What’s the first thing you think of when someone says Buenos Aires? Evita. The second? Tango. The third? Meat. Am I right? What’s probably NOT on the list of top 10 things you think of when you think of Buenos Aires is vegetables. In fact, all of Argentina is known for its beef — it has the world's second-highest consumption rate of beef, with yearly consumption estimated at 55 kg per person. Per person. That’s 121.254 POUNDS. And livestock farmers keep an average of 50-55 million head of cattle, making the country the third largest exporter of beef on the planet. So ya, vegetables? Hardly.
But here’s the surprise: Buenos Aires has not only gotten hip to the fact that people need their greens, they’ve jumped on the veggie train with the same passion and precision they have long reserved for their more meat-centric recipes. So here’s what I did: I challenged myself to find 7 Vegetable Dishes that would make me forget about meat. Or at least not eat it at EVERY meal. And I was more than successful, finding dish after dish in restaurant after restaurant that fit the bill, and in some cases, made me consider life without beef (it was fleeting, though, obviously). So here are 7 of the spots that made me swoon with their plant-based dishes, and I can’t wait to go back to keep on investigating. Happy Herbivoring!
Cavia 2985, C1425DDA CABA, Argentina
+54 11 4809-8600
Behind a nondescript door in the tony Palermo Chico section of Buenos Aires lies one of the most gorgeous restaurants I have ever, ever laid my eyes on. No joke. I’m not even sure how to describe it, except to say that your jaw will drop from the sheer, simple beauty of it. Think Elle Décor Interiors meets Vogue Fashion meets Parisian Splendor meets … I don’t even know. Just trust me — it’s good. And the courtyard is a place you’ll enter and never want to leave. And I haven’t even gotten to the food which is spectacular and varied and not at all obvious. The star here was the Quinoa with Mushrooms, Arugula + Goat Cheese, and much like the kitchen in which it was made, it makes simplicity feel indulgent.
Guatemala 4699, 1425 CABA, Argentina
+54 11 4832-6058
About as old school an Argentine Steakhouse as you’ll find, so what better place to begin the challenge? It was surprisingly easy, though, with a whole section of the menu surprisingly dedicated to veggie sides. Stand outs were the Wild Arugula Salad with Fresh Figs (yes, fresh), the heirloom Tomatoes with Capers and the Grilled Pumpkin.
Duhau Restaurante & Vinoteca
Palacio Duhau - Park Hyatt Buenos Aires
AAD, Av. Alvear 1661, C1014 CABA, Argentina
+54 11 5171-1234
For starters, a seat on the patio here at lunchtime is nothing short of paradise, so order an Aperol Spritz and take some time to peruse the menu, which is will make you very, very happy. But let me make it easy for you: Get the Charred Leeks with Black Olive Dust and Egg Soufflé. I promise.
Las Pizarras Bistro
Thames 2296, C1425FIF CABA, Argentina
+54 11 4775-0625
Pizzaras means chalkboard in English, so it’s no surprise that the menu, which changes almost daily, is written on chalkboards that cover the walls of this incredibly simple yet inventive Palermo Soho spot. There’s an insane number of veggie dishes to choose from, but our favorite of the night was the arugula + radicchio salad with almonds, pomegranate and apricots.
Ninina at MALBA
Av. Figueroa Alcorta 3415
C1425CLA Buenos Aires, Argentina
+54 11 4808 6500; +54 11 4832-0070
Leave it to the Buenos Aires to not only build the coolest looking Museum of Modern Art, but to also include a café that is much more than your average museum quickserve. In fact, Ninina is a restaurant all on its own, and the vibe is laid back cool, with a side patio that will have you drinking more Aperol than you may have intended at lunch. There are tons of plant options on the menu here — think Avo Toast and the requisite Kale Salad, but what we loved was the Veggie Burger (it has jalapenos!) and the Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Tangerine + Goat Cheese.
1676, DQH, Aráoz, C1414 CABA, Argentina
+54 11 4831-0027
Proper is the new-ish, super hipster, tapas-y spot located in an old mechanics garage. Get the picture? Service is somewhat Williamsburg-ish, but the food is with the attitude you might (and really, you might neo) encounter. There were a few standouts here, including Sweet Potato with kale, Patagonia Blue Cheese and Hazelnuts, but for me it was all about the Grilled Corn with Cashew Cream, Watercress and Grapes.
Hotel Fierro, Soler 5862, C1425BYL CABA, Argentina
+54 11 3220-6820
Located inside teeny boutique Hotel Fierro in Palermo Soho, Uco is one of the only restaurants in this ‘hood to offer a totally secluded outdoor courtyard, which is perfectly perfect. The food is straightforward and delish, and the Burrata with Roasted Eggplant and Oven Dried Tomatoes was smoky and creamy and surprisingly filling.