Vegan Survival Tips for Maó (Mahon), Menorca: Restaurante Pizzeria Roma

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated July 10, 2013. (I deleted inactive/selected links on November 28, 2021.)

I mostly publish reviews of vegetarian and vegan restaurants on this website, but there are no vegetarian restaurants on the island of Menorca. The reviews of several non-vegetarian restaurants located on this Spanish island are meant primarily as survival tips, as no vegan comes to Menorca for the food.

Dining out during our vacation was always a challenge. We had to pass on many restaurants, as they didn’t have even a single vegan dish on the menu. We chose to eat at Restaurante Pizzeria Roma, as all Italian restaurants offer at least one vegan dish: Spaghetti aglio et olio (spaghetti with oil and garlic). Add a mixed salad, and you have a proper meal.

© Ingrid Haunold

Restaurante Pizzeria Roma does indeed offer garlic spaghetti with chili peppers (6.00 Euros including tax), and a mixed salad (5.80 Euros), although I didn’t order either. There aren’t many (possibly) vegan items on the menu (garlic bread, bruschetta, grilled vegetables, grilled mushrooms – hopefully all prepared with oil, not lard -, and fruit), but as a vegan you learn to keep your expectations low when dining out at non-vegetarian restaurants.

However, at Restaurante Pizzeria Roma we got lucky. They offer a wide selection of pizze, which they make fresh on site. I was told they even make their own dough. They also don’t mind if you order your pizza without the cheese.

If this doesn’t sound as if it’s a big deal, it actually is! We had dinner a few days later at another Italian restaurant, and I could not order pizza without cheese. I’m not sure why that was not possible. My best guess would be that they prepare the pizze in advance at that restaurant, freeze them, and then just pop them in the oven when someone orders a pizza. Not all Italian restaurants on Menorca give you the option to order pizza without cheese. Check with the waiter and make sure that this is actually an option, so you won’t end up eating (once again) pa amb oli –  or bruschetta in Italian restaurants.

I ordered a Pizza Capricciosa with tomatoes, oregano, onions, capers, mushrooms, olives, and artichokes (9.50 Euros, incl. tax). The pizza dough was great – thin and cripsy – and all in all, I quite liked the pizza. The onions were pre-boiled, though, which was rather unusual and something I could have done without. Onions taste so much better, if they are put on a pizza raw and then baked with the rest of the vegetables. I also could’ve done without the capers. It’s not that I don’t like them, there were just too many different flavours on the pizza for my taste. But that’s an individual preference. I could have ordered any pizza on the menu that I wanted – minus the cheese – so there were many vegan options available to me. That’s rare for a Menorcan restaurant.

The waiter also brought me a bottle of chili oil to drizzle on the pizza, which was very thoughtful. Cheese means fat, and fat always enhances flavours. It would’ve never occurred to me to spice up my pizza with flavoured vegetable oils, but I’ve quite taken to this idea, and now add a little bit of oil whenever I make vegan pizza at home. Beware: that chili oil was very hot.

The waiter at the restaurant spoke German, which was nice, as I was able to explain to him what it actually means to be a vegan. Not many Spaniards speak English well (few speak German), and that can lead to problems when ordering food at restaurants. I always felt a lot more at ease at restaurants where the waiter spoke English well, or some German.

Something else was nice at Restaurante Pizzeria Roma. Unlike many other restaurants on Moll de Llevant in the harbour district, they don’t wall off their tables on the sidewalk with “plastic curtains.” At this restaurant, you’re actually able to enjoy the fresh air – you’ll sit only a few feet away from the Mediterranean sea – and that is wonderful.

Restaurante Pizzeria Roma has its own website (an English version is available). You can download the menu (also in English) from their site, and check out the food and drinks (1/2 litre of mineral water was 2.30 Euros, incl. tax) in advance.

Address: Moll de Llevant 295, 07702 Maó, Menorca

Opening hours: daily 12:30 PM to midnight.

Phone: +34 – 971 – 353 777

Website: This website is no longer active – the restaurant may have gone out of business.

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