A vegetarian in Buenos Aires? Here are some recommentations for you!

Argentina is better known as the famous land of steak and wine, but many foreigners and tourists who visit Buenos Aires find themselves in a muddle if they are vegetarians. 

And that’s because the main staple of any diet in Argentina is based on Italian, Spanish, and indigenous cuisine.  But on the other hand, Buenos Aires is becoming vegetarian-friendly in the last few years, and there are a few restaurants that are specifically for vegetarians.  Though it’s not impossible to run into a vegetarian option to have a really nice meal, here are some tips to maneuvering your way through Argentine gastronomy and surviving as a veggie!

1. Carne is meat in English or even beef if it comes from a cow

So if you are looking for an option that comes without any kind of meat (chicken, fish or pig), you just have to ask for a vegetarian one that doesn’t include meat.

2. Make sure to double check that your order will come without ham, beef, chicken or fish

“This doesn’t contain any type of beef, ham, chicken or fish, right?”  “No contiene ningún tipo de carne, jamón, pollo o pescado, verdad?”. This could be useful if you ask what foods have no meats in them, because there are so many different cuts and kinds of meat that it’s hard to keep track of them!  If the food description includes a word you don’t know, be sure to ask if it is a kind of meat!

3. When in doubt, always ask for it

This is a country where everything, from salads, to burgers to sandwiches often include ham and cheese.  It is a default ingredient that many waiters won’t even mention.  Caprese empanadas, salads or sandwiches, which would normally include tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, may just as well include ham without any noticeable mention of it.  The same goes for anything else you’d assume may be meatless.

4. Reliable vegetarian empanada options often include:

Verdura which is vegetable and which normally is made of acelga, swiss chard, and white sauce; choclo or humita, which is made of corn with white sauce; and queso y cebolla, cheese and onion in English. Other options include caprese, tomato, basil and cheese; Roquefort, blue cheese, celery and walnut, and champignon, queso y jerez, mushroom, cheese and red wine.  However, any of the last three might include ham, so be sure to check that they don’t.

5. Other yummy vegetarian options can be found on the “Light” side of the menu

A popular light option is milanesa de soja, which is a soy version of the classic thinly sliced breaded and fried cutlets of beef, pork or even chicken.

But if nothing of these plates make you feel hungry, you can always rely on pasta:  fideos (spaghetti), sorrentinos or ravioles (both are ravioli), or caneloni with verdura (normally it’s acelga, swiss chard) that usually come with ricotta cheese. 

To accompany these, reliable sauces are fileto, a basic plain tomato sauce with no meat; crema, a basic white sauce, or rosa, which is a mix of the last two.  However, sometimes ravioli made of ricotta and ham are simply referred to as ricotta, so be sure to ask before about the fileto sauce—sometimes a restaurant will substitute bolognese, a meat and tomato sauce, for fileto, assuming it won’t matter.

Salads will always be a nice option, but, again, they often include ham and cheese, chicken and sometimes tuna. If this is your case, be sure to ask if you can switch out the meat or fish for boiled eggs (huevos duros), beets (remolacha), rocket (rúcula) or another iron or protein rich food like beans (porotos).

6. Is there a cheap, great vegetarian option in Buenos Aires?

Hit up one of the numerous vegetarian take-out places where you can load up on purely vegetarian food and pay by the kilo you have on your plate. 

Spring, on Borges and Charcas in Palermo, Sabo at Juramento and Cramer in Belgrano, or Lotus on Cordoba and Parana in downtown Buenos Aires could be nice options for a great meal. 

Also, there are lots of restaurants like these throughout the city.  For a luxury treat, you could visit Bio, the organic, sustainable, local-food restaurant on Humbolt and Costa Rica, in the neighborhood of Palermo Hollywood.  Their salads, veggie burgers, and unique desserts are worth the visit at least once during your stay in the city of fury.

Do you know any vegetarian places that you could recommend to our readers? Don’t hesitate to leave your recommendation in the comments.