If your summer has been full of choripan and asados, it might be time to put down the steak knife and consider a healthier option. Green-minded restaurants that make veggies fun have been springing up all over Buenos Aires. It’s about exciting new flavors that don’t wreak havoc on your health. If you want to clean up your eating habits or are just looking for a new dining experience in this city of red meats, here are some restaurants you should definitely try.
1. Kensho, Palermo
In Zen Buddhism, Kensho is the direct and intimate experience of enlightenment. In Palermo, Kensho is an awakening into the world of gourmet vegetarian dining. The food is creative, and beautifully presented. Everything is vegetarian but many things are also vegan, and some are raw food. If you’ve never experienced raw food, lose that innocence at Kensho. The raw-food picada for two, $60, combines familiar flavors with an unfamiliar preparation – nothing cooked above 38 degrees. The philosophy holds that anything heated above that temperature has lost most of it’s nutritional value. The dish has a raw spin on chorizo – made of nuts and seaweed, a cashew cheese that is to-die-for, and variations on falafel and paté. The Kensho menu is organic, and changes with the season – the promise of new dished and flavors will keep you coming back year-round.
Open Tues-Sat, 10am until late, Sun, midday until midafternoon. Prices from $45 for a main. Accept cards. Click here for more information.
2. Natural Deli, Palermo
This a wonderful place to bring a book or your laptop and park for a while. With some couch seating and several tables surrounded by shelves filled with healthy deli goods, this is a calming space to have breakfast, lunch or dinner. The environment is as fresh and vibrant as its food, with a lot of space and natural light. Order one of their blended juices. The Reenergizador, with red fruits, banana and orange has the promise of booting your energy levels. The other side of the menu breaks down the nutritional benefits of the ingredients you’re drinking. Turns out banana is rich in potassium, calcium and vitamins B and C. Good for athletes, children, and those in need of a boost. There is a large variety of home made baked good and pastries, but don’t skip over the dining menu. You can’t miss the Verde Thai wok, $39. With three locations, Natural Deli provides a good ambiance, and a variety of healthy natural products you can take home.
Located at Gorostiaga 1776 (Las Cañitas), Laprida 1672 (Barrio Norte), Rep. Árabe Siria 3090 (Botánico). Open Mon-Sat, 8am-12am, Sun, 9am-12am. For contact information visit the official website (www.naturaldeli.com). Prices from $39 for a main. Accept cards.
3. Hierbabuena, Barracas
Only five months old, this restaurant has already warmed many to the idea of healthy-and-delicious. Of course, the warm and inviting garden-like ambience doesn’t hurt their cause. Located in an old naval hardware store, the place combines the antique machinery with pastel striped walls and a colorful mural. The message here is “green,” and the idea is to teach people to enjoy and reap the benefits of healthy food. $40 will get you a prefixe meal: a drink (try their lemonade mixed with mango), a café and fruit salad, and a choice between two freshly made entrees. They are inventing new dishes everyday and expect to roll out a new menu with more delicious options in the coming weeks. For something unique, have the mushroom burger, a meaty patty without the meat. It comes with a massive salad, tomatoes and pickled turnip, $35. Whatever you have, you’ll leave with a fully tummy and a smile.
Open Mon, 9am-5pm, Tues-Sun, 9am-midnight. Prices from $40 for a main. Accept cards. Click here for more information.
4. Bio, Palermo
The original organic restaurant in Buenos Aires, these guys have been around for almost a decade and for good reason. They keep the customers coming back with fresh, local produce, unique dishes and a dedication to their cause. The green and natural wood decor, gives this veggie restaurant an earthy feel, but no need to put on a hemp tunic or a flowy skirt. Their reputation has all kinds of people coming in for ginger lemonade and house made breads. The menu has taken gourmet food and altered it with vegetarian and organic ingredients. For example: the Milanesa made with soy and rice is a Bio Classic. This restaurant pioneered green awareness in the city, and made some elbow room for health in the Argentine diet.
Open Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm, Tues-Sat, 8pm-1am. Prices from $40 for a main. Accept cards. Click here for more information.
5. Pura Vida, Microcentro (editor’s note: as of early 2012, Pura Vida closed down).
This bustling juice bar in the middle of the city serves up fresh fruits and veggies everyday. Get your vitamins in a shot of wheatgrass, a blended smoothie, and accompany it with a wrap or salad. Serving up dishes in about 5 minutes – they’re putting the “foodie” in fast food, making it the perfect spot for a quick bite during your lunch break. If that is not convenient enough, they also deliver within a 5 block radius of their location. They are conscious of creating a well-rounded dining experience, even offering five variations of olive oil. Order a fresh juice like the Jardín del Eden, with carrot, celery, ginger and apple, $17 for a small, to feel quenched and energized. Next time you need a quick bite skip the cheeseburger and enjoy Pura Vida’s beat and vibrant atmosphere instead.
Open Mon-Fri, 9am-5.30pm. Prices from $25.50 for a wrap. Accept cards. Click here for more information.