very specific when you order your food. This is one of the reasons why I want you to be cautious (the other was my experience at Rock & Beer in Maó). It simply didn’t occur to me that a “mixed salad” would contain anything but “salad.” I have to say I was somewhat angry at the waiter, with whom I had discussed my diet requirements just moments earlier. But the Spanish really have no concept of veganism. You’ll frequently find “vegetarian” dishes listed on menus which include fish as an ingredient, and the Spanish also seem to think that eggs grow on trees. To (most of) them, not eating any animal-derived foods is unfathomable.

© Ingrid Haunold

So be very specific when you order any dishes, including salad. You simply cannot ask enough questions before ordering vegan food in Spain. I learned that the hard way.

Anyway, I was served toasted bread a la escalivada – a welcome variation of the ever-present pa amb oli, but quite expensive at 7.50 Euros. I also enjoyed the salad (5.95 Euros) – the photo was taken after I’d given the egg to my dining companion, who – luckily – is an omnivore who loves eggs.

However, the whole purpose of being a vegan is to reduce the consumption of meat, fish, and animal-derived foods. To pass them on to someone else isn’t really an option for vegans who try to live ethically.

So I didn’t go hungry at Restaurante Las Vegas, but the food that I was able to eat wasn’t all that exceptional. At this point in my vacation, I’d simply eaten too much toasted bread already, and I was sick and tired of salads. Restaurante Las Vegas is a survival tip for es Mercadal but not a recommendation. They were open during the off-season in April, they opened early for lunch, and they have a nice patio. That’s it from a vegan’s point of view.

Please note that the restaurant doesn’t have a website.

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