Between lomo saltado, ceviche, salchipapas, anticuchos de corazí³n and pollo a la brasa, Peruvian food is known for its creativity and variety. However, Peruvian food is not known for being vegan-friendly, and has even been described as indigestible and unhealthy by Peruvian writer Iví¡n Thays. For that reason, when one of my best friends wanted to visit me in Peru for a week, I immediately started searching for restaurant options that would both cater to her vegan diet and provide the true Peruvian experience.
1. Veggie Pizza
Tucked down a little side street in Barranco, and through a long, narrow hallway, Veggie Pizza has a cozy outdoor seating area and candle-flickering ambiance. Their many delicious and innovative vegetarian pizza options are made from fresh, unprocessed ingredients. Moreover, any of their vegetarian pizzas can be made vegan by substituting regular cheese for avocado cheese.
Jirí³n Colina 112, Barranco
Enrique Palacios 350, Miraflores
Arias Schreiber 119 La Aurora, Miraflores
2. Armí³nica Café
This is a quaint little café in Miraflores that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Go there for breakfast and you won't be disappointed. Armí³nica Café serves a wide variety of vegan and vegetarian options, including oatmeal, waffles, and pancakes to help you start your morning off right.
Av. Mariscal La Mar 1129, Miraflores
With three locations in San Isidro, Quinoa offers everything from salads and wraps, to smoothie bowls and pancakes. All of their dishes are 100% natural and free of refined ingredients, and their quinoa is home-grown Peruvian.
Av. Pardo y Aliaga 664, San Isidro
Av. Dean Valdivia 137, San Isidro
Av. Víctor Andrés Belaúnde 147, San Isidro
4. Las Vecinas
A short jaunt from the main streets in Barranco, Las Vecinas is easy to miss but definitely worth finding. This is an excellent place to wind down and have a conversation with friends over a cup of coffee or huge platter of guacamole. Also worth trying are the quinoa burgers and quinoa bowls. Everything on the menu is vegetarian or vegan friendly.
Jr. Domeyer 219, Barranco
5. El Jardín de Jazmin
While most of the vegetarian/vegan restaurants we found in Lima didn't offer many 'Peruvian' options, El Jardín de Jazmin in Miraflores was an exciting find that serves typical Peruvian dishes with a vegetarian or vegan twist, including ceviche de champiñones and champipapas – salchipapas made with mushrooms in place of sausage. Moreover, this hidden gem in Miraflores has a wide selection of lemonade, including limonada de coca.
Av. La Paz 838, Miraflores
6. La Bodega Verde
La Bodega Verde is a pleasant space that truly encompasses the bohemian vibe of Barranco. With cozy indoor and outdoor seating, this is an excellent spot to relax, order a coffee or tea, and enjoy a simple, small plate. While not explicitly vegetarian or vegan, this locale offers many options to suit any diet, all made with fresh, healthy ingredients.
Jiron Mariscal Jose Antonio de Sucre 335A, Barranco
While Iví¡n Thays may describe Peruvian food as '_indigesta y poco saludable_,' it was surprisingly easy to find vegan-friendly options for my friend, thus helping to demonstrate the healthy side of Peruvian cuisine that is sometimes overlooked. And while these selections reflect the neighborhoods and districts that we spent the most time exploring, there are many other places to find healthy vegetarian or vegan food all around Lima, you just have to take the time to look.
Nicholle Cardinal is a writer from Clarkston, Michigan who is currently living, traveling, and writing in Peru. While her interests are focused mostly on travel and culture, she enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics, including health, natural medicine, and food.