Best Vegan Restaurants In La Paz, Bolivia
As in other cities around the world, vegan consumption is growing in several cities in Bolivia. If you had visited La Paz a few years ago, it would have been very hard for you to find vegan options to eat.
But nowadays, you can spot someone offering a vegan option almost anywhere in the city, nestled in the Andes Mountains. (La Paz is the highest elevation capital city in the world.)
One can find fast food, national food, street food, healthy food, or even gourmet food that is not made with animal products. This is happening because of many factors, like the recognition of animals as sentient beings; the local culture that understands the environment as mother nature; the return of ancient foods (that don’t include animals), or the recent pandemic that is making people eat more vegetables and less meat.
La Paz is the third-largest city in Bolivia, where the vegan movement is growing nonstop. Here, people have a rule about purchases: it has to be “Bueno, bonito, barato” (good, beautiful, cheap).
Situated in a valley between the Andes and the Altiplano and next to Lake Titicaca and the Yungas rainforest, La Paz provides an incredible abundance of year-round, local produce.
Markets line the streets daily with colourful displays of every type of fruit you could want – from apples and pears to mangoes and passionfruit, plus fruits I’ve never before seen, Bolivia has it all. And, if the plant is native to Bolivia, it’s grown without GMOs as dictated by the Law of Mother Earth enacted in 2012.
As the recent fires in the Amazon make clear, we need to drastically reduce our red meat consumption to combat the climate crisis. Our food choices have a direct, far-reaching impact; one of the key causes of the fires is the ‘slash-and-burn’ deforestation techniques used by cattle ranchers.
But by reducing our red meat intake, and generally being more ethical consumers, we can drastically reduce our global impact. Veganism, a lifestyle in which one does not use or eat any animal products, is one route toward this.
The Economist called 2019 ‘the year of the vegan,’ in which more people embraced the plant-based lifestyle. A 2016 Nielsen survey on food preferences discovered that vegetarians made up eight percent and vegans four percent of the population across Latin America.
But what about Bolivia? Bolivia is rich in natural products and cultivates an immense number of traditional grains (including quinoa, amaranth and cañahua) as well as boasting a large variety of beans and seeds.
From vegan fast food to café culture and fine dining, there is a growing number of vegan options in Bolivia to suit any preference and budget. For commercial (as well as ethical) reasons, more restaurants are now offering vegan dishes too; they don’t want to miss out on business.
Even the supermarkets seem to be catching on and offering more vegan food alternatives, such as plant-based milk substitutes and tofu. With an ever-increasing number of vegetarians and vegans in Bolivia, La Paz is a haven for vegan eats. Here are a few of the options for eating in and dining out. With so many on offer, which will you try?
Vrentino Baking & Co.
This American bakery sells wonderful vegan donuts (Vegan Flamenco), and other bread and pastries, too. Plus, you can take a class on making vegan desserts.
Hailing from Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Vrentino is the only “Vegan Cafe” in La Paz that has been certified by the Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG), the Vegan Association of Latin America (APVEA), and the Bolivian Network of Vegan Cuisine (BNVC).
It is located in the city’s very center (about a 40-minute walk from the airport), and is open Monday to Friday, 8 am to 1 pm. Vrentino offers a vegetarian menu, and is known for the homemade cakes and biscuits made by the chef – everything is gluten-free.
This street food restaurant offers vegans a menu of traditional Bolivian food, like Cha Quebo, Lima, which is a sautéed cauliflower stew. It also serves other authentic Bolivian dishes, such as Pasta alla Chicha, a steamed dish that you dip into boiled plantains.
This foodie place offers a great vegan menu. A happy hour is offered between 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. with two options: unlimited yucca shots for $4, or avocado margaritas for $5. The four-course menu includes an appetizer with papas bravas and spinach; the first course has grilled potatoes with soy cheese and avocado.
The main course has marinated tofu with vegetables, beans, and chickpeas; and the dessert is a vegan yogurt and fruit plate with banana and granola. Make sure to mention you are vegan at check-in because the food costs extra.
Capuchino is one of the best vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants in La Paz. In the restaurant, there are a lot of good-looking meals and products, and those who eat meat, chicken, or fish are welcome to eat at the same table as vegans. There is even a vegan-only dessert menu.
One of the highlights is a dish called “Chunky” which consists of layers of plant-based ingredients with a little black bean sauce, covered with a soft, sweet and spicy tortilla, and topped with a delicious avocado sauce.
In addition to this, there is another dish called “Salsa de Carne de Pecado” which is a black bean sauce topped with vegan cheese and on the side, there is a piece of french fries.
One of the best places to get vegan comfort food is at Nim, an Italian restaurant located in the center of La Paz. Guests order individual dishes of chicken, fish, or vegetables. The food is prepared with local ingredients, such as breadfruit, potatoes, and quinoa.
If you like to do your own cooking and enjoy local staples such as ají de gallina, a delicious chili pepper, and guaraná, a natural sweetener, Nim’s is the first vegan restaurant in La Paz. Everything is prepared fresh and is meant to be shared with friends and family.
Nim is one of the most famous vegetarian restaurants in the city. The menu was created by two vegetarians who wanted to create “healthy food that tastes good.” They give their customers the chance to choose from three different meals, or four, and they have a vegan option that has the same flavour as meat. It is recommended to make your reservations as early as possible, as this popular vegan restaurant is always fully booked.
Azul Marino is a vegan bakery in La Paz, founded by Olivia Ordoñez, who left the food industry seven years ago due to animal abuse in her previous job. She first worked for Bunnings Bakery in Lima, Peru, where she trained the head baker in vegan baking techniques.
She loved the experience but had to leave after just one year. “I always felt there was something missing. I asked myself, ‘What is that?’ And I realized that it was the animals. I knew I couldn’t do that anymore,” she tells Clean Plates. She quit and left Lima, never to return.
Foodies and tourists are not the only ones that love Azul Marino. Santiago residents are equally amazed by the bar’s nutrition and taste. It is a part of the Quilmeña Group that is located in the city. So far, it has 17 restaurants around Santiago. Azul Marino has the top spot on the list of the best vegan restaurants in Santiago because of its famous dishes, such as the Tuna tostada, Crispy Pizza, and vegan pizza, among others.
This restaurant is located in the hip Colonia Chihuahua, which has a famous mall with everything for those who are trendy and the common person. Doce Cuarenta serves super cheap food, such as mashed avocado with fresh tomato, onion, red chilli, garlic, bread crumbs, and melted vegan cheese. It is delicious.
They have more unusual appetizers, such as hot pretzels, vegan sour cream, and vegan cheese, as well as sandwiches with plantain and cashew cheese. The cashew cheese is also offered with cashew mozzarella. If you can not find anything on their menu, just ask for vegan. They always have some new options, like plantain chips.
This restaurant has been named among the best 20 vegan restaurants in the world. Doce Cuarenta was founded in La Paz in 2009 by vegan chefs Daniel Tavera and Cristina Mulás. The two are modern and creative, making full use of local ingredients and traditions. The place is known for its high-quality local food, especially vegan/gluten-free.
As the name suggests, this place sells mostly foods from the Andes, especially from La Paz. This is where a lot of vegetarians buy their groceries. The current owner, Mario García, tells us that his restaurant has been giving vegan food to the public for more than seven years now.
Dulce Romero Panaderia & Organicos
Dulce Romero serves delicious fresh vegan food. They also have vegan products, so customers can add vegan ingredients to their food. They offer tamales, different pastries, and sweets.
Dulce Romero also hosts workshops in their kitchen to educate people about the vegan movement and eat vegan in a way that is tasty and accessible.
Dulce Romero has vegan cake, made with cassava flour, lemon, and orange juice. They also have a variety of coffee, teas, and organic juices. Dulce Romero is located in La Paz.
A darling of La Paz, Dulce Romero has been specializing in vegan options for more than 20 years. The baked goods and cakes are famous throughout the city, and the owner’s milk also adds to the health benefits.
This upscale vegetarian restaurant is located in a small, intimate square, the perfect spot for tourists and locals to enjoy authentic, vegan Bolivian dishes.
Just one look at the brightly painted walls of the restaurant will offer a huge menu of dishes like varenyky (sauerkraut wrapped cabbage dumplings), yuca (a root tuber) and pumpkin fritters, not to mention a nice selection of juices. The fresh vegetables and olive oil are also much appreciated.
Pa’ Bolivar is a rather new restaurant serving vegan options, but it is always very crowded! The owners are from Italy and are also committed to animal rights. Although they offer more expensive food, it is worth it for delicious pizzas with vegetables and meat.
A little different from the others. This establishment sells all kinds of vegan food. You can order a vegan pizza or salad, and you can take it home with you. This place is worth checking out because you can enjoy vegan options with a little bit of tradition.
La Clarita Café
La Clarita Café is located near the cathedral in downtown La Paz. It’s one of the oldest restaurants in the city. Although there are only three tables in this small restaurant, you can order three courses, and it can take an hour to finish.
This café, which is a chain, offers a wide variety of plant-based options. Their original menu is vegan, but they offer vegetarian as well.
Their other locations have a wider selection as well. They have a little fruit stand in front of their café, which has plenty of fresh, ripe, and seasonal fruits. The salads are well-prepared, made with local products and with fresh ingredients.
This café is built on the belief that food should be nutritious and tasty, as well as cost-efficient. Monsun makes their plant-based food with organic ingredients, and that’s why their plates look like those of traditional, peasant cuisine.
They have a wide range of hot foods, from spicy chilli to fresh salads and soups. The servers can also take your order, or you can just go to the counter and order.
If you are looking for a vegan restaurant in La Paz that is modern and trendy, then Monsun is the place for you. Its food is delicious, creative, and is 100 percent vegan. They offer a typical dish in this area, the shoyu tatsoi and sautéed vegetables.
Other dishes include vegan tacos with ingredients like arugula, zucchini, and avocado, or the crispy sweet potato, with a yogurt sauce and mushrooms. If you want to stay in good company, order the cold kale salad (very fresh), and the two daily vegan dinners.
The Vegan Market
There’s a big vegan market in La Paz, which can be found in the La Balsa market and in the largest market. The quality of the food here is very good, and there are many things to see. The store sells snacks, drinks, fruits, vegetables, soy products, meat substitutes, and many other things.
By the market, we mean the Mercado de San Francisco. This place, filled with vegetarian food, has a special focus on the vegan version. They have a selection of soy products, of course. But they have fresh juices, organic foods, candies, cookies, etc.
There is a restaurant here, named The Vegan Cafe, which offers vegan burgers, pizzas, and more. In The Vegan Cafe, you can eat with a tablecloth and use your laptop.
The menu is well-designed. There are big blocks, dots, and arrows that make a sandwich, to bring more diversity to what you can choose.
You also can order a take-away box, which is so much more practical for people who travel alone, in case they want to eat something vegan and can’t find the ingredients they want in the area.
Mango Blues is owned by chef Evald Malo and his wife Olga, who cooked for many years in Brazil. Besides the three vegan options on their menu, they offer a vegetarian burger called “Patatina,” made with a gluten-free bun, veggies, and vegan mayo.
You can also find Mediterranean and “Latin American” food on their menu; most meals are accompanied by a pintxo. Mango Blues serves a wide variety of cocktails as well and has an excellent patio for lounging.
No other restaurant is more highly rated among the many cafes, restaurants, and food stalls in Plaza Independencia (“the two plazas”). They serve organic and international foods, using every food ingredient locally available and a well-balanced mix of meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables.
This restaurant is famous for its milanesas (tender breaded fried potatoes), quinoa burritos, and carne asada burritos. Its full menu, with plenty of vegetables and other proteins, is on its site. Prana also has a bar, and they offer organic juices, teas, and “plant-based coffee.” They offer catering and catering for events, including birthdays.
With branches in the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra and Cuenca, Paraguay, Prana is becoming known as the first vegetarian/vegan supermarket in Latin America. Everything there is vegan: the juices, the protein, the cosmetics, the kitchen products, the bakery, the pastries, the bread, the breakfast products, and the snacks.
Trio is the first vegan restaurant in La Paz. They offer organic and imported food, along with the vegan cake. The food is made with fresh and organic products, without harming animals. It is a little expensive, but very delicious.
Almendra Vegan Market
If you are one of those people who feel frustrated at not finding vegan options in places you go often, like McDonald's, then you will be amazed to find all kinds of vegan products here. Almendra is one of the biggest markets, offering both national and international products for all occasions.
If you want a very diverse selection of vegan products, then Almendra is the place for you. You can get everything you need, from ice cream to soy milk to breakfast cereals to snacks. The best thing about this place is that the products are cheap, and you will find most of them at Almendra!
Nomada Organics Y Gourmet
Of all the vegan restaurants in La Paz, Nomada Organics y Gourmet, (Nomada means “grow”) is the best one. This vegan restaurant was founded by a local Bolivian couple who decided that they didn’t want to live an omnivorous life, and therefore veganism was the right way for them to live.
The founders realized that Bolivians eat a lot of chicken, and chicken is very expensive, so they decided to start a vegan restaurant where people could eat delicious, healthy and affordable vegan meals.
Amarilis Vegan Café
The first vegan café in La Paz, Amarilis is one of the best examples of vegan cuisine in La Paz. In the kitchen, there are three young chefs, who cook delicious vegan meals that are popular among locals and international tourists.
Lupito Cocina Vegana
If there is one place in La Paz where you can find good vegan food in a cheap, family-run restaurant, it would be Lupito Cocina Vegana. The restaurant has been open for five years now, by Horacio and Martha Enriquez. It serves dishes made with a plant-based diet such as quinoa and sweet potato stew with vegetables, or traditional tamales, among many others.
There is an interior that gives you the feeling of a kitchen; the colours are bright, with dark wooden walls, and an industrial look that invites one to stay for a while. Don’t worry if you don’t speak Spanish, because the waitress speaks English. They are often crowded, but not too much so.
This café, located in front of Plaza Mayor, serves a wide variety of vegan dishes, like pájaros de tiburón (shrimp with pineapple), pane de bacalao (baked cod), sofrito de papas (peas and potato stew), and pesto criolla. For drink lovers, the café has a great selection of drinks like limón, Pisco, or “suage”.
Every once in a while, we need to change our perspective to see new and exciting things in a normal city. In places where the majority of people do not have a way of living without eating meat, vegans are growing in numbers.
Unfortunately, it is still seen as strange and exotic in the cities of the world, but with some creative adjustments, things are very different.
We, as vegans, have the responsibility to help bring about change in our culture and spread awareness of the importance of giving all animals a voice. Vegan living does not have to be difficult; it’s simple and positive and fun, and if you’re ready, here is where to eat in Bolivia.
I trust you enjoyed this article about the Best Vegan Restaurants In La Paz, Bolivia. Please stay tuned for more blog posts to come shortly. Take care!
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