Anyone who’s been to Argentina probably knows that steak is the go-to meal if you’re up for trying a local delicacy. So how on earth did we manage to be vegan for a whole month?
Rule no. 1 – If you want to, cook your own meals
We lucked out and stayed in a variety of hostels and homestays with pretty decent kitchens (bar Iguazu). If veggie food is limited and/or you want to cut costs, cooking is a definite must. Plus, if you’re like us and want to do a load of day trips, packed lunches are a necessity.
In El Calafate and Ushuaia we regularly went to a supermarket called La Anonima. In Salta we went to Día which was more limited. Otherwise see what local (super)markets and health stores are available.
We usually bought fresh veg and fruit, bulgur wheat, bread (though a lot contain milk powder so be careful), chia seeds, peanuts, frozen soy burgers, pasta peas, lentils and chickpeas. Unfortunately plain soy milk is virtually non-existent in supermarkets but there is this horrendously sweet fruit drink made with soy if you’re that desperate. We basically subsisted off pulses, pasta and roast-veg hummus sandwiches.
Rule no. 2 – There are plenty of vegan/veggie/veg-option eateries!
HappyCow.net is largely why we’re alive right now but we still found local eateries not listed on the site. Matt and I ate out a lot and it was definitely worth it. Below are a list of places we recommend if you’re vegging-out in Argentina:
Konu – 9/10
Konu was my favourite place to eat in Buenos Aires, although I only made it there once. With a salad buffet bar and also a selection of warm dishes it was a matter of how high could I pile my plate? There were falafel wraps, soy meatballs, seitan bits and bobs and everything in between. Also I was shocked at the amazing price (by weight) – 58 peso (£3)! They also had great cakes and drinks including a B12 smoothie!
Location: Tte. Gral. Juan Domingo Perón 1319
Closest underground: Uruguay
Casa Munay – 7/10
Casa Munay was close to my hostel, Art Factory Palermo. A cute nook away from the bustle of the main road, it was colourfully decorated and had a friendly ambience. The food was also good, with a nice snack range on the menu from burgers, toasts and tacos. They also did a good cake or two for dessert, a great place if you want to sit down with a coffee and do some work.
Location: Av. Raúl Scalabrini Ortiz 2018
Closest underground: Scalabrini Ortiz
Krishna Veggie – 7/10
Another one local to me in Palermo, I avoided this place at first due to worries about the food containing ghee. However, after going in on the last day, I noticed they clearly labelled which food was vegan. I had a tasty meal, if slightly pricy, but the atmosphere of the room was extremely cosy and so it’s worth a visit.
Location: Malabia 1833
Closest underground: Scalabrini Ortiz
Y la Vaca Choca – 6/10
This quirky little snack bar is closer to the San Telmo old town. They have a number of pastries that can be heated, and also some great desserts and drinks. Again a little more expensive than some places but it’s extremely friendly and they also have a dog called Canela!
Location: Av. San Juan 409
Closest underground: San Juan
Pizza Vegana – 7/10
Located conveniently in the Recoleta district, Pizza Vegana offers ready-to-eat take-out style ‘pizzas’. The cheese is made with pureéd potato which surprisingly works quite well. If you’re in need of protein though I’d suggest going elsewhere. Either way, it was super tasty!
Le Pain Quotidien – 7/10
Le Pain can be found all over the city so it’s a pretty safe option for vegan food. I had a really tasty quinoa salad and there are even cakes that you can choose from!
Curcuma – 9/10
Finding Curcuma in El Chalten was like a dream. To go all the way to this tiny town and yet there be a delicious pure vegan café was unreal. There were about six meals on the menu, with a variety of juices and shakes, and even some cakes to finish with. I had three days, and three meals – amazing food cooked right in front of you!
Location: Av. Antonio Rojo 219
So I’m not gonna lie, El Calafate was pretty bad for eating out as a vegan, it’s where we struggled the most. La Pepe Vida (3/10) flagged up as having vegan options but we had to compromise with the waiter to craft a mushroom sandwich, which was very expensive. All in all you’re better off going to the supermarket, or making a meal out of side dishes at one of the larger restaurants.
El Bambu – 8/10
What a find, just located a few blocks up from the main street San Martin, El Bambu is a Chinese-style vegetarian takeaway with vegan options. There aren’t any seating areas in the shop so we usually sat outside and ate our meal. You can choose from a variety of noodles, rice dishes, tofu dishes and if you’re veggie, more Argentinian-style dishes.
Location: Calle Cmte Luis Piedrabuena 276
Cafe Marco Polo – 3/10
Marco Polo is located on the highstreet San Martin. Admittedly this is probably better for veggies but I believe they do offer a roast vegetable sandwich. Mind you, it is quite pricey.
Location: San Martin 746
Dona Maria – 6/10
This was a downstairs hotel restaurant, and consequently the food was a little pricey. We had a great roast veg platter and some pesto pasta. We found they served a buffet every night at around 7, which although cost quite a bit, had a decent selection and finally some much needed protein.
Location: Opposite the main bus station and to the right.
Arbol Réal – 7/10
We found this place all too late, one of a few buffet style places on the street, this one looked the cleanest. Since it’s tempting to pile up your plate, it will start costing you a fair but if you eat here as much as we did. But choose your food wisely, they have just about everything so it’s a great place to get back on top of your nutrition, even if the food is just above average.
Location: Main crossroads next to the bus station, opposite the gas station.
Chirimoya – 8/10
Our go-to place in Salta for the days we didn’t eat in. With huge portions and excellent food, it was one of the best places we’d visited in South America so far. The menu was different, in a good way, and they tried some really interesting dishes. The drinks were great too – and also a good size, plus the price wasn’t anything to cry about!
Location: Calle Espana 211
So there you go! It is totally possible to be vegan in Argentina, despite the steak obsession. Remember this is not everything, just a starter, so get out there and find your own little surprises whenever possible. If you find anything else that we could share then let us know and we’ll feature your discoveries too!
Next up we show you how to survive in Bolivia, cruelty free!