The best vegetarian restaurants in Buenos Aires

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Is the idea of surviving as a vegetarian in Buenos Aires –  the land of superlative steak – an oxymoron? Not so says our man in BA.  The Argentine capital may be famous for its prime beef cuts, but vegetarians won’t go hungry either. Kaye Holland, has the low-down on five fabulous veggie friendly restaurants that even the staunchest of carnivores would approve of

There are many things to enjoy in the Paris of the South from sultry tango to infectious football games and the proud, passionate Portenos (BA residents) themselves but, as a lifelong vegetarian, I didn’t expect the food – Argentina’s meat obsession is intense – to elate.

Yet while meat eaters will be in seventh heaven here (parrillas – aka steak houses – abound), veggies are far from neglected and I’ve seen more dedicated vegetarian eateries in Buenos Aires than I have back home. Their presence is partly down to the Porteñas (BA’s gorgeous women) who go to great lengths to retain their svelte, supermodel-worthy physiques.

Designated herbivore spots aside, there’s a cornucopia of pasta and ‘pizza by the slice’ places (Argentina is largely a country of immigrants and a sizeable number of Italians swapped their boot shaped country for BA at the beginning of the 20th century, when Italy was facing social and economic disturbances) where meat free options abound . Pay-by-the-kilo restaurants – where customers get to, in effect, create their own plate – are also hugely popular.

Here’s where you can go meatless in the metropolis…

Vita
Located in the heart of Buenos Aires on Hipolito Yrigoyen, Vita serves as refuge from the madness of nearby Plaza de Mayo – an always lively square. Choose from an array of homemade vegetarian and vegan salads, sandwiches, soups and hearty hot dishes like lasagne. Desserts don’t disappoint either: the coconut tart is definitely worth ditching the January diet for. The complimentary and reliable WiFi (a rare thing in this city)is a further treat.
Hipolito Yrigoyen 583,Buenos Aires, Argentina (43420788)

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Granix
Tucked away on the first floor of a Florida Calle shopping mall, Granix isn’t the easiest place to find (tip: look for the stairs on the right) but persevere. Once inside you’ll find a large Wagamama-style canteen heaving with health conscious office workers (Granix is only open for weekday lunches). And for good reason. Pick up a plate (take out is also available for the time poor) and pile it high with zingy salads, comforting quiches, shuffles and stuffed vegetables et al and then take it to the counter to be weighed. The price you pay is determined by the weight of food on your plate. The kilo concept is hugely popular here: you’ll find ‘pay what you weigh’ restaurants on virtually every corner, but Granix has cornered the green market.
Florida 165 (first floor above ground level in the Mitre Building inside mall), Buenos Aires (43434020)

Sarkis

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Kaye and friends at Sarkis


Guide books harp on about Sarkis and for good reason: excellent eating is still a bargain at this veteran Middle East restaurant. The go-to dish is the lamb in yoghurt sauce but the veggie friendly vine leaves and falafel are two other simple yet satisfying dishes that prove you don’t have to eat meat, to eat well in Palermo. Unless you like a a queue, go early or at lunchtime: after 9pm the line snakes half way around the block. And arrive with an appetite – portions are plentiful.
Thames 1101, Buenos Aires, Argentina (011 4772 4911)

Bio
For many visitors to Buenos Aires, Palermo – a little corner of perfectly manicured paradise where men carry tiny dogs and immaculately turned out women sweep from chi chi boutiques to buzzy bars – turns out to be their favourite barrio (neighbourhood).  Palermo isn’t short on gorgeous restaurants but green fiends will want to make a beeline for Bio. This charming spot on the corner of tree-lined Humboldt Street is a real delight, as is the food. The menu revolves around Quinoa risotto, seating stir fries, couscous and many mushroom and tofu dishes. Drinks include a refreshing Ginger lemonade that’s garnered rave reviews but, in such pretty surroundings, it seems a shame not to wash your meal down with a glass on Malbec (natch).
BIO Restaurant, Humboldt 2192, Buenos Aires, Argentina (4774 3880)

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Whatever your order, wash it down with a glass (or two) of Malbec – Argentina’s signature grape

 

Artemisia
Looking for a lovely spot to take the special herbivore in your life to? I have the answer: Artemisia. Located on the far side of Palermo’s train tracks, Artemisia has long been serving Buenos Aires green gourmands, so clearly it must be doing something right. Good tasting starters include 
the Bruschetta with delicious dips such as Beetroot marinated in ginger, honey and thyme, while mains on the hand written menu may mean a Thai-style haddock served in lemongrass and coconut milk or a Polenta lasagne. It isn’t all virtuous though: the counter is heaving with homemade muffins, cakes and cookies. Prices match the the location (Palermo is no bargain destination) but service is impeccable and the surroundings  – think a small courtyard and huge windows  – suitably handsome.
Gorriti 5996, Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina (4776 5484)

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