Despite its reputation for red meat, Buenos Aires is a city rapidly adjusting to a growing vegetarian and vegan community. Anne-Laure White highlights some of the tasty offerings currently available.
Some 60 years ago, Argentines consumed an average of more than 98kg of beef per person annually, and though this has since fallen by a third, the country is still mostly known for its carnivorous tendencies. But the romantic view of grass-fed cows roaming the Pampas is far from the reality today: up to 80% of the country’s beef now comes from factory farms. And in line with international trends, locals are increasingly turning to vegetarianism and veganism as an alternative to the meat industry, considered by many scientists to be a leading cause of environmental destruction.
Mindful food sourcing is not only more environmentally sustainable, it tends to produce better tasting meals and is beneficial for your health. Your local dietetica may not be a testament to the wonders of vegan eating (lucky you if it is!) but the range of options for vegans has expanded rapidly in recent years, and this round-up of yummy recommendations in the city will help you out.
For a slice of fat, creamy Argentine pizza, try Despierta: Espacio Cultural y Espiritual in Chacarita (Av. Lacroze 3578). It is thick and tasty and perfectly paired with beer and friends. There are plenty of other sweet and savoury options on the menu – which is always evolving – and the centre also hosts regular shows, workshops, and an organic food fair.
For a thin-crust slice, Pizza Vegana (Fitz Roy 1962, Ayacucho 1188, Iberá 2802, and Puán 662) is crunchy and deceptively cheesy (with vegan potato cheese ‘paparella‘). It is also gluten free: the dough is made with gluten-free rice flour and the fainá is made from garbanzo flour. Thin-crusted pizzas are a rare and precious find in Buenos Aires and Pizza Vegana does not disappoint. They also do delivery here.
The vegan soup lover will find paradise at Bio Solo Organico (Humboldt 2192), a restaurant that tells you exactly how much of your meal was organically sourced. Their raw Vietnamese soup is one of many flavorful ways to warm yourself up this winter. And their raw chocolate cake is out-of-this-world good.
If you are looking for a cup of coffee to accompany a pile of books, Casa Munay (Av. Scalabrini Ortiz 2018) is a great place to settle in for the day. They offer a wide variety of snacks– their vegan banana bread is a must– as well as woks, sandwiches, chapatti rolls, salads, and soups. Their daily menu consists of a daily dish, lemonade, and a coffee for $100 (for now).
If you want a more upscale cafe spot, the veggie burger at Artemisia (Costa Rica 5893) is delicious and served in one of their many freshly baked, homemade breads. It’s also a great place to bring carnivorous friends– they have options for vegans and meat-lovers alike.
Hierbabuena (Av. Caseros 454), a restaurant aaway in San Telmo, is another option for a nice, albeit pricey, dinner out. By the time the waiters have brought out the bread, you will fall for this place. Their eggplant dip is a creamy, soft way to prepare your palate. From veggie dumplings to Yamani rice dishes and mushroom burgers, Hierbabuena’s menu is eclectic and flavorful. The complementary glass of champagne at the end of the meal is a welcome addition.
If you prefer to eat in and are looking to fine-tune your cooking skills, Crudo offers phenomenal vegan, and some raw, cooking classes. Prepare to do a lot of writing– this is a learn-by-doing-and-watching cooking class! You will not be handed a recipe, but questions and note taking are encouraged. Alongside their dinner classes, Crudo offers courses in fermenting, bread making, homemade chocolate desserts! For menus, schedules, and prices, check out their website.
Last, but certainly not least, Buenos Aires Verde (Gorriti 5657) is amazing in all capacities. If you prefer eating in but have trouble finding tasty vegan supplements to satisfy your cream, cheese, or mayonnaise needs, you can buy cashew butter, vegan mayonnaise, and more to go. Their dessert case boasts a thick, nutty raw chocolate mousse, as well as brownies and truffles.
If you are eating in the organic restaurant, try their chocolates crunched up in their raw chocolate ice cream. The lunch and dinner menus are extensive and filled with goodies for any food craving– the curry risotto is mouth watering, as is the vegan pizza, the sushi roll appetizers, and the lasagna. And the salads are among the few perfectly constructed salads in the city, well worth a trip for meat-eaters and vegetarians or vegans alike!