Bolivian food is heavily meat and potato based. I was told that it would even be hard as a vegetarian. Especially since there is a lack of kitchens in hostels in Copacabana and La Paz for example. So I am really happy that I found delicious restaurants with vegan options. Some of them opened recently. In Copacabana I stayed in a vegetarian/vegan hostel called Hostal Joshua. In La Paz I was very lucky to have had a great Couchsurfing host who is very interested in a whole-food, plant-based diet. I taught him how to make peanut butter and hummus. In Cochabamba I stayed with a wonderful family. Aida, the mum, cooked delicious food and made something extra that is vegan for me. Same for my host in Sucre who made me Papás a la Guancaina, a traditional Bolivian dish, an almost vegan version (contained eggs) one evening. That was sweet.
A meal in a vegetarian/vegan restaurant is between 20 and 45 Bs. Food in Sucre is most expensive. In La Paz food is very cheap. The famous peanut soup (sopa de mani) is worth a try. Just ask to leave out the meat if you do not eat meat. It comes with pasta and french fries.
I bought most of my food in little stores on the road and at big vegetable and fruit markets. Some examples: 1 avocado (2-8 Bs.), 1 pound tomatoes (5 Bs.), 25 bananas (8 Bs.), 1 pound peanuts (10-40 Bs.), 1 pound quinoa (8-20 Bs.), 1 pound chia seeds (10 Bs.), 1 pound peanut butter (12 Bs.). I only found the peanut butter in La Paz at Mercado Rodriguez.
Often in corners of big markets are women with massive pots of cooked beans, vegetables, and rice — offering plates for 5-10 Bs. The most famous Bolivian street food is Salteñas. Baked empanadas with mostly meat. Only a few only have vegetables inside. Supermarkets (e.g. Hipermaxi in La Paz) do have tahini (Pasta de Sésamo, 200g, 25 Bs.), hummus (200g, 22 Bs.), and coconut milk (15 Bs.).
Namas Té (vegetarian with many vegan options)
Paul, the owner, let me help to serve in his restaurant in exchange for the menu del dia which is always vegan (29 Bs.). Each meal starts with bread and a sauce. I had a lentil salad, vegetable fidelo soup, Sajta (a traditional Bolivian dish), and a juice. Everything was so delicious!
Dishes from the menu are between 29 and 35 Bs. I had Peanut-thai (rice noodles, tofu, peanut sauce, veggies; 29 Bs.) and Barbara (boiled habas, carrot, soy meat, onion, potato; 33 Bs.). The smoothie Choco Loco with cacao, banana, coffee, and peanut butter was so delicious (21 Bs.). And the oat cookie is a dream 🙂
Café Vida La Paz (100% vegan)
The restaurant is run by the admirable 22-year-old Ninneth. I was very impressed by her age, her passion, and the offer. She showed us the kitchen and took time to explain everything to us. The chill area in the back, the music, and her sweet smile made the whole dining experience wonderful.
Most of the vegetables come from an organization of women farmers who grow organic products. The lunch offer (veggie bowl plus the soup of the day) is a great deal (35 Bs.). We got a beetroot soup and had the option to top with hummus, seeds, and bread. Included, as much cold tea as you want. For main courses we chose the Hippie bowl (quinoa, hummus, tomato, sweet potato, and avocado) and the Quinoa burger (rye bread, avocado, hummus, salad, and baked veggies). As a desert we had a chaí ice cream with coco. So delicious! It is possible to buy there a menstrual cup, nutritional yeast, and some other interesting products.
Lupito Cocina Vegana (100% vegan)
On my first visit I had an amazing Calzone with vegetables and melted vegan cheese (20 Bs.). Still remember the taste of the cheese. My second time I had a thick delicious vegetable soup and bread with a spicy tomato sauce. As main course chicharrón based on soybeans, mote, and Chuño (small dried potatoes). As desert a coconut flan with hibiscus caramel. The menu del dia is 23 Bs. And changes daily. The main focus of Paola and Lupita, the owners, is to reduce suffering for the animals. But they also encourage to bring a hermetical box for leftovers. Great people with exemplary character.
MagicK (vegan options)
Stephan, the owner, is living his dream. The restaurant is a great place for a romantic date or another rendezvous. On some evenings they have stand-up comedy shows or concerts. We had a chickpea and aubergine curry with rice, fruit chutney, and chapatti (flatbread) (45 Bs.). And a traditional Bolivian dish with tunta (dried white potato), beans, and salad (42 Bs.). As desert we had a mousse au chocolate with seasonal fruits (26 Bs.). Everything was very delicious and the presentation beautiful. They do catering as well.
Go Green comida rápida (vegetarian with vegan options)
Gabriel, the owner, also has an architect’s office that tries to generate harmony with the environment. We enjoyed a very delicious fruity Terranova salad with lettuce, quinoa, a seasonal fruit, beans, morron, cilantro sauce, and sesame (25 Bs.) and the Mexican Panini with beans, pico de gallo, and cilantro sauce (23 Bs.). All dished are available as vegan.
A Vietnamese restaurant with tofu as vegan option. One of the only options without sugar is Kung Pao with roasted peanuts, lemon grass, garlic, chilies, and tofu. It comes together with white rice (58 Bs.). Unfortunately the tofu was very stale. But the sauce was nice.
Karott (100% vegan)
A new opened restaurant by such a sweet couple. All meals start with whole wheat bread and two delicious sauces. One spicy and the other with zucchini, cilantro, lime, and salt. The menu del dia changes daily (20 Bs.). I was lucky to be there when they served a typical Bolivian dish named Saice. Rice with vegan meat, peas, vegetables and tomatoes with onions that are sprinkled with vegan cheese. The soup that consisted of potatoes, green leaves, and nuts was delicious as well. The owner, Rodrigo, is very attentive and open-minded. His wife is behind the tasty dishes. Since the number of tables are limited and the restaurant is well-attended you share a table with somebody. I love that 🙂 It is possible to buy homemade peanut butter, tahini, and other delicacies.
Menta Restobar (vegetarian with vegan options)
Famous for their huge variety of burgers (29 Bs.). All available as a vegan option. So fresh, filling, and delicious! The falafels are crispy outside and warm, soft, and creamy inside. My couchsurfing host, an enthusiast meat eater, fell in love with the falafels. So did I.
Drinks include healthy juices (10 Bs.). I loved the one called Remo: beet, apple, celery, and ginger. The restaurant has tasteful decoration and wifi. Check out their Facebook page for the menu del dia which comes with a salad, soup, and main course (21 Bs.). It is not always vegan.
Leo, the supervisor of Paprika, welcomed me very warm, advised me well, and we shared lunch together. They do not have a vegan meal per se but it is possible to leave out the cheese in some dishes. We had the Mediterranean quinoa that comes together with olives and dried tomatoes (43 Bs.). And we tried the Spring fetuccine that comes with lots of vegetables and mushrooms (56 Bs.). I could even visit the kitchen and see how they prepare the food. It was such an interesting and delicious afternoon.
El Germen (vegetarian with vegan options)
Dishes are big and delicious. The staff is very nice. All meals start with bread accompanied by a spicy ají sauce. The menu del dia which changes daily consists of a vegetable soup, two main dishes to choose from (one vegan), juice, and a desert (24 Bs.). One of my juices was with sesame seeds. Que rico 🙂 From the menu I tried Falafel with rice, peanut sauce, and cooked vegetables (40 Bs.). Such crispy falafels and tasty peanut sauce. The curry with vegetables is another vegan option from the menu. I ate there three times during my stay in Sucre and hope to go back one day.
Koi Sushi Bar Sucre
A new opened sushi place by such a warm hearted couple. I could feel that they devote all their love and time in their restaurant. The restaurant is not vegan per se but they do have a few vegan options and are very flexible. As an appetizer they made me crunchy vegetables tempura. The vegetarian spring rolls are vegan as well (4 pieces for 20 Bs.). I had Uramaki with avocado, sweet potatoes, and champignons (8 pieces for 45 Bs.) and Hotmaki especial con crema de palta. Such a delight!
An Arepas place. Not vegan but you can mix as you want. I had an arepa with avocado, beans, tomatoes, and fried plaintain (18 Bs.). Super delicious!
Prem Sucre (100% vegan)
Prem Sucre at San Alberto 54 is a small, well-attended restaurant. I had the menu del dia (22 Bs.) which started with a salad, cornbread, a carrot soup, and a Melissa mate sweetened with stevia. Main course was rice and potatoes with fried, breaded eggplant. Desert was rice with soy milk and stevia.
Condor Café (vegetarian)
I went there a few times for their delicious Cappuccino with soy milk. The menu del dia is vegetarian (25 Bs.). The only vegan option is a salad. But it is possible to get their Falafel sandwich which is served with salad, hummus and tabouli without the bread (contains eggs) and the yoghurt sauce (25 Bs.). They have avocado to replace any dairy products. The beautiful ambiente and board games invite to stay for a few hours. All profit goes toward community projects around Sucre.