Vegetarians have an easy time of it in Madrid and Barcelona -- both cities support a number of vegetarian restaurants. Even tapas bars offer some respite (though not for vegans) in the form of potato omelettes, cheeses, and bread items such as the tasty Catalonian pan con tomate.
Two recommended Madrid eateries:
Chez Pomme (Calle Pelayo #4, located in the funky Chueca neighborhood; lunch 13:30 - 16:00; dinner 20:30 - 23:30, Mon - Sat, tel. 91-532-1646). We each had a fine menu del dia (1,000 pesetas, appetizer-and-main-course) lunch. I started with the savory lentil soup, followed by a plate of rice and vegetables. Chris enjoyed his starter bowl of refreshing avocado soup.
Rick's recommended Artemisa II (we dined at the branch off Plaza Carmen) made for a tasty dinner. Artemisa also offers three meat dishes (my carnivore friend enjoyed the chicken cutlet).
In Barcelona, try the popular Comme Bio (Via Laietana #28; lunch 13:00 - 16:00; dinner 20:00 - 23:00, daily; tel. 93-319-89-68), which shares space with a health-food store. The dining space is large and stylish. I loved the menu del dia (soup, salad bar, main course, dessert for 1,785 pesetas). The menu also included several inexpensive combo plates.
Homesick for a really good bagel? The Bagel Shop (Carrer de la Canuda #25; open 9:30 - 20:30) will satisfy your hunger. I ordered my sesame bagel Catalan-style: spread with sliced tomato and drizzled with olive oil and salt. Their fresh-squeezed orange juice was fantastic.
I found the "Let's Go," "Lonely Planet," and "Time Out" guidebooks to be the best resources for information on vegetarian dining options in Spain. Eating in Europe would be difficult without them. Tom Los Angeles, CA USA 06/01/00
"Gaudí Afternoon" movie set in Barcelona