Buenos Aires Vegetarian and Vegan Food

June 27, 2007 by · 14 Comments 

Chicken is a vegetable, right?

The real reason why Argentine chickens cross the road
[Original photo credit: lonecellotheory]

In Buenos Aires, the land of steak, it’s gotta be hard for vegetarians and vegans. After all this is a place where people asking for meat-free options in restaurants will surely hear the waiter offer up dishes with ham or chicken in them, because, after all, they don’t include any carne (beef).

Most people here in Buenos Aires simply cannot comprehend a life without beef, and who could really blame them for this standpoint, when 1. meat is so good in Argentina, and 2. eating beef is so ingrained into daily porteño life. However, if you come to Buenos Aires as a vegetarian or vegan, there are still quite a few dining options available…

Argentina’s vegetarian & vegan food options

Some of the most successful vegan dining experiences in Buenos Aires can be had at Filo in Retiro (more or less the city center), where a delicious cheese-less pizza is an excellent choice, and at Bio in Palermo Viejo, where both seitan vegetable curry with coconut milk, and tofu in a Dijon mustard sauce grace the menu.

And there are of course, many other options for vegetarians in Buenos Aires, many of which are also applicable to vegans, or can be easily changed to be so by making a special request…

Vegetarian and vegan restaurants & food in Buenos Aires

  • Buenos Aires has a strong Italian immigrant heritage, and so pasta dishes are an excellent choice for the vegetarian (and many are suitable for vegans too) – you will find acceptable al dente pasta dishes in many Argentine restaurants.
  • Along the same lines, Pizza is an excellent choice here for vegetarians – some of the best available at Guerrin in the city center, Morelia in Palermo Hollywood and Banchero in La Boca. For vegans, cheese-less pizzas will be available at most pizzerias, in the form of fuggazza, a type of pizza made from just pizza dough, olive oil, oregano, and onions. But vegans should beware its close relation, the fugazetta, which also has cheese. In addition faina, a fried chickpea dough, is an excellent vegetarian accompaniment to pizza (eaten on top of your slice).
  • Despite sometimes having a lack of variety, salads are also a good option for vegetarians and vegans in Buenos Aires, and can be found in the majority of restaurants. OK, so many set salads include either eggs, ham or cheese, but in most places you will be able to armar (make/design) your own salad, from a number of choices, such as tomato, lettuce, onion, potato, green beans, carrot, avocado, palm hearts, and so on.
  • Dan from Saltshaker has a number of good suggestions for vegetarian and vegan food in Buenos Aires. On this page of his you will find his complete list of vegetarian resources and restaurant recommendations. For an interesting vegetarian option from his reviewed list, try Siempre Verde in Belgrano (for Chinese vegetarian food – which is also a good vegetarian option in many other Chinese restaurants and tenedor libres – all you can eat joints), or for a vegan restaurant suggestion, try Krishna Love in Palermo Viejo (scroll down on that page for the review).
  • For those veggie-lovers traveling with meat-eating companions, a nice compromise is Artemisia in Palermo Viejo, a serene and natural environment that boasts a fresh vegetarian menu of salads, woks and seasonal dishes – with a few fish options for those interested.
  • Another interesting, potentially spicy possibility for vegetarians in Buenos Aires is the California Burrito Company, in the city center, who offer up tasty vegetarian burritos and salads, which can also be suitable for vegans you pick and choose the ingredients appropriately – which is dead easy, because your burrito or salad is made at the counter right in front of your very eyes.

So there is some “food for thought” before you dine out as a vegan or vegetarian in Buenos Aires.

Read more about Vegan dining in an excellent post by the urban vegan, who came to Buenos Aires to hunt down some excellent vegan food options in Buenos Aires restaurants. She has also posted on Buenos Aires in general, including many fantastic photos of the city (and Colonia del Sacramento too). Go check it out!

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