My mom asked me the other day if I was still vegetarian and if so, how it was going while traveling. It certainly isn’t always easy and I try to be flexible in areas where I know vegetarianism is not a thing.
The middle of Spain was probably the most challenging – jamon (sort of similar to prosciutto) was EVERYWHERE. Finding something without ham felt nearly impossible.
Buenos Aires on the other hand was like a mecca. So many vegetarian restaurants! It is usually much easier in big cities but I was surprised in BA because Argentina is so well known for steak. They are known to be the beef capital after all.
But fortunately for me, vegetarianism is on the rise, especially with all the hipsters in the Palermo neighborhood where we were living. From exclusively vegan places to cafes with lots of veggie-friendly options, I certainly never went hungry.
Here are my go-tos:
Gratitude: *Vegetarian* A bright and cheery restaurant and shop with great sandwiches, salads and desserts. Breakfast is kind of a bust, so just plan for lunch. Plus it’s a nice place for working with big tables and good WiFi.
Favorite: the curried brie sandwich on a wheat baguette, served with roasted veggies on the side.
Birkin: *Vegetarian friendly* This little cafe was one of my go-tos. A comfy space with great AC (necessary in BA summer!) and WiFi, friendly staff and good coffee and iced tea.
Favorite: the Trucha Ahumada Bowl with brown rice, arugula, cashews, a beet-pickled hard boiled egg, blueberries, romesco sauce and hard smoked trout (for the pescestarians, but you can ask for it without fish).
Artemisia Cocina Natural: *Vegan* A cool 2-story restaurant with lots of salads, full plate entrees like lentil cakes, and tons of housemade breads. It isn’t my top choice out of this list as some of their dishes can be a little bland, but it’s a solid option if you want a vegan-only place.
For a Casual Dinner:
Eretz: *Vegetarian friendly* An amazing Israeli restaurant with some of the best service in BA. You get SO MUCH FOOD. Entrees come with little sides of pickled beets, cabbage salad, housemade pickles and pita. If you go for dinner, they usually also provide a dessert, like a rosewater flan. They usually have a great lunch deal too – like a massive entree, all those sides and an Aperol Spritz for $5!
Favorite: falafel and the fried eggplant.
Gran Dabbang: *Vegetarian friendly* Not your average Indian restaurant! This place has such unique, flavorful and modern Indian dishes that it was listed on Latin America’s Top 50 Restaurants. But don’t let that fool you into thinking it is expensive or pretentious. The service is so friendly and it was really well priced.
Favorite: this burrata atop a crispy omelette and tomato salad.
For a Fancy Dinner:
Sacro: *Vegan* A beautiful indoor space and patio with garden vibes and tasty Asian-inspired small plates. Don’t miss their innovative cocktails and mocktails (!).
My favorites: dumplings made with kimchi, ginger and cilantro; bao with braised cabbage and gochujang.
Aramburu: *Vegetarian friendly* Now this is for the real date night splurge but if it’s worth it if you’re looking for Michelin-star quality food and ambiance without the outrageous price (about $75 per person for 17-course tasting menu). Their molecular gastronomy-inspired food was beautifully plated, interesting, fun and delicious. And they were SO accommodating to my vegetarian requests.
Cooking for Yourself:
One of my favorite things about BA is all the Frutería y Verdulerías.
These are small, usually family owned, fruit and vegetable shops that are found on nearly every block. I’m still confused how they all exist while competing with one another. But hey, it made me happy as I had a great one right downstairs from our apartment.
I went probably every other day, picking up bananas, melons, local peaches and strawberries, and all sorts of veggies. They even had a good salad mix of lettuce, cabbage, carrots and sprouts.
Easy, cheap, convenient, good quality – a fabulous way to get all your fruits and veggies.
And yes of course if you want to feel more Argentine, you can get empanadas. My favorites were from El Hornero, a little shop within the San Telmo Market, stuffed with cheese and corn and baked till warm and crispy.