Among 30 finalists and selected by professional juries, Roots & Rolls, a vegan restaurant in Barcelona, Spain, specializing in Asian and Japanese cuisine, has won the Notable and Innovative Venue Award at the fourth edition of the Barcelona Restaurant Awards (Premio Barcelona Restauración).
Organized by Barcelona City Council, this event recognizes and highlights the establishments that have contributed to the community by sharing values such as integration, quality of life, sustainability, innovation, and ability to adapt to changing times. The Notable and Innovative Award recognizes innovation, gastronomic creativity, and sustainability.
Using the “infinite world” of veggies and spices, Roots & Rolls pioneers plant-based sushi in Barcelona. It was established by Sandra de Jong and Erik van Leeuwen in the Dreta l’Eixample district in 2018 to offer everyone a positive and 100% plant-based experience. With its 400 m², the restaurant is considered the city’s largest 100% plant-based restaurant.
Cristian Rojas, the chef behind the restaurant’s “mind-opening gastronomy”, has created a unique range of sushi rolls, makis, and nigiri, surprisingly combining natural ingredients: dill cream cheese with asparagus and pickled carrot or king oyster mushrooms with chimichurri, black rice, sun-dried tomato, and aioli (garlic and oil creamy sauce).
The menu also innovates with a fresh take on vegan salads, ramen, and sides such as gyozas, bao buns, kimchi, and other Asian favorites.
Sustainability and gastronomy
Spain has seen an explosion in plant-based eating, with more than 5 million people following a vegetarian or vegan diet. These figures have encouraged the UK charity Veganuary to launch a chapter in the country.
The plant-based scene in Barcelona has been full of excitement this year. In May, one Burger King location at the Westfield Glories shopping center became a plant-forward popup for the whole month. The second edition of VegFest, Barcelona’s first vegan festival, took place in June. And, recently, Someno’s TOFU Co., a Japanese tofu maker since 1862, opened the company’s first overseas branch, Somenoya, in Barcelona, reporting sturdy growth.
Another example is The Veggie Burger Warriors, a campaign offering 100% vegan burgers in restaurants across Spain for a limited time, launched by the plant-based startups Väcka and Libre Foods, both headquartered in Barcelona.
The co-founder and owner of Roots & Rolls, Sandra de Jong, shared her enthusiasm for the award: “Our journey began with a simple purpose: to make plant-based foods appealing to everyone. With each dish, we strive to demonstrate that sustainability and culinary pleasure can go hand in hand.”