When most people think of vegetarian food in Peru, quality and diversity aren’t usually the first things that come to mind.
But, seriously though, in 2018 this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Vegan and vegetarian food in Peru, especially in Cusco, is big business.
Not only that but the quality, freshness and high standard is enough to turn the most hardcore of meat lovers.
More and more travellers are choosing not to eat meat; and as such there is an increasing demand here for animal-friendly restaurants and non-dairy alternatives.
Significant growth is happening in this sector and as demand for vegetarian food in Peru skyrockets, more and more vegetarian (and vegan) restaurants are appearing across the country.
And not just any old vegetarian.
Seriously. Delicious. Food.
No more boring vegetarian food in Peru
Gone are the days when ordering vegetarian food in Peru means you just have to eat rice, or settle for beans and plain vegetables when everyone else around you is enjoying a feast.
I’ve been there. It’s not fun.
No, in Peru vegans and vegetarians have the opportunity to eat like royalty.
You want to eat like a king or queen?
Plenty of amazing options for you.
Not only that, but the food is also reasonably priced – organic goodness literally delivered onto your plate from the fields nearby.
There is a whole range of national dishes devoted to the cause.
Vegetarian National Dishes in Peru
Rocoto relleno vegetariano (stuffed bell peppers)
Here in Peru, they LOVE their bell peppers.
Hence they are prevalent in many vegetarian restaurants.
This dish is one of my personal favourites when it comes to vegetarian food in Peru.
It is essentially bell peppers stuffed with all kinds of deliciousness including zucchini, onions – and then with cheese melted on top.
Ingredients inside depend on the mood of the chef!
Papa a la Ocopa (potatoes with a nutty mint sauce)
This is a classic traditional potato dish found across the country.
Slightly similar to the Papas a la Huancaina, yet the main difference with this dish is the ‘huacatay’ (black mint), which gives it its unique taste.
It is also combined with peanuts and yellow chilli, making it pretty special.
This dish hails from the region of Arequipa; the famous ‘White City’.
Palta Jardinera (Stuffed avocado)
You will find variations of this dish everywhere.
At markets, in restaurants, yet essentially it will all be the same thing.
An avocado cut in half filled with all kinds of deliciousness.
Tomatoes, carrots, sometimes mayonnaise and, of course, more bell peppers are standard fillings.
Our favourite vegetarian places to eat in Cusco
Green Point, Carmen Bajo 235, Cusco
So, I may be a little biased on this one.
Because I have been eating here every day for the past week.
And I LOVE it.
Usually, I am bored with vegetarian food in two days.
It’s all the same.
Not only does this place have incredible 100% vegan food, but the service is also fantastic.
Also, you can get much-needed health supplies and plenty of delicious treats at their adjoining health food shop next-door.
Sure, the dining is a little cosy, but this provides a great opportunity to actually TALK to people (and make new friends), which is always welcome when you are a solo traveller.
Open for lunch and dinner – the real question is, what do you feel like?
Perhaps you want the all-inclusive lunch special for a bargain of 15 soles which gives you a salad bar, starter, main and dessert?
Or maybe you’ve heard about their delicious burgers or famous tacos?
The good news is we have convinced them to release a cookbook (and, I guarantee, that book will sell out).
Seriously though, the grilled platter, raw wrap, veggie lasagne, banana waffles and chocolate cake with raspberry sauce – it’s ALL to-die-for.
Or perhaps you just want an organic coffee with the choice of almond, brazil or coconut milk?
Could you get any more spoilt?
Another great thing about Green Point is that the food is so consistently good, it brings in a huge number of non-vegan diners.
Tip: Just a word of caution – they don’t accept bookings. And if you are doing lunch, you might want to get there before 1pm.
Vida Vegan Bistro, Siete Angelitos no. 619, San Blas, Cusco
This cosy vegan restaurant in Cusco’s trendy San Blas area offers some of the best food you are likely to find in the city.
With a totally vegan menu, everything is made in-house, from scratch and with love.
The staff are so friendly and welcoming and they even give you games, like Jenga, to play while you wait.
You can find traditional Peruvian dishes made vegan, soups, salads, pizzas, pastas and desserts available here.
The pizzas and pastas at Vida Vegan come with house-made vegan cheese and are absolutely sensational.
Highly recommend the lasagne bolognese and pesto ravioli.
Shaman Vegan Raw, B, Santa Catalina Ancha 366, Cusco
This cute little unassuming restaurant is just off the main street from Plaza de Armas.
Lots of awesome raw options – soups, salads, mains and beautiful desserts are all on offer here.
It also has possibly one of the coolest dining set ups I have ever seen – a huge quartz crystal inset in the middle of the dining table.
In addition, you’ll find really interesting spiritual books, so it’s well worth a visit.
Organika, Calle Resbalosa 410, Cusco
This little gem is hidden away from the main streets and as a result, it is a bit of a mission to find.
But it is absolutely worth the hunt.
Although not solely a vegan or vegetarian restaurant, it has so many food options it really needs to be on your list of ‘must’ places to visit.
Everything here is delicately prepared; the presentation and organic ingredients – it’s all quality.
Beautiful ambience inside as well, and also the view from up the top of the bridge is simply magic.
SALUD de Luz, Calle Nueva Alta 458, Cusco
This small yet ethical vegan cafe is big on using fresh, locally sourced organic ingredients and prides itself on being clean and eco-friendly.
According to their website, the kitchen is ‘a holy place and meals are about enjoying the food as well as the camaraderie around the table‘.
As a result, you won’t find any dishes containing meat or dairy (obviously), with soy and gluten also off the menu here.
Likewise, no preservatives, aluminium or cans are used and they also favour filtered water, ceramic knives and bamboo cutting boards.
SALUD De Luz offers a great value lunch menu for 14 soles, which includes your choice of soup, main and dessert, plus a drink.
The cashew milk coffee is an unusually thick, yet satisfying, concoction.
SALUD De Luz is not open on weekends.
AlmaZen, Calle Gral Recavarren 298, Miraflores, Peru
This decadent vegetarian restaurant is regarded as one of the best in the country.
Although a little more expensive than some of the above, you really are paying for quality.
The menu changes regularly depending on the availability of products.
Furthermore, the dishes combine Peruvian traditions and local ingredients to create many different culinary delights.
In addition, there is also a little deli upstairs where you can relax with a coffee and organic desserts.
Raw Cafe Club, Calle Independencia 587, Miraflores, Peru
This tiny space gets busy quickly and easily, but it is worth the wait if you have to hold out for a table!
They’ve got a great range of vegan cuisine, including one of their most famous dishes, the ‘alive pizza’, in which the pizza dough is made of mix of grains…
Beetroot burgers are another classic.
What makes this place even more inviting, however, is their desserts.
Cheesecakes, cookies, brownies and Peruvian fruit mousse – you may want to skip the main and just go for sweets instead.
Got any other vegetarian restaurant in Peru you think should be on this list? Comment below!
- Are you a chocolate lover as well as a foodie? Read about Cusco’s Chocolate Museum here.
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