A Barcelona food blog
It’s a rare day when I will sing exaltations about a chain of fast food outlets. I’m no fan of the generally poor quality, low nutritional content food they churn out and the excessive waste packaging eating at them often produces. I also hate how the evolution of chains, food or otherwise, has homogenised many town and city high streets, especially in the UK. Luckily Spain seems to have resisted being engulfed by them thus far but they are here and it’s a creeping process, one I’m sure will continue.
However, maybe it was the Pope being in town this weekend, but I’m feeling all evangelical and am going to praise Maoz the falafel and salad bar which is a stones throw from the Boquería on the Rambla and their other branch a short walk away on C/Ferran. Maybe this is the first thing I like about it, that in this vast city there are only two of them, they’re not clogging up every street corner, although there’s no shortage of kebab shops and falafel in some neighbourhoods.
So why do I like Maoz? Firstly, and most importantly the food is good and what they offer is simple. Falafel. I’ve seen them make them on the premises, not empty a bag of frozen ones into the fryer. You can choose them in a salad bowl or in a pitta. Go for the wholemeal integral option as my one criticism of this place is that the bread is not great, the wholemeal far exceeds the white choice. If you fancy some houmous or feta cheese in with your nuggets you just have to ask. Then the best bit, the salad. When they’ve popped your pieces of falafel in the pitta or dish then it’s over to you.
In front of you lies a selection of salad accompaniments and you can have a limitless amount, best to eat in if you fancy doing this though, too many times I’ve dashed through from a language class to the train to work, my eyes having been bigger than my belly and precariously balanced a mountain of salad up the street. There’s something for everyone on the salad bar: taboulleh, tomato and cucumber salad, sun dried tomatoes, mixed olives, chickpea salad, coleslaw, aubergine salad, sauces, green peppers and my favourite, the moreish fried, slightly spiced cauliflower. And that’s not a exhaustive list.If that lot doesn’t satisfy your hunger they do serve fries and there’s a selection of soft drinks, fruit juice and cans of cerveza. All the above in a ‘meal deal’ is around 5€. The unlimited salad bar alone is also an option for around 3€.
I checked the nutrition information on their website, convinced they must have something to hide. Where were all those transfats, extra calories hidden in their salad like that other mega-chain McDonald’s? Well, thankfully they don’t seem to be there. Another big thumbs up.
Having lots of vegetarian friends who are going to be visitors at some point, I am often trying to absorb places they’ll be able to eat in this decidely limited vegetarian option city. I’m not saying places don’t exist but unless you want to live on bread, cheese and tortilla sandwiches it can be a difficult place to eat, especially on the move. Maoz is a haven for vegetarians and vegans.
So, are there any downsides? Well, the location means you have to be very vigilant with your belongings whilst you’re ordering and eating, this tourist mecca part of town is rampant with theft, but that’s no fault of Maoz and they do have a warning notice displayed. The other is that this is a small eatery and there are few seats to sit and enjoy your food and take advantage of returning to that salad-fest, the other branch on C/Ferran has even fewer places to park your bottom. However, they don’t appear to commit many sins, hallelujah.
Maoz, La Rambla 95 and C/Ferran 13, Barri Gotic – Non smoking.