The Best Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants in Montevideo

Una frutería
Una frutería | © Boca Dorada / Flickr
Georgia Mizen

In a city where meat is always on the menu, you might be surprised to find a plethora of delightful vegetarian and vegan eateries hidden among the parrillas. Montevideo’s green foodie offering is making a name for itself in the Rio de la Plata basin – from all-veggie Italian classics to vegan sushi. You don’t have to be a meat lover to dine well in South America’s most up-and-coming city.

1. La Papa

Restaurant, Healthy, Vegan

Ask anyone in Montevideo for a vegan restaurant recommendation and this is where they’ll send you. La Papa serves inventive vegan dishes inspired by classical Italian cooking. Weekday specials might be gnocchi with roasted beetroot or crêpes stuffed with hummus and marinated vegetables. The ambience at this colorful street-side café is laid-back and jovial, with trademark Uruguayan friendliness. La Papa’s central location, just a stone’s throw from the pretty Parque Rodó, means a post-lunch wander along the Rambla will be on the menu too.

2. Namasté

Bar, Restaurant, Healthy, Fusion, Soup, Italian, Vegetarian, Vegan

Chivitos and milanesas abound at this super chilled restaurant on the edge of the Cordón district – but all is not what it seems. Everything served at Namasté is veggie through and through: from chop suey and stroganoff to quesadillas and topped fries. Veggies don’t have to miss out on Uruguay’s famous chivito sandwich – tuck into Namasté’s tofu version with avocado and carrot mayo. Deep orange lighting and plenty of hanging lanterns give this cosy place an oriental feel. There are even cushions scattered across the floor for those who wish to practice their yoga as they dine.

3. Bosque Bambú

Restaurant, Chinese, Vegetarian

Head to Bosque Bambú on an empty stomach – the all-you-can-eat buffet at this Chinese store-cum-restaurant in the Centro district is one of the best value lunch deals in the city. Asian-style salads sit alongside veggie spring rolls, chana masala and the star of the show: caramelized sweet potatoes. The freshly squeezed orange juice is a must-try too. If you don’t want to miss a moment of sunshine, opt for a takeaway to enjoy on the nearby beach and pay per kilo.

4. Mercado Verde

Store

Tucked away in a health food store in Punta Carretas, this juice bar and kitchen is a welcome relief from the abundance of grills dotted around the city. With a focus on raw dishes, organic ingredients and energizing juices, it’s the perfect pit stop for vegans exploring the city’s swankiest barrio. Dishes that regularly pop up on the menu include mushroom lasagne, pumpkin burgers and sushi with cauliflower rice. Mercado Verde even hosts ‘idea’ workshops every month for curious cooks. In the adjoining shop, pick up cashew cheese, green juices and cacao truffles to take away.

5. Disfruta

Restaurant, Healthy, Soup, Fusion, Dessert, Vegan, Vegetarian

Little more than a hole in the wall, this tiny vegetarian joint serves up a delicious daily special alongside fresh juices, hearty sandwiches and mini desserts at mouth-wateringly low prices. The plato del día might be quinoa risotto or lentil burgers with vegan coleslaw. Disfruta‘s service is friendly, brisk and efficient, keeping up with the lunch rush from the nearby thoroughfare Avenida 18 de Julio. If you’re in the mood for dessert, pick up a couple of vegan galletones for the road.

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