Argentina’s Iconic Cuisine Is Changing — Here Are 13 Standout Plant-based Eateries in Buenos Aires

Celebrity chef Francis Mallmann is on board, too.

Pair of photos from restaurants in Buenos Aires, including a modern dining room, and a vegetarian dish
From left: Mudrá, a vegetarian restaurant in the Villa Crespo neighborhood; a sunchoke mille-feuille at Sacro, in Palermo. Photo:


For more than a century, high-quality grass-fed beef has been the gastronomic calling card of Argentina. But in Buenos Aires, chefs are catering to a growing number of vegetarians — and as a result, plant-focused eateries are cropping up all over the capital city.

“I’ve been sending my vegetarian clients to the same places for years,” says Maita Barrenechea, a Travel + Leisure A-list advisor based in Buenos Aires. She cites her long-running favorites, Donnetwhich specializes in mushrooms, and Sacro, known for its haute vegan cuisine and pleasant patio. “But now, there are many new options to choose from,” she adds.

Even Argentina’s most revered grillmaster, Francis Mallmann, published his first vegetarian cookbook, Green Fire, last year at the behest of his fan base. “Over the years, I’ve received so many messages from young people, saying ‘Chef, I love your work, but I don’t eat meat or fish,’ so I decided to make that book for them,” Mallmann explained over the phone.

The hottest establishment in Buenos Aires is Martia meatless fine-dining spot that opened in December 2021 from acclaimed (and now vegetarian) restaurateur Germán Martitegui in the tony Recoleta neighborhood. The airy, terrarium-like venue is lined with tall plants behind glass panes, while a buzzy 60-person bar frames the open kitchen. Diners can watch as chefs prepare seasonal sharing plates, such as pineapple carpaccio, sprinkled with marigold powder and black garlic, and cured beetroot with smoky ricotta.

“Taking meat off the menu has challenged me to innovate with different spices, textures, and contrasts,” Martitegui told me in his restaurant one evening. In the wine cellar, he cultivates five varieties of fungi, which he cooks, ferments, or dehydrates for Marti’s dishes, like the mushroom shawarma or cheese soufflé.

Outdoor dining space of restaurant Sacro, in Buenos Aires
Sacro's plant-shaded patio.

Courtesy of Sacro

A short drive away, in the Palermo neighborhood, is Bocha, a food hall in the Campo Argentino de Polo stadium. Two stalls are standouts: Narda para Epicúreo House from celebrity chef Narda Lepes, highlights fresh produce — like her tomato and peach salad with cucumber, mint, harissa, and yogurt — while Planta Cocina Vegetal offers riffs on traditional recipes, like locro, an Andean stew incorporating pumpkin, white corn, and lima beans. Nearby, Amador takes a global approach, from mushrooms cooked using the French en papillote technique and seasoned with Indian spices to couscous wrapped in grape leaves alongside grilled cauliflower and cashew yogurt. Two new fast-food joints are ideal for a pre- or post-night-out snack: Lado V serves veggie burgers with mushroom ketchup, while Vegan Fox sells vegan “chicken” nuggets.

The city is also attracting international players. Los Angeles-based chef Matthew Kenney, who manages vegetarian restaurants all over the world, and creative director Ailin Malimowcka partnered with local restaurateur Marcelo Boer in 2020 to open Mudrá, a design-forward space on a rooftop in the Villa Crespo neighborhood. The menu skews Japanese-Peruvian, with bites like shiitake sushi and inside-out kale rolls. Takeaway options are available at Mudrá Express, Mudra’s more casual sister location in the Retiro neighborhood: portobello empanadas, truffle pizza, lentil burgers, and a selection of veggie sushi. At Chuí, another meat-free haunt in Villa Crespo, locals sup chestnut-infused Campari Negronis at the bar and graze on in-season dishes like mushroom pâté and clay-oven potato-confit pizza, served in an open-air industrial hangar and its adjacent tropical garden that was previously a gravel parking lot for a blacksmith shop.

Dessert is part of the movement, too. Less than a 10-minute walk from Chuí, Vegan Creamery by Halauni scoops a range of ice cream flavors made with coconut milk, from banana split to raspberry. And in the residential neighborhood of Belgrano, Sablée Vegana offers riffs on such traditional confections as medialunas (sugar-brushed croissants), churros, and alfajores (sandwich cookies filled with dulce de leche). Get there early or order in advance — the pastries sell out quickly.

A version of this story first appeared in the April 2023 issue of Travel + Leisure under the headline "Garden and Grill."

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