Vegan Food Guide to Medellin’s Laureles Neighborhood
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We stayed in Medellín for over a month as our last stop on our two-year cycle tour across Europe and South America. After so much time on the road, we were feeling a bit haggard and wanted to stop somewhere before heading back home to Portland, Oregon. We chose Medellín due to it’s popularity for ex-pats living abroad, the modern public transportation system, and for the abundant vegan food options.
When one looks into vegan food and living in Medellín, they will undoubtedly find information about the Poblado, neighborhood known for catering to the gringos and home to many digital nomads living in the city. Because we found so much information about living there, we wanted to not live in Poblado. Our goal in Medellín wasn’t to hang out only with our fellow ex-pats, but to really get the feel of the city, so we chose a fabulous AirBnB located near the Laureles neighborhood.
For a super comprehensive guide to the neighborhood that includes activities, gyms, co-working spaces, and grocery stores, check out Desk to Dirtbag’s Ultimate Guide to Laureles. All of the restaurants listed in the vegan food guide to Medellín are located in the Laureles or Suramericana neighborhood and all are pet-friendly.
1. Salud Pan
We had the luck of living just a short walk from Salud Pan, one of the best and most innovative vegan restaurants we found in all of South America. The owner, Angela, a banker turned restaurateur, opened Salud Pan as her passion project, and her love for food shows in the ingenuity of the meals. Each day offered a new menu del dia featuring cuisines from around the world like falafel, pozole, or curry dishes, each complete with a fresh juice made from local fruits, a few sides, and a beautiful salad piled with toppings like sauerkraut and yacon.
The menu itself was filled with so many delicious items, it made it impossible to settle on just one. An entirely raw section featured gazpacho, curry soup, and burritos. The falafel burger dripping with vegan sauces was a favorite. There were the tamales that melted in our mouths and then there was the gluten-free vegan chocolate pecan cake. We ate a lot of this decadent cake and it was well worth the extra calories. Do not skip the cake.
Salud Pan also features a eco store offering just about any kind of vegan or gluten free product that you could want. For those of us who have spent a long time away from our hippie comfort foods, this was my little happy place. An entire wall was dedicated to a variety of seeded breads, another corner to bulk spices, nuts, and seeds. I could buy coconut oil, raw cacao, locally-grown coffee, and nori rolls. And I did. And if the eco store weren’t enough, on Saturdays, Salud Pan hosts a small farmers’ market featuring beautiful produce grown on Angela’s farm in nearby Santa Elena.
Circular 4ta No. 70 – 84 – Barrio Laureles
Tel: (4) 411 69 35
Hours: Mon – Sat 8AM to 8PM
Antonio’s was our first vegan stop when we arrived in Medellín and offers a great almuerzo, featuring a soup, main plate, dessert (usually banana nice cream!), and a freshly made juice for a fantastic deal. After spending many years living in the Bay Area, Antonio and his family (including two pitt bulls!) moved back to Medellín where he opened the restaurant on a bit of a whim. While casually scoping out rentable space to start a business, the owner of the spot where Antonio’s is now caught him shopping around and essentially offered him a deal he couldn’t refuse. When asked what he would open there, he just spat out “vegetarian restaurant.” Several years later, it’s one of the more popular spots for veg eaters in the city.
We visited on three separate occasions and left satisfied every time. My favorite soup by far was made from beets—not only was the color gorgeous, the soup was delicious. The mains are generally a vegan take on Colombian dishes like beans and rice or plantains. What blew me away each time I ate it were the quinoa sausages. They were the perfect mix of a vegan substitute for meat that didn’t freak me out by looking overly meaty. The restaurant also offers burgers, which I hear are tasty, but we always went for the almuerzo. What’s great about Antonio’s is that they’re open every day, including Sundays and holidays, which is a rarity in Latin cities.
Calle 34 66a-38
Tel +57 4 235 66 45
Hours: Mon – Sun, including holidays 10AM to 5PM
Lenteja Express is a vegetarian restaurant with five locations throughout Medellín serving a variety of burgers, as well as falafel, burritos, and cazuela, a typical Colombian dish that’s the ultimate bowl. On one visit, we were treated to a tasty appetizer of patacones with hogao (fried plantains with a typical salsa) piled with guacamole. We had a chance to try a couple different main dishes after a couple visits, including the Mexican burger and the Argentine burger, a portobello dripping with chimichurri sauce, as well as the Lebanese plate. The burgers come with optional creole potatoes and a drink, which we opted for each time, even though we knew full well that it would be far too much food! It was to good to pass up. The buns tended to be a bit soggy with all the fixins, but the burgers were great, so the texture didn’t ruin our meal.
We also love the story behind the restaurant: In 2000, co-founders Gabriel Ramirez and Felipe Gaviria set off for a cycle tour of South America and when they reached a tourist beach in Ecuador, they found they had little money left to continue the journey, so they spent their last $10 on ingredients to make vegetarian burgers and sold them on the street. They sold 20 in the first 15 minutes and quickly sold 100 in one day. Word spread of the vegetarian burgers all the way to Perú and when the friends arrived, foreigners eagerly awaited their arrival. In 2008, Felipe and Gabriel opened their first location and have become super popular since.
Moreover, they love animals. Sora received a handful of dog treats upon arrival, as well as a water dish. We also chatted with Felipe during our visit and learned that he and his wife have five rescue dogs that take over their house.
Circular 74b #39b-122, Av. jardin
Medellin, Antioquia, Colombia
Hours: Mon – Thurs 11:30AM to 9:30PM; Fri-Sat 11:30AM to 11PM; Sunday and holidays 12PM to 7:30PM
Just kitty corner from Salud Pan, we took the opportunity to try Uno Mas Uno a few times during our stay in Medellín. Though not a dedicated vegan restaurant, Uno Mas Uno offers a wide variety of foods for everyone, including enough vegan options that we had a difficult time picking from among them all. On both visits, I picked the Verderol, a rice bowl with chickpea patty pieces, pesto, walnuts, raisins, and smoked tomatoes. It was so delicious, I had to get it twice. Dave had a pizza one evening sans cheese and it didn’t lack on flavor, as we had experienced through most of Latin America when veganizing pizzas.
To describe how good the food was here, this is one of the few places on earth where I have devoured an eggplant dish. I hate eggplant. The vegan “trilogy of dips” comes with hummus, pesto, and a smoked eggplant dish that we inhaled.
The patio is a lovely spot to sit with your pup and people watch. The only downer was the lack of vegan desserts.
Circular 4ta N 71-3
Tel 411 4278
Hours: Mon-Thurs 12PM to 9PM; Fri-Sat 12PM to 10PM
I discovered Sorbetto while walking Sora down a side street near our hostal in the Suramericana neighborhood. It was early in the morning when I went past, and knew we had to return for lunch. Sorbetto is a tiny shop on a quiet neighborhood street that offers veggie burgers, of which one may choose from a variety of patties, including chickpea, lentil, pea, and black bean. She also offers a burrito, a whole host of vegan cookies and cakes, and other items like coconut oil from the Colombian coast, vegan margarine (which can be tricky to find in Latin America), and toasted chickpeas. Go for the lunch special to get a freshly made juice and chips added to your burger. The burgers were a great deal and though not mind-blowing, perfect for a simple lunch when you’re craving a homemade veggie burger.
The best part of Sorbetto are the wide variety of plant-based milks—coconut, quinoa, almond, oat, soy—you name it, she’s got it. And they’re super cheap. For some reason, plant-based milks are ridiculously expensive in South America and/or they come with so many other ingredients and loads of sugar, that they’re not worth buying. These are all made by Sorbetto and contain just the essentials for making a plant-based milk. We loaded ourselves with several after each visit.
Calle 48 D No. 68-76
Tel (Whattsapp) 316 448 49 34
Tel (Whattsapp) 316 292 73 15
Download the Vegan Food Guide to Medellin to have on your phone while you’re out exploring without WiFi!
We did receive some meals complimentary in exchange for including the restaurants listed here. As always, all opinions are my own and I provide honest feedback about our experience.