Editor’s Note: this updated guide to vegetarian restaurants in the Medellín metro area is a guest post by Sonja Bricker.
Hamburgers and hotdogs smothered in gut-busting toppings, steakhouses, traditional Colombian cuisine packed with animal protein, Medellín seems to be in the midst of carnivore obsession. Nevertheless, Medellín also has an exploding vegetarian restaurants scene.
From tiny, hole-in-the-wall lunch joints and a venerable Hari Krishna temple, there are also veggie pizzerias, elegant date night spots, a third floor buffet, as well as outposts of delicious vegetarian food in Envigado and Bello.
With this guide, which is in no way complete (please add your favorite vegetarian spots in the comment section), you can travel all over Medellín metro area and find places to satisfy your cravings.
1. El Pobaldo Vegetarian Restaurants
Café Zorba is not just vegetarian pizza, it’s also topped with combinations that you’d never dream of — mustard, blue cheese, pistachios, roasted grapes, grilled corn — that actually work. Gorgeous desserts, a full bar menu, plus seriously good coffee drinks round out the menu. In addition, there is live music on weekends, a cozy space that gets packed and hipster waitstaff contribute to an ambiance that is just right. I have gone back to Café Zorba again and again and have never been disappointed.
Address: Calle 8 # 42 – 33
Hours: 5:30 – 11:45 Monday – Sunday
Gautama is not strictly a vegetarian restaurant. But this gorgeous open space with a highly refined air emphasizes unusual pairings (stuffed crimini mushroom burgers, germinated lentils with roasted pineapple, avocado chips), smoothies and fresh pressed juices, plus a huge cocktail list.
And upstairs there is a beautiful yoga space and all level classes are offered Tuesday-Saturday at 5:30pm for 28,000 pesos (includes mat).
Address: Calle 8 # 43B-34
Hours: 9:30-noon Saturday-Sunday, Noon -10pm Monday-Saturday
Helecho is barely three months old and is making its mark with affordable prices (nothing over 15,000 pesos) and a small, inventive menu. Cabbage leaf wraps, for example, are served over chontaduro sauce, and green pea croquettes are paired with fried plantain mini-balls stuffed with costeño cheese. The menú del día is 13,000 pesos.
Address: Calle 11A # 43D-14
Hours: 12-3pm Monday-Friday
Lenteja Express has additional locations in Laureles, Parque de los Deseos, Envigado and Rionegro. An extremely popular spot known for its creative menu, there is a wide variety of veggie burgers and appetizers. Lenteja Express has both inside and outside seating. And service is fast and friendly.
Address: Carrera 35 # 8a-76
Hours: 12-9:30pm Monday-Thursday, 12-11pm Friday-Saturday, 12-7:30pm Sunday
Marietta is completely open to the high-volume pedestrian traffic of the Provenza part of Poblado, Marietta holds its own between menswear boutiques and trendy restaurants three times its size. With only 8 tables and a tiny kitchen, this simple restaurant turns out a delicious menú del día available all day. Priced at 12,000 pesos during the week and 14,000 pesos on Sunday, it also includes dessert.
Address: Carrera 35 # 8a-107
Hours: 12-9pm Monday – Thursday, 12-5:30pm Friday, 12-7 Sunday
Veg Station. This no-nonsense El Poblado nook is evidence that looks can be deceiving. Creative touches include placemats for coloring, passionfruit avocado dressing, and spectacular veggie burgers and paella. The rotating menú del día is also a steal at only 11,500 pesos and includes dessert. Friendly, patient waitstaff are an added bonus. Highly recommended.
Address: Calle 10 # 35-14
Hours: 12-9pm Monday-Friday, 12-10pm Saturday
Verdeo hits all the marks for vegetarian date night, Verdeo hits all the marks: a stylish open dining room, low-lighting, friendly service, and consistently good food (though a bit bland). The veggie burgers are delicious, as is the vegan brownie. Beverages are creative and include Kombucha, a rare find in Medellín. In addition, Verdeo really shines at lunch, with a rotating menú del día that is 17,500 pesos and includes dessert.
Address: Calle 12 # 43d-77
Hours: 12-9pm Monday – Saturday
Victoria Regia is a newcomer to the vegetarian scene, this cavernous second story bar and restaurant is innovative, quirky and full of plants. Victoria Regia means royal water lily in Latin. Although prices are definitely higher than other nearby options, and service is distinctly aloof, Victoria Regia is worth checking out. The night I went, David Lynch’s Eraserhead was playing, accompanied by live ambient music. Also the thai coconut soup was excellent, the ramen good, the sushi burger interesting.
Address: Calle 10 # 43a – 30, Parque del Poblado
Hours: 12 – 2am Thursday – Saturday
2. Envigado Vegetarian Restaurants
Tulsi is has good food so I would happily travel to Envigado just to eat there. Although located on a busy street, this restaurant, store, yoga studio and reading room had some of the best vegetarian food I’ve eaten. It is obviously prepared by someone who takes cooking seriously and takes pride in their work. Furthermore, lots of little flourishes abound, from roasted peanut bits atop the thick, well-seasoned soup and delicate Indian dumplings swimming in honey. Menú del día is 11,000 and includes dessert. Delivery is available in Envigado and Sabaneta.
Address: Calle 39Sur #41-22
Hours: 11-8 Monday-Friday
3. Laureles-Estadio Vegetarian Restaurants
El Arbol de la Vida is tucked away into a high-rise office building, but just two blocks from the SurAmericana Metro Station. This Medellín institution has been serving vegetarian comfort food since 1982. There are 15 tables, all covered in red-checkered tablecloths, and a corner devoted to a selection of healthy products. The 14,000 peso menú del día includes the usual three courses plus aromática and dessert. This place is hugely popular so arrive before 12:30 to get a table.
Address: Carrera 64c # 48-188, local 1
Hours: 11:30 – 5pm, Monday through Saturday.
SaludPan in Laureles has an old-school, bustling hippy vibe. This restaurant and store strives to sell the highest quality products and food. Their mission is to promote a healthy lifestyle and care for the planet. With a full menu, delicious menu de día with raw, vegan, vegetarian and pescatarian options, blissed out seeming servers, plus products you’ll rarely find anywhere else (amaranth flour, mung beans), SaludPan is a must visit.
Address: Circular 4 # 70-84
Hours: 8am-8pm Monday-Saturday
4. El Centro Vegetarian Restaurants
Govinda’s is Medellín’s oldest vegetarian restaurant and is also a spiritual center for the Hare Krishna. Located adjacent to the Veracruz Church, a colonial structure completed in 1712, Govinda’s is three fascinating levels. There is both an incense shop and one selling clothing imported from India, a travel agency, yoga center, library and buffet style restaurant. The menú del día is offered for 12,000 pesos and includes dessert.
Address: Calle 51 # 52- 17
Hours: 8-7pm Monday-Saturday, 12-3pm Sunday
Otro Cuento is part art gallery, part vegetarian restaurant, and has only been in business 14 months. Next door to the Parque Periodista, this fascinating little gem has two stories, lots of little rooms to explore and vintage furniture. With a Colombian owner but French and Argentinean chefs the menú del día always reflects this international influence and changes daily. Priced at 12,900 pesos it comes with dessert and aromática. Unlike many vegetarian restaurants, Otro Cuento is open late and serves a wide selection of alcoholic beverages.
Calle 53 # 43-04
Hours: 11-10pm Everyday
Vegetarian Resto is a labor of love for Bela López and Jorge Ospina, this local lunch spot has been serving wholesome menus del día for over six years. Located in an old house just two blocks from Hospital Metro Station, Vegetarian Resto always offers two options: Basic for 11,000 pesos and Special for 16,500 pesos. And both include dessert and aromática. In addition, cooking classes, catering and frozen veggie protein products are available.
Address: Carrera 51D # 67-32
Hours: 12 – 3pm Monday – Saturday
Veggie Life. I have walked down Carabobo Street at least 50 times in the last eight months. A bustling, sometimes overwhelming experience I never, ever knew there was a vegetarian restaurant just a few flights above me. Until last week. Just half a block from the Parque de las Luces, Veggie Life is a respite from the intensity below. And its third floor perch has a magnificent view of the Metro and the soft, soothing colors of the walls, chairs and tables create a welcoming environment. A buffet set-up, this is the place to come for well-prepared food served quickly. Menú del día is 11,000 pesos. A full menu is also available, including pasta, crepes and sandwiches. Nothing is priced over 13,000 pesos.
Address: Carrera 52 # 45 92 Piso 3 Ed.
Hours: 8-4pm Monday –Friday
5. Belén Vegetarian Restaurants
Vegarden is only three blocks from the La Palma MetroPlus Station, and it looks out over a lovely green space and is predominantly outdoor seating. Inside there are a few tables, plus a huge glass case showcasing house made pastries and veggie protein products for sale. The vibe is casual and friendly. The menú del día is 13,900 pesos and includes dessert. After 3pm a full menu is available with pizza, lasagna and lots of vegan options. Beer, wine and a few cocktails are also offered.
Address: Calle 32B Unit 81-41, Villa de Aburra (at Calle 33)
Hours: 11:30-8 Monday-Thursday, 11:30-9:30 Friday-Saturday
6. Bello Vegetarian Restaurants
La Huerta Restaurante Vegetariano. Although the emphasis of culinary options is often focused on Poblado and Laureles, there is an excellent choice in the north end of the valley, in the town of Bello. Just two blocks from the Niquia Metro Station is La Huerta. And with a rotating menu de día and extended hours, this restaurant provides cooking classes, plus catering.
Address: Diagonal 57 # 33-118, Senderos de San Jacinto, Bello
Hours: 11:30-6 Sunday-Thursday, 12 – 9pm Friday-Saturday
Sonja is from Whidbey Island, WA. She has traveled to 46 countries but never wanted to settle down in any of them until she discovered Medellin. She is currently living here in Medellín temporarily until she figures out how to be a permanent resident.
Please let us know about any other recommended vegetarian restaurants we should add to this list.