We miss Montevideo, we were living there only a few months ago and it already seems like years. So it is good to go back to the photos while doing this Veg* guide. But first a bit of sight-seeing: this is Palacio Salvo and we were all fascinated by it, especially Max. It looks like something out of a movie, or the tower of terror in Disneyland, or a great place for ghosts... anyway, we never got tired of looking at it!
Montevideo is a very livable city, we walked a lot and loved the old buildings and details (click here to see some of beautiful doors of Montevideo). Less should be said about the pavements, always broken and full of doggy poos :-(. The air in the centre is quite polluted too, and the traffic slow, but all in all this must be the most relaxed and safe capital city in South America.
But how about being a vegetarian here? I googled a few veg* restaurants while there, but they always appeared to have 'dsappeared" or were too far, or difficult to find. I guess guides need to be updated, so here there are only a few suggestions, mostly about places that seem established or food to buy in shops (after all we were mostly cooking at home).
But I was quite surprised to find veg* options in most city centre restaurants. We stopped at El Copacabana, in the main pedestrian street of the city centre, as it had quite a big vegetarian menu. The kids had pizza, and I had the veggie milanesa with salad. To be honest I am not a fan of fake meat, and this wasn't the best, but I was quite grateful to find it.
If you like this kind of meat replacements I found similar food in the large supermarket in Punta Carretas (a former prison successfuly transformed into a shopping centre). Even if you don't speak Spanish it is pretty easy to understand what the packets say. Sadly I didn't like any of them: these are the sort of things that I prefer making myself but, once again, it is good to know that they exist.
Much much much better are the veggie burgers (two types plus two veggie sausages with buns too) at the Bulebar. Our were tasty and full of roasted veggies, with a side of regular and sweet potato fries. And the smoothies are good too. Fun place, the kids loved it!
Then of course there are good market with fruit and veggies, see a few pics here.
And this is Martin, our local baker, we went there almost everyday after school to buy our daily bread (and a few pastries too). There is some good bread in Uruguay, but be careful with the pastry and pies, they may have pork fat, so remember to ask first! Our daily shopping also included the local supermarket, nothing special but it did have tofu, and soy milk, and carrot juice ... as well as many types of pasta, olives, different types of beans, dried fruit and fruit pastes, and nuts.
For a raw energy kick, one positive thing about Montevideo (and South America in general) is the great variety of fresh fruit smoothies - (mostly vegan). Here a few yummy juices (and other drinks) not only in Montevideo, but also in the rest of Uruguay, and also in Chile, Argentina and Peru.
In our Spanish school, La Herradura, they also do cooking classes, and for us they had a special meat free cooking class!
|Clockwise from left: Making faina de zapallitos, a zapallito, salchichon de chocolate, fainas de queso (yellow) and de zapallitos (green).|
A final note is for Italian restaurants: they are very common, with pasta and pizza everywhere, but please note: they tend to be very "creamy" and "cheesy". Most of the pasta we had was so cover with a cream sauce that the ravioli were swimming in it. The only vegan dish is usually spaghetti with tomato and basil...
Well, I hope that this was useful to you, and if you know the city feel free to add your additions in the comments :-). I miss you Montevideo, and hope to be back one day!
Photos by Alessandra Zecchini ©