Some may see it as a crime, others as impossible, but in actual fact it is very easy to eat veggie in Buenos Aires. For many, the first ‘to do’ on the list after touching down in the Argentine capital, is to find a big, juicy steak and tuck in. Fair enough, the steak is to die for in Buenos Aires, and any Porteno (those born and bred in Buenos Aires) will have a long list of their favorite Parillas (steak houses) to quote you at the drop of a hat. Although they are primarily catering to carnivores, most good parillas will also have options of roasted vegetables, as well as veggie sides and pasta dishes. Slightly less conspicuous than the city’s many parillas, but definitely growing in number, are restaurants specializing in vegetarian cuisine.
One of our favourites has to be Jueves a la Mesa (Thursdays at the table), hosted every Thursday night (who’d have thought it!) in enthusiastic chef Meghan’s own San Telmo apartment. Meghan aims to prove that it is possible to cook interesting, healthy vegetarian meals with locally bought ingredients, right here in the world capital of beef. To that end she always sends her guests the recipes that they enjoyed via email the day after the meal.
When we visited earlier this month we enjoyed an Indonesian feast, starting with a silky spiced carrot and coconut soup with whole-wheat flatbreads, followed by a crispy, fresh carrot and bamboo shoot salad with a spiced, sweet peanut sauce and a warm rice salad of tofu and egg. The meal was neatly rounded off with some perfectly formed home-made chocolate hearts served with fresh pineapple pieces and rosewater soaked almonds. To wash things down there were jugs of cardamom-infused water, hot, fresh ginger tea and a couple of bottles of crisp Mendozan white. Fifteen guests were seated around an ample table, casually set with a red and white polka-dot table cloth, candles, bright yellow flowers and an array of vintage table-wear. For a laid-back and healthy start to the Buenos Aires weekend, Jueves a la Mesa can’t be beat!
For reservations and more information visit: www.juevesalamesa.wordpress.com
More vegetarian restaurants!
El Salvador 5783 (Palermo Hollywood)
This sleek, upmarket ‘Hollywood’ restaurant provides a top-notch, vegetarian fine dining experience. Don’t miss it!
Malabia 1833 (Palermo Viejo)
Tucked away on the quieter side of Plaza Amenia in Palermo Viejo, Krishna serves a Hindu inspired menu of light veggie curries and delicious desserts. It’s a good place for a casual lunch and has great creative decor.
Another of Buenos Aires’ closed door restaurants, Casa Felix is serves a pescatarian menu rather than full vegetarian. Guests are seated in a breezy patio during summer and the food is delicately constructed using an interesting range of ingredients, including traditional Andean elements.