El Girasol - Murcia, Spain
I'm lucky enough to live in a city where there are so many incredible vegetarian and vegan options that it can almost become overwhelming. Sadly, there are some parts of the world where it can be difficult to find one or two options, where vegetarianism or veganism is still a difficult idea to understand for some or just becoming an emerging trend.
Murcia happens to be one of those cities. Murcia of is an unassuming and interesting place; both, with incredible history and a city filled with traditions and customs. There is a large Easter procession, a bullfighting arena, stunning architecture, fertile lands and farms with kind and friendly people. The birthplace of Ibn 'Arabi one of the most notable Sufi masters of all time, " Choose less over more in it. Be satisfied with what you have, even if it is less than what others have. In fact, prefer to have less." and of Francisco Salzillo whose work included a life-size version the last supper called La Cena (or La Ultima Cena) which is truly remarkable.
For a city of only about 500,000 people there is so much to see and to experience and for some of that you have to dig a little deeper, to walk off the main streets of let yourself just enjoy the experience.
I'm going to focus a bit on El Girasol. A vegetarian/vegan restaurant that is unexpectedly remarkable.
Walking in you are immediately greeted with a busy but yet amazingly calm and kind owner/host/waitress. The menu rotates on a weekly basis and is a four course menu. There is the salad bar, with a large selection of items to create your own special salad, along with an appetizer or soup, the main and a dessert. Even the most hungry will be satisfied when done eating here. There are some very creative dishes like lavender beet soup and some more standard but excellent fare like apple crumble.
What stood out to me more than just the amazing food, was the pride in each dish. We were a group of about 8 or 9 people, the food came out at exactly the right speed and all came out looking brilliantly. There weren't any shortcuts or long delays, which can be commonplace with large groups, there wasn't any sloppy platting or unappetizing parts to the food, that alone is a feat.
Normally I would address each individual dish, what I liked about or what I didn't like about it. Instead, I'm going to include a little slide show, I don't know what each dish was or what was the main ingredients of each dish but I can tell you honestly there wasn't a single dish that wasn't truly fantastic.