Bolivia may not specialize in healthy eating, with greasy fast food and carb-heavy lunch specials remaining a cornerstone of the national cuisine. Nevertheless, a few health-conscious eateries have begun to pop up over the years, each vying for the business of weight-watching locals and travelers alike. Check out some of the more light and easy options from around the country.
El Condor & The Eagle Cafe - Copacabana
Restaurant, Cafe, British, $$$
A godsend among an overabundance of uninspiring eateries, El Condor & The Eagle has brought quality healthy cuisine to the lakeside town of Copacabana. Be sure to drop in for breakfast (because that’s the only time they are open) and sample either their fresh muesli with yogurt or eggs and Irish soda bread to start the day. Their coffee is better than other options in town, and the friendly Irish owner will happily prepare a light lunch to take away.
Due to a strong contingent of hippie expat retirees, Samaipata is a haven for those yearning for a healthy organic meal. Give the restaurants around the plaza a miss and head out to the hills for lunch at the lovely Cafe Jardin, an attractive outdoor slow food restaurant that prides itself on only serving wholesome and ethical fare. Highlights include homemade wholemeal bread and huge salads made from organic produce which has been picked fresh from the in-house garden.
Travelers in Tarija who tire of eating steak (if that were possible) should check out this awesome central cafe whose motto is “good food can be healthy as well.” Believe it or not, they manage to live up to their slogan with a gratifying selection of healthy treats such as quiche, sandwiches, and fresh garden salads. Be sure to save some room for dessert as locals claim they stock the best pastries in town.
Cafe, Bar, Restaurant, Vegetarian, Vegan, Contemporary, South American, $$$
Gluten-free pancake | Courtesy of Condor Cafe
Given Sucre’s steady influx of young foreign Spanish students and volunteers, it stands to reason there would be a strong selection of healthy and vegetarian options in town. After careful deliberation, Culture Trip has determined Condor Cafe to be the best of the lot, mostly thanks to their awesome falafel, great value set lunch menu, and amazing machine-made coffee. Best of all, the proceeds go towards supporting an attached non-profit charity.
Cochabamba isn’t known for its health food scene, with much of the population preferring to consume huge portions of carb-heavy fare instead. Nevertheless, this funky vegetarian eatery in the heart of the city offers the perfect respite, particularly for their selection of mouthwatering veggie burgers made from quinoa, chickpea, black beans, or lentils. Come lunchtime, the 21 BOB (US$3) set menu is both easy on the stomach and excellent value.
Cafe, Restaurant, South American, Contemporary, Mexican, Healthy, $$$
Situated just a few blocks off the main plaza, Kiwi Cafe serves up quality healthy cuisine at a very reasonable price. Come for the bargain basement lunch special or order off the menu to indulge in fresh salads, fajitas, and a range of traditional Bolivian food. Despite no longer being owned by a Kiwi, the staff speaks excellent English and love to converse with their foreign guests. Both vegetarian and meat dishes are available.
Former Gustu alumni Sebastián Quiroga Quintanilla brought vegan gourmet to La Paz with the opening of his flagship restaurant Ali Pacha back in 2016. Fast becoming an essential stop on the city’s foodie circuit, his team of talented chefs whips up a creative combination of little-known plants with spectacular results. Meaning “universe of plants in Aymara,” Ali Pacha offers exactly that.