We arrived mid-day on September 17th, and everything went smoothly as planned on our first day, except for the unusually cold weather. The 2-bedroom loft is located in Retiro district (or Barrio in Argentinian), which is home to many high-end stores and residential areas. The city of Buenos Aires is divided in 48 barrios (neighborhoods/districts).
The reputable Argentinian-Swedish vegan fast food restaurant, Picnic is a 15 minutes walk away and another vegan cafe Vita Vegano Cafe is a 25 minutes walk away.
The Retiro district is also home to numerous five star hotels, including the Four Seasons, Marriott Plaza, Sheraton, and Sofitel. Initially, we wanted to stay somewhere near Chinatown (aka Belgrano District), where vegan products are accessible at the Asian supermarkets, but we had decided to go with the loft for the price and the large space. We rented the loft on Airbnb.
vita cafe, buenos aires, argentina
On our first unusually chilly evening, we wanted some hot meals and it was a 25-minute walk to a vegan Vita Cafe. All the menu items are 100% vegan and inexpensive. The cafe also has a very tiny health/food store section and a online store that sells organic and natural vegan products. They also carry Mi Soja products: vegan mayonnaise, cheese spreads and salad dressings (Thousand Islands, Majestic, Caesar). A commentary on Happy Cow stated that the Vita Cafe owners are the old owners of Picnic (reviewed below).
Here is the updated menu in Spanish. Please note that not all hot dishes are available daily, they also have daily specials. One of the staff spoke English, so always ask! For instance, the risotto wasn’t available that day 🙁
Hot Plates $36 (~ 6.25 USD)
Here is what I’ve translated so far:
1. Lasagna con Zuccini, Berenjena, Tofu, y Queso Vegan de Cajú
Lasagna with Zucchini, Eggplant, Tofu, and Vegan Cashew Cheese
2. Milanesa de Soja Organica, Lenteja o Hamburguesa Yamaní con Salada Mixta o Pure
Organic Breaded Soy Schnitzel, Lentils or Yamaní (rice) Hamburger with Mixed Salad or Mash
3. Risotto con Crema de Zanahoria Champiñones y Almendras Tostadas
Creamy Carrot & Mushroom Risotto and Toasted Almonds
4. Wok Chino, Tallarines con Verduras de Estación
Chinese Noodles with Seasonal Vegetables
5. Tofu a la Mostaza con Puré o Ensalada Mixta
Mustard Tofu with Mash or Mixed Salad
Salads $34 (~ 6 USD)
All salads come with dressing (Vienen con aderezo!)
1. Dulce: Mix de verdes, Calabaza asada, Tomate cherry, Burgol, Castaña de Cajú
Sweet: Mixed Greens, Roasted Pumpkin, Cherry Tomatoes, Bulgur, Cashew Nuts
2. Asada: Mix de Verdes, Tofu Salteado, Calabaza, Zuccini, Y Berenjena Asada, Cherry
Grilled: Mixed Greens, Sautéed Tofu, Squash, Zucchini, and Grilled Eggplant. I don’t know the last one, it could be cherries or cherry tomatoes.
3. Nuna: Mix De Verdes, Brocoli, Tomate, Choclo, Zanahoria Rallada, Lentejas
Soul: Mixed Greens, Broccoli, Tomatoes, Corn, Shredded Carrots, Lentils
4. Viva: Palta, Zanahoria, Brotes, Mix de Verdes y Semillas de Sésamo Integral
Live: Avocado, Carrots, Sprouts, Mixed Greens and Sesame Seeds
5. Tabouleh: De Trigo, Tomate, Pepino, Verdeo y Jugo de Limón
Tabbouleh: Wheat, Tomato, Cucumber, Green Onions and Lemon Juice
Vita Cafe: They have a small bakery section filled with vegan desserts including the cupcakes, cheesecakes and tarts.
Vita Cafe: Vegan cakes & cupcakes
Vita Cafe: Vegan ice creams and interiors
Vita Cafe: Smoothies ($24, ~ 4.20 usd) and Juices ($22, ~ 3.82 usd)
Vita Cafe: We wanted the risotto, but it wasn’t available for the evening. We had a vegan fugazetta with homemade vegan cashew cheese, roasted onions and olives. It was pretty tasty. Fugazetta is a very traditional Argentinian pizza of a thick crust with melting cheese and roasted onions. It wasn’t on the menu, but one of their specials. It is cheaper than the lasagna – $28 (~4.90 usd), not bad for a vegan Argentinian pizza!
Vita Cafe: We had Lasagna with Zucchini, Eggplant, Tofu, and Vegan Cashew Cheese (Lasagna con Zuccini, Berenjena, Tofu, y Queso Vegan de Cajú) and it came with this yummy potato mash – so creamy and savory. The vegan cashew cheese was garnished with sesame seeds. The dish costs $36 (~ 6.25 USD), which is a pretty good deal.
picnic, buenos aires, argentina
Located in Microcentro on Florida Street, Picnic is the first vegan fast food restaurant in central Buenos Aires, started by an Argentine-Swedish couple (unfortunately they left and opened a 2nd restaurant, Vita Cafe as featured above). The restaurant is massive, with three floors and has plenty of space to accommodate 120 patrons. They make all their food on-site using fresh and local produces daily with a Scandinavian twist. The menu items included a variety of sandwiches and salads, including hummus wraps, baked goods and beverages. According to The Argentina Independent (July 18, 2012), Picnic plans to open five new locations, in Palermo Viejo, Belgrano, Retiro, and Barrio Norte in the next two years. A commentary on Happy Cow stated that the Vita Cafe owners (the one reviewed above) are the old owners of Picnic.
I haven’t tried their menu items yet, except for their vegan tiramisu. I will try one of them sometimes this month.
Picnic: Vegan Tiramisu $20 (3.47 usd). It is all right, I wish it had a bit of coffee and rum/liqueur. Without them, it just tastes like whipped cream.
green eat natural, buenos aires, argentina
We stumbled upon Green Eat randomly on our first evening. The Green Eat is at Galerías Pacífico, a shopping centre in Buenos Aires, Argentina, located at the intersection of Florida Street and Córdoba Avenue.
There are several locations:
1. Reconquista 690
2. Uruguay 703
3. Av. Santa Fe 1661
4. Galerías Pacífico Local 1-32 (Viamonte 575)
5. Dot Patio de Comidas local 14
We went to the fourth location. We might check out their other locations, too this month.
We found one vegan option: Roasted Eggplant, Baked Onions + Black Olives + Tomato + Fresh + Hummus with Mixed Greens Sandwich (Berenjenas Asadas + Cebolla al Horno + Aceitunas Negras + Tomate Fresco + Hummus, con Mix de Verdes en Pan Liviano de Centeo y Trigo). It costs $36 (~6.25 USD). I haven’t tried the sandwich yet, but it’s good to know that there is a vegan option at Green Eat.