Five years ago, if someone announced that they were vegan in Buenos Aires I have a sneaky suspicion that stones would have been thrown at them. Pitchforks would have appeared, and the angry mob would have descended. Half-a-decade later and the news would be received simply with an eyebrow raise and a mumble of confusion. Despite the developing societal norms, veganism here still feels almost sinful. How could you possibly not tuck into the diverse array of steaks, choripans, and vacío?
It’s not just the extensive list of meat that you would be missing out on if you cut out all animal products; imagine a world in Argentina without the delicious creamy ice cream, without medialunas glazed with egg white and sugar, crunchy alfajores with a buttery biscuit base stuck together with dark, sticky dulce de leche. It really would be a darker, joyless place.
Luckily, our prayers have been answered, as Buenos Aires is (slowly but surely) becoming more vegan-friendly, with an increasing amount of Instagram-able cafés around the city serving courgette cakes and acai bowls alike. Not only do they serve the ‘hipster’ vegan snackage, but there are also some wonderful cafés and restaurants that have incorporated traditional Argentine postres with a vegan twist. So that you can munch on an alfajor guilt-free.
We at The Bubble have crafted a comprehensive, detailed list of the best places in the Capital to munch on vegan sweet goodness.
I started my research in one of the most fascinating, ahead-of-its-time cafés in Buenos Aires, and I was greeted by the wonderful Perla. Ohsawa is a light, spacious café that has an extensive macrobiotic menu. If you’re not familiar with what a macrobiotic diet consists of, you’re not alone, I too had to do a little research.
Through chatting with Perla and with help from my informative pal Google, I discovered that it’s not just a diet, but a way of living. Living a macrobiotic lifestyle recognizes the importance of not only the food we consume but also the environment and activities and their effects on our body, mind, and emotions. For Japanese innovator George Ohsawa (the namesake of the café, and Perla’s maestro) food is only one cornerstone of the philosophy. The diet is based around whole grains, fruits and vegetables, beans and bean products (tofu, miso, tempeh, etc) and fermented vegetables, seeds, and nuts.
Palacci has had more than 40 years of experience cooking and living the macrobiotic diet, responding to what her body needs, and balancing the optimum goal of creating tasty food that follows this philosophy. Her list of dessert reflects her extensive experience. When I visited, I first tried the plato del día, followed by a tasting of the day’s dessert menu: including stewed apple sugar-free tart, a tofu and cacao pudding, and a moist, carrot and cashew slice.
Unlike many vegan desserts, these were not dry at all. Frequently, when the butter, milk, and eggs are replaced by coconut oils and flax seeds, the moist, melting texture disappears and you feel like you’re eating something in between stale cardboard and dry soil. However, Perla’s desserts were intensely rich and the perfect level of gooeyness. Tofu and dessert originally seemed to be like a bad joke (why oh why?) but it actually was a delicate addition to the tart, the tofu created a moist, gooey texture that really worked with the chocolate cacao flavors: it almost felt like a big vegan truffle.
I would recommend this place not only for the delicious desserts but also for an opportunity to chat with Perla who tends to hang around the café, overlooking her busy staff. She really is a fountain of wisdom sharing her views on the macrobiotic diet; even if the macrobiotic diet is not for you, she is incredibly inspirational. Many vegans (and simply people wanting to follow a healthy diet) may feel a little isolated in BA, so it is good to speak to other like-minded folks. Her cafés have lasted more than 40 years in Steak City, so she must be doing something right!
Ohsawa |Honduras 5900 | Opening times Tuesday – Sunday 10 AM – 9 PM. | Instagram available here.
Artemisia Cocina Natural
This place is worth a visit purely for the gram. Plants are everywhere in this breezy, light café. I have to recommend that for pre-dessert, you choose the lentil ‘meatballs’. They come served with caramelized onion and tomato sauce with salad and rice risotto bed and are literally heaven on earth. After you’ve munched to your heart’s delight on lentil balls (yes, I heard it too) then it’s time for dessert.
The vegan desserts they have are just too much: chocolate mousse with passionfruit ice cream on top and baked apples with coconut ice cream. The mousse is made from organic tofu and grounded up seeds in the dough for that ‘moussey’ airy feel. This is another ode to tofu: who knew it would become one of my favorite dessert go-to’s?
This cafe is a definite must-see for all vegans (and anyone that likes desserts).
Information: Artemisia Cocina Natural | Costa Rica 5893 | Open Tuesday – Saturday 10 AM – 12.30 AM | Open Sunday 10 AM – 5 PM | Website available here.
Run by blogger Vicky Jackson, an Argentine-born and bred who was inspired by the extent of vegan establishments she saw in her time abroad in Paris and London, she has set up an absolutely stunning restaurant which deals with all things health related. She boasts an extensive vegan dessert menu and has recently revolutionized her carta a few days ago. To get your mouth watering here are a few of the (many) options: chocolate truffles with toasted almonds, a banana loaf drizzled with a date sauce, and then a brunch option of banana waffles with almonds, plantain with a chocolate quenelle (basically a fancy way of saying a big spoonful) and fresh fruit.
Vicky uses a variation of alternatives when it comes to her desserts, but she mostly uses unripe green plantains, chia seeds and bananas instead of eggs, and then coconut oil and almond milk instead of butter and milk. It is not too often that the vegan options look as attractive so I’ll go out on a limb and say that even if you go with a carnivorous crew for breakfast, they will all venture towards the vegan waffle brunch extravaganza.
Information: Wellbar Restaurant | Malabia 1682 | Open Tuesday-Sunday 12 PM – 8 PM | Website available here.
Bio Solo Orgánico Restaurant
This is a great favorite of any foodie in Buenos Aires, and if you’re in the inner vegan circle then you will probably have visited this joint 12,000 times since it opened 16 years ago. This restaurant (and the adjoining health-food store) are run by the tight-knit Carrara family who are passionate about producing 100% organic, healthy food.
In fact, this restaurant is the first organically certified restaurant in the country, and their philosophy is very modest and wholesome. As Claudia Carrara, a founding member states: “We are not a high-end culinary project, but a family who believes in food”. This philosophy really translates into their menu, as the food is not of the fussy, pretentious variety, but instead aims at homely, genuinely good grub that you can eat guilt-free knowing that every ingredient has come from a conscious place.
This could not be missed out on the guide for the best vegan desserts as they simply are too good. Their deserts not only not use milk, eggs, cream, and butter, but they also are free from refined sugar, so you can guarantee eating dessert is actually super healthy. Some include their vegan tiramisu, their brunch yogurt pot, their coconut flan, raw vegan cheesecake, and pure dark chocolate cake. As an alternative to eggs and milk, they tend to use cashew nuts, flax seeds, and chia seeds.
Information: Bio Solo Orgánico | Humboldt 2192 | Open every day 10.30 AM to 12 AM| Website available here.
This really is an Argentine vegan’s heaven. This 100% vegan pastry shop has everything from alfajores in Havana style, to facturas (long and thin crispy croissants, for the not-in-the-know), brownies, croissants, and sweet loaves. The shop is set up in a beautiful Parisian-style way, with decadent, artisanal French vibes. The prices certainly are not the cheapest, but they are not totally mismatched, especially when you take into consideration the expense of using dairy-free milk alternatives and coconut oils instead of butter. It really is the perfect spot to recreate your cravings if you’re a strict vegan, as their croissants and bakery products really do taste as good.
Information: Sablée Vegana | Conde 2399 | Belgrano | Open Tuesday – Saturday 10 AM – 7 PM | Their Instagram is available here.
Buenos Aires Verde
This is again a typical health-fanatic spot as they provide organic, vegan and vegetarian food alike. The majority of their food is raw, and they play with flavors through introducing non-raw food on their menu with a twist. For example, try their raw curry, or their raw raspberry cake (seen below). Their chef Mauro Massimino aims to devote his time to preparing completely organic food free of agro-toxic ingredients. He uses different, innovative cooking techniques to avoid getting rid of the key nutrients, or coating veggies and goodness with fats. His new menu has just been updated, so get ready to have your mind blown with their new sundae which is full to the brim with vegan cookies, red fruit compote, fresh seasonal fruit, activated almonds, and passionfruit sorbet.
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Combinamos conocimiento y sabor en esta deliciosa torta raw de frambuesa. ? ¡Acompañala con tu licuado favorito! Podés armar tu licuado de mango, durazno o pera, con base de jugo de naranja, leche de coco o almendras, y agregarle un suplemento como maca, polen y espirulina. ? ¡Es ideal para disfrutar en la tarde del fin de semana, te esperamos! *Como utilizamos alimentos frescos y orgánicos o libres de agrotóxicos, por favor sepan disculpar las molestias si en el momento no disponemos de alguno de ellos. ? . . . . . #BuenosAiresVerde #AlimentaciónInteligente #RestauranteOrgánico #Vegetariano #Vegano #Raw #Orgánico #RawFood #LifeFood #ComidaViva #PasteleriaRaw #RestauranteVegetariano #Apertura #BuenosAires #Palermo #Belgrano #AlimentaciónSana
Information: Buenos Aires Verde | Gorriti 5657 | Open Monday- Saturday 9 AM – 12 AM | Closed Sundays | Website available here.