UPDATE: La Esquina Vegetariana has moved to a new location — Carrera 11 No. 69-26
I’m no vegetarian, but recently I’ve opted to reduce my intake of meat, especially beef. On top of this, I’ve also taken a pledge to be a “flexitarian” this month (no red meat – fish and chicken is ok, but less is better). Thanks to this, I now realize that Bogotá has quite an abundance of vegetarian restaurants.
My dining partner accepted my lunch invitation even after I disclosed the fact that our destination was a vegetarian restaurant. Fortunately, the experience was pretty good so I didn’t feel guilty about dragging him along on a cold and rainy afternoon.
We were offered a few choices for lunch but in the end we went for the lunch special: to start, a very generous bowl of arracacha soup (a root vegetable similar to yucca). Our main course included brown rice, chickpeas with protein/wheat gluten (a.k.a seitan), salad, and a grilled wheat gluten pattie. Dessert was half a candied fig, and to drink I had fresh watermelon juice and my partner had soy milk. When it started pouring outside we decided to stay a little longer and enjoy a steaming cup of agua aromática.
The portions were very generous and a lot tastier than I had expected. I had never tried what they call gluten or seitan but the way they prepared it and seasoned it was actually pretty great. They also sell these kinds of products at the restaurant in case you want to take some meat substitutes home.
The people watching was pretty good too, which is an important point in my opinion. During our late weekday lunch we were joined by college students, a middle-aged woman dining alone, a table full of employees from the tattoo store nearby (lots of body art to admire), and a hipster or two.
After this first good experience at one of Bogotá’s vegetarian restaurants I am really looking forward to trying some more and I’m glad to now have at least one option for a quick, healthy, sustainable,meat-free, and satisfying lunch.
Oh yes, and affordable – the entire meal only cost $7,500 (about $4 dollars).
On your way out, stop by the bakery on the first floor (Pan de Nobles) which also sells ingredients and a variety of whole wheat breads, rolls (mogollas) and cookies.
La Esquina Vegetariana
Calle 61 # 9-03 (2nd floor)
If you find yourself in the northern part of the city, La Esquina Vegetariana has another location called La Mesa Vegetariana located at: Calle 85A # 24-14.