Meat, meat, meat. Time and time again, Argentina has been praised for the delicious quality and quantity of meat it serves. From beef and chicken, to pork and lamb, it seems the varieties and possibilities are limitless. So in the land of meat, how impossible is it to be vegetarian? Actually, it’s not impossible at all! Vegetarianism is a concept that has been relatively unknown in Argentina until the most recent decade. However, it is now on the rise and so are alternatives to only eating meat. Fortunately, the capital of Buenos Aires has caught on to vegetarian friendly options throughout the city. What are those to do who refrain from eating meat? Here are a few tips for how to enjoy your stay in Buenos Aires and Argentina as a vegetarian, without worrying about starving!
1. Look for meat-free options at a “regular” restaurant
Even restaurants that specialize in meat or typical Argentine food will have some options that do not include meat. Salads, pasta, pizzas, and empanadas are normally safe bets, which usually have cheese or vegetable varieties. Also recommended are milanesas de soja, which use a meat substitute as filling for this typical Argentine meal. Just make sure you ask your waiter and confirm the dish does not have meat in it. A “vegetable” sandwich does not necessarily mean that there are only vegetables in the sandwich.
2. Head to a new wave vegetarian restaurant or café
Up and coming gastronomy neighborhoods in Buenos Aires like Palermo, Belgrano, and Villa Crespo are slowly filling with strictly vegetarian or vegetarian influenced restaurants and cafés. Internationally inspired cuisine such as lentil burgers, quinoa salads, fruit smoothies, or vegetable curries are making exciting debuts on menus. Vegetarian is “in,” which means if the place is trying to be trendy, there is bound to be something vegetarian on the menu at the hip cafés in these neighborhoods. Tip: Look for set menus, which will have a main vegetarian dish, side salad and interesting juice concoction on the side. Healthy and fun!
3. Fruit and Vegetable Stands
Tired of replacing meat with carbs? Stop by any of the numerous verdulerías, or fruit and vegetable stands, that are chock full of local products. Great as a snack or to make your own veggie-only meal, these small shops normally sell local and unknowingly organic products at a very affordable price. Fruits come and go in seasons, so make sure to check out what is ripe during your visit.
4. Food Blogs
Porteños pride themselves on their love of food and foreigners who have found themselves living in Buenos Aires tend to share this passion. Many writers have taken to the internet, sharing their wealth of knowledge of restaurants, food stands, and recipes for all tastes, including eating vegetarian. Blogs like Pick Up the Fork and Buenos Aires Foodies help recommend the latest and greatest in vegetarian dining, with insider tips on what to order.