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Welcome veggies

By Verónica Lampón, author of the blog Vamos a pasear?
Special collaboration for Violeta Deyapa

Being a vegetarian in the land of beef...and not die while trying

Being a vegetarian in Argentina fifteen years ago could have meant condemning yourself to malnutrition. It was really quite hard to go to a restaurant and find an option other than your run of the mill lettuce and tomato salad.

For those of us who have chosen not to eat animals, the self-proclaimed capital of the Best Beef in the World offered very few options.

But in the past few years Argentina has made a lot of progress in this aspect. The world wide trend of vegeterianism has had its impact locally too and every year we see more and more restaurants and specialty grocery stores. Even non-vegeterian restaurants have added a wider array of choices for vegeterians.

Take a look at our suggestions!

When you can’t find a vegetarian restaurant you can always try this:

The best pizza in the world. Even though our trade mark is the Strip Steak (the famous Argentine cut “Bife de Chorizo”), Argentina is home to some of the most delicious pizzas in the world, mainly because of the strong influence of the Italian immigration from the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Almost every pizzeria offers the Thick Crust (“al molde”) and Thin Crust (“a la piedra”) varieties in vegeterian-friendly flavours such as Spinach, Mushroom, Arugula or Blue Cheese.

The same Italian influence that brought us excellent pizza gave us pasta! Argentines love gnochii (which are traditionally eaten on the 29th of every month), ravioli and spaghetti (or other varieties of noodles such as the bow-tie shaped farfalle or the corkscrew-like fusilli among others). Squash sorrentinos are very popular (a round ravioli stuffed with pumpkin or squash) and are served at almost every restaurant.

Salads. Even if you’re at a grill (or “parilla”) you’ll find choices presented as side orders and you can count on finding at least three varieties of salads for sure. Most places will be more than happy to “customize” a salad according to your preferences. Although it’s taken time and huge cultural changes, the average Argentinian has included vegetables into his life and salads are offered at almost every restaurant.

Other options. If you’re at a grill you must try the “provoleta” (grilled provolone cheese with oregano). Amongst side orders you can always find a vegetables panaché (mixed boiled vegetables). sauteed spinach (usually sauteed with olive oil and garlic), cream spinach (spinach sauteed with cream), potato Tortilla (a potato omellette like the Spanish tortilla but without the spicy sausage, make sure you ask before you order) and you can always find your typical omellette.

Most big cities (as well as tourist towns) almost always have several options for vegetarian restaurants.

And of course, this is the case with Buenos Aires!

Fortunately our wonderful city has many vegetarian restuarants, health stores and vegetarian delis that will make your life a lot easier.

Here’s a list of some our favorite ones for you to explore...Good luck and Buen Provecho! (Bon Appetite!)

Abuela Pan
Address: Bolívar 707, San Telmo

Specializes in homemade food, simple and plentiful. Does not fry and also bakes really tasty breads (with seeds, whole grain, no-salt, etc.) 

Florida 165, 1st floor, Centro

An all-you-can-eat restaurant with take-out rotisserie. Granix is the first downtown vegetarian restaurant. It’s hidden in a very traditional shopping gallery (Galeria Güemes, one of the prettiest in the city) and offers scrumptious soufflés, tarts or quiches and terrines. Yummy!

Malabia 1833, Palermo

I’m not sure what I like most about Krishna: the vegeterian brunch or its boisterous and colorful decor. Right at the corner of Plaza Armenia in Palermo it’s definetely the veggie place with the best ambience. 

La Esquina de las Flores
Gurruchaga 1632, Palermo

Day’s specials, take out. Giant quiches, empanadas made with whole wheat dough and lavish salads. The place’s decor is simple and prices are friendly, which is rare in Palermo.

La Reina Kunti
Humahuaca 3461, Almagro

As a friend of mine would say: “If it’s vegeterian and Indian, twice as good”. Located in the Abasto neighborhood this peculiar restaurant offers low armchairs and Indian music (until midnight, when, if the mood is right, rock’n’roll starts blasting out of the speakers) serves pitchers with lemonade, almond cake as well as an assortment of options that range from spicy curry to tempura vegetables. Nice place for couples to cuddle under candlelight.

Los sabios
Av. Corrientes 3733, Almagro

More a diner than a restaurant, Los Sabios (“The wise men”) sells food by the kilo or all-you-can-eat. Huge lounge, tiny glasses and the typical plates used by all you can eat vegetarian restaurants. They make the tastiest vegetable buñuelos (a sort of fritter) in town.

Naturaleza Sabia
Balcarce 958, San Telmo

On a first floor in the quaint San Telmo neighborhood, it offers an enjoyable and pleasant decor, quiet ambience and elaborate dishes. The seitan (wheat meat) is to die for.

Montevideo 446, Congreso

I like everything about Sattva. The bench at the entrance where you can sit while you wait, the “sharing size” of the salad, the variety of vegetarian versions of mexican food, the desserts and the lemonade with basil and ginger, which is one of the most delectable things I’ve ever drunk. Any of these things can be paired with a delicious organic wine. Happiness in its purest state.

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