We aren’t fluent in Spanish, far from it. We have a decent grasp on the vocabulary and the patience to try and learn and figure things out as we go. We are capable of reading labels and making our way through cities like Mexico City with relative ease though. It may seem a bit challenging to be vegan in Latin America, but in our experience it hasn’t been too difficult if you have a basic grasp of the language. Naturally, just like anywhere else in the world, you can’t assume that cooked vegetables, rice or beans are vegan since there’s often a case for hidden ingredients like manteca, dairy or non-vegan broths being used. So if you’re not entirely comfortable with the language, it’s wise to start with a vegetarian or vegan restaurant first.
Yug Vegetariano was the first Mexican vegetarian restaurant I went to because it was within a short walking distance from my apartment in Zona Rosa. I found the restaurant name through a few vegan blogs plus Happy Cow. My first impression was that this restaurant was clean, a bit overstaffed and very retro-looking since it was built in the early 1960s and retained a lot of the original design. It’s apparently the oldest vegetarian restaurant in Mexico City.
Yug Vegetariano Location & Hours & Notes
- Varsovia 3-b Col. Juarez México D.F. . A block from Angel de la Independencia, and corner of Paseo de la Reforma.
- Monday to Friday from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm | Saturday & Sunday from 8:30 am to 8:00 pm
- Buffet from Monday to Saturday from 1pm to 5pm. I have not tried it yet! It serves a variety of salads, 3 stews, 2 soups, appetizers and desserts as well as a complimentary beverage.
- Be prepared to speak Spanish as much as you can since the staff speak Spanish.
- They do lunch & dinner combo meals.
- Most beverages, small meals and main plates vary from $2 to $7, which is slightly cheaper than the American meals
The staff only spoke Spanish and they spoke very quickly, but they understood our limited Spanish and happily took our orders. The vegetarian restaurant serves complimentary bread slices with real butter, so be sure to give that a pass if you’re vegan. We had to ask which vegetarian plates come without cheese (queso) or eggs (huevos). The waiter understood us, and pointed out the lunch combo meal (salad, soup, main plate and dessert) and there was always at least one vegan option for each course.
Yug Vegetariano Menu
The lunch combo specials are not listed on general menu. You will need to choose one appetizer, one soup, one main course and one dessert to fulfill a set menu combo meal. Doni and I shared a lunch combo so we could sample a bit of everything.
Here’s the translation from the lunch/dinner combo as pictured above:
Appetizer (All are 100% vegan):
Aztec (Aztec soup can be made vegan without cheese.)
Mexican Enchiladas ($ 85)
Tacos al pastor or marinated vegetarian meat tacos ($ 77) (Can be vegan without cheese)
Funghi Mushroom steamed in a foil, usually prepared with LOADS of cheese ($ 77)
Corn cake ($ 67)
Amaranth Pudding (NOT VEGAN)
Mango and Mint ($ 9) (Vegan)
Apple ($ 24) (Vegan)
Lunch-Dinner Combo at Yug Vegetariano
Ordering the set-menu combo is a better value than ordering à la carte and it’s a nice way to try a variety of dishes. The set menu was $77 (pesos) for oriental salad, Aztec soup, tacos al pastor and a jello dessert. It also came with freshly made salsa verde (Green Salsa), which had a nice tartness to it. The jello dessert was orange-flavored. I thought it was okay, at least it’s vegan!
Complimentary Salsa Verde: This green salsa was fresh and tart, a lovely little accompaniment to our meal.
Oriental Salad: Served with soy sauce, which I found a bit odd and slightly overpowering. I never really eat soy sauce with a fresh salad. I would probably choose the steamed vegetables or tropical fruit salad next time.
Azteca Sopa or Aztec Soup: The soup was made without the usual cheese on top. It reminded me of a light tortilla soup, but came with the creamiest avocado slices, onions, peppers and lastly, an awesome vegan chicharrón (pork rind). That was my first time to try a vegan chicharrón. This was one of my favorite dishes at Yug Vegetariano!
Tacos Al Pastor: That main dish was Doni’s favorite. The vegan shredded and marinated seitan tasted sweet and not too spicy at all, but the addition of fresh cilantro and chopped red onions rounded out the flavors perfectly! It also came with a small dish of seasoned black beans (not refried). I really enjoyed the black beans that were served with this dish but also would have loved if there had been a bit of avocado as well. If you dress them with the complimentary salsa verde, you are good to go though!
Carnitas vegetarianas con guacamole y frijolitos refritos ($63)
That main plate was from the general menu. I was dying for guacamole because of the Aztec soup I had with the creamiest avocado slices. I wanted to try more of their avocados! So I ended up with this dish: Soy Meat with refried beans and guacamole with freshly made corn tortillas (they were slightly bigger than the lunch combo’s main plate). The plate was huge and I could see why the set menu was cheaper since the portion was discernibly smaller.
I’ve tried a lot of soy meat before, but this one was so different! The soy meat tasted very greasy and super salty like it had been braised and fried. But it was supposed to be that way since real meat for this dish should also be salty. Individually I may not have loved the soy meat, but when combined with the guacamole and beans it made a delicious and savory taco.