Being vegetarian in Santiago is somewhat of a challenge. Walking down the street and into various restaurants, one may think that vegetarian fare is slim pickings or that there’s a general lack of knowledge of vegetarian food: a pre-made vegetarian sandwich often contains ham; since when is a product of pig made out of vegetables?!
(img 7339 Mauro Tapia - Cafe del Patio)
Luckily, there is a world of undiscovered, meat-free delicacies in the Chilean capital. In terms of completely vegetarian or vegan restaurants, there are but a few, but upon request in most places, a veg-friendly meal is usually attainable. If, however, this does not satiate a diner’s dream of a menu full of vegetables, tofu and other options, we recommend a visit to the following examples of completely carne-free places:
El Huerto/ La Huerta:
El Huerto exceeds all expectations for a vegetarian option in Santiago. It has been around for 30 years and has been consistently producing amazing dishes, with an emphasis on organic, worldly ingredients.
(img 6046 Ana Topoleanu El Huerto)
Their cuisine includes Mediterranean, Mexican, Middle-eastern and traditional Chilean dishes --all of them delicious. What’s more, they have vegan and raw food options. For those with any dietary restrictions, this remarkable restaurant will more than satisfy. The earthy, hearty food will make anyone feel vibrant and healthful.
Also, attached to the main El Huerto is La Huerta- a smaller café for on-the-go lunches or menús, which include 3 parts of sandwich or salad, beverage, and a dessert. Something that should not be forgotten in both parts of the restaurant is their array of enticing desserts including cheesecakes, panna cotta, brownies, ice cream and more --all made with fresh, authentic, usually organic ingredients.
Note: Another restaurant similar to this is El Naturista, with three locations in Santiago: Moneda 846 (in Santiago Centro), Huérfanos 1046 (in Santiago Centro) and Rosario Norte 530 (in Las Condes). This restaurant is also completely vegetarian and has sandwiches, salads, empanadas and other fresh and natural dishes.
Café del Patio:
Although this restaurant isn’t completely vegetarian, the few seafood dishes do not inhibit the plentiful vegetable delicacies. Furthermore, it’s a dream for a Pescetarian (a vegetarian who eats fish)! Café del Patio is on the classier side, which means it’s a bit more expensive, but worth it for the quality of food and the accompaniment of a full bar.
(img 7345 Mauro Tapia Cafe del Patio)
The patio is a refreshing area to enjoy lunch or dinner. It is adorned with hanging plants and an open ambience. The inside is nice as well, with a darker, more intimate mood, a bar and rustic tables. Dining inside, or in the patio area, is more than an agreeable experience.
Their specialties include a variety of sautéed vegetables and a unique touch, which is the addition of almonds, sautéed tofu and seitan, shrimp dishes and a variety of cheese, tofu, veggies, or salmon sandwiches. They also have an appetizer menu with Mexican cuisine, tofu, shrimp and numerous cheeses.
The food and pleasing atmosphere makes Café del Patio quite a charming dining option for vegetarians.
Govinda’s Restaurant Vegeteriano:
Govinda’s is more of a fast-food (but still healthy) restaurant, with American, Indian and Western fare. Their menu includes veggie burgers, tofu dishes, salads, fresh fruit juice and desserts. For their daily specials, they offer various dishes such as dhal with peas, vegetable pies, pastas, stews, croquettes, gnocchi and lasagna.
(img 7522 mauro tapia Godvinda)
Basically, it is quick, inexpensive, vegetarian food with variety without sacrificing taste.
Note: In the same vein as this restaurant are Krishna (Av. Providencia 2169, Metro: Los Leones) and Syam (Av. Apoquindo 3315, Las Condes), also located in Santiago and both owned by Hare Krishnas.
Know of another hidden vegetarian gem in Santiago? Please share it with us below!
El Huerto/La Huerta
Orrego Luco 054, Av. Providencia
Telephone: (56-02) 233 2690
Metro: Pedro de Valdivia
Price: CP $3,000- $7,000 (US $5.50- $13.00)
Café del Patio
Av. Providencia 1670
Telephone: 236 12 51
Metro: Pedro de Valdivia
Price: CP $3,000-$8,000 (US $5.50- $15.00)
Av. Ricardo Cumming 634
Telephone: (02) 695 6367
Price: CP $500-$3,000 (US $1.00-$5.50)