In a country whose unofficial national dish is the bandeja paisa - a meat-heavy platter that includes pork, ground beef and sausage – it can be a little difficult to find vegetarian-friendly fare. However, Colombia’s capital city, Bogotá, has a surprising number of restaurants dedicated to vegetarians and lovers of vegetarian cuisine. Here are our top five veggie picks:
- Boulevard Sésamo (Av. Jiminez, 4-64). A popular vegetarian haunt offering budget-priced lunches, Boulevard Sésamo has speedy service, a salad bar, vegan options and vegetarian versions of typical Colombian comfort food.
- La Esquina (Ca. 9, 60-91, Chapinero). A light and airy second-floor restaurant with impressively attentive service and some of the best vegetarian sancocho soup around (sancocho is a hearty stew that combines plantains, pumpkin, yucca, potatoes, garlic and cilantro). Packed with plenty of fresh herbs, La Esquina’s food is far from the insipid veggie stereotype.
- Loto Azul (Ca. 5a, 14-02, La Candelaria). For more than two decades Loto Azul has been serving up delightful vegetarian dishes to both Bogotanos and foreigners. Besides whipping up set-menus accompanied by a fresh salad bar, there’s vegetarian lasagnas, sandwiches and buffets.
- Pan de Nobles (Ca. 9, 60-91). Downstairs from La Esquina is Pan de Nobles, an excellent vegan bakery with a vegan take-out restaurant just across the road. Try the restaurant’s incredible vegan burgers.
- Quinua y Amaranto (Ca. 11,2-95). Located in the historic La Candelaria neighborhood, the charming and atmospherically decorated Quinua y Amaranto gets pretty packed due to its popularity. Great tortilla española (Spanish omelet) and balanced set menus.