As some of you may or may not know, I live in Portland, Oregon. The winters here are extremely long, dark, and wet.
This winter in particular, we had so much snow and rain that I was trapped at home for days at a time. This gave me a bad case of cabin fever and gave me the urge to travel somewhere warm.
As this was my first vacation abroad as a vegan, I wanted to choose a place that was fairly vegan friendly, yet full of culture and history. After doing a few searches on HappyCow, I decided to go to Mexico City.
In this post, I want to share with you what and where I ate and provide tips on how to stay vegan in a meat loving city.
Planning Your Trip
Where to stay
Great neighborhoods to stay in Mexico City as a vegan are Roma Norte, Condesa, and Hipodromo. They have the highest concentration of vegan restaurants within walking distance so it's easy to find places to eat.
I really like Roma Norte because it has lots of great vegan eats and is also close to the historical district and the metro.
I stayed in the Zona Rosa neighborhood which is directly north of Roma Norte. However, I found myself walking 15-30 minutes to eat in Roma Norte and Hipodromo, every single day. (Definitely annoying when you're tired from walking all day).
The neighborhoods I mentioned are super cute with lots of cafes, bars, parks, vegan restaurants and food trucks, museums, and more. It's safe and there tons of people with adorable pet dogs every where you go.
Where to eat
Wherever you travel, Happy Cow and Google Maps are your best friends. Happy Cow lists 80-90% of the vegan places but often lacks reviews, photos, or accurate open times.
On the other hand, I've found Google Maps founds places that recently opened and were not yet listed on Happy Cow. They usually had more reviews and photos that helped me decide whether I wanted to eat there or not.
I searched terms like "vegan" and "vegetarian" to find places near me or at a destination. The most annoying thing about Happy Cow was that their restaurant open and close times were not accurate at all. Sometimes I walked 30 minutes to a restaurant to find that they open 3 hours later.
The most accurate way to find these times is to access the restaurant's Facebook page. These pages are run by the restaurants themselves so they're pretty accurate.
And a word of warning, so many places are closed on Sunday and Monday so be sure to plan carefully.
My favorite vegan eateries in Mexico City
Surprisingly, there are tons of places to eat vegan in Mexico City. I'd say I tried a good percentage of them during my 9 day trip. From the cheap yet delicious food trucks to more pricey and fancy restaurants, let me show you my favorite ones as of February 2017!
1. Por Siempre Vegana
This was my favorite taco truck of all time. They're 100% vegan and serve 8 different types of tacos, several combinations of tortas, and various vegan desserts. YUM! When I went on Monday at 4pm, there were already tons of people eating there (and at night, they get super crowded!)
My partner and I decided to get one of each taco. Each taco came with two tortillas so we split the "meat" on each taco and made it 16 tacos (yippee!). There are tons of complimentary toppings you can add from 3 different salsas, onions, cilantro, cactus, black beans, and potatoes.
Some come with stretchy vegan cheese, pineapples, and other special condiments. It was so flavorful and the meat was so realistic, this was my favorite taco truck in all of Mexico City. Their tacos are 15 pesos a piece (~$0.75), tortas around 45 pesos (~$2.25) . Very affordable!
We also had the chocolate cake with flan, and the banana bread. Both OUT OF THIS WORLD good! So moist and delicious! Please get these when you're there!
Also, the staff there speak a English so don't worry!
This taco truck was the first meal we had after arriving in Mexico City. Surrounded by dozens of non-vegan taco trucks, this place had the most customers.
They serve around 7 different types of tacos, several tortas, and vegan desserts such as donuts and cupcakes.
For 15 pesos a taco, Gatorta had the most generous portions ever. They piled on the vegan meat, I could barely see the tortilla!
Though the flavors were not as refined as Por Siempre, their friendly staff and huge portions left both my wallet and tummy full. Two of us were completely full for less than $6! Please give this truck a visit when in Mexico City.
3. Vegan Pa' Ca' Taqueria
Though not really a "food truck" this casual taco eatery really hit the spot. They serve 7 types of tacos, 8 different hamburgers, 7 tortas, dessert and more.
The tacos there were also very flavorful and unique. We also got the "Especial" burger with vegan cheese, bacon, and pineapple - and it was one of the best vegan burgers I've had! Greasy goodness. mm.
I also got their famous carrot cake cupcakes with cardamom frosting and it was on of the best desserts I've had in Mexico City.
1. Fresh Mexico
Located in an adorable art deco building with a courtyard, this slightly pricey vegan restaurant was the most memorable restaurant experience. It's probably the nicest place we ate, and the food was super unique and innovative.
We got the tofu and crispy fried pumpkin tacos, poutine, a deconstructed burrito (they were out of tortillas - really?) and a salad (with grilled tofu, and sweet potato). We were super hungry haha. Don't judge.
Everything was super flavorful (I LOVED the salad - the dressing is like crack!) and the service was prompt. Just be aware that they may serve you expensive bottled water so if you don't want to spend like 5$ on it, ask for two glasses of "aqua natural."
The meal ended up costing around $22 USD - which is not bad considering we ordered 4 things. Anyway, please give this place a try on a special night with nice clothes.
2. Aura Vegana
Located in the southern district of Coyoacan, near the Frida Khalo museum, this super cute eatery was one of our favorites. With cute wooden furniture, flowers, and a welcoming staff, the food was out of this world good.
The staff barely speaks English but they were able to recommend some great dishes. As an appetizer, we got an almond milk, date, and espresso smoothie. It was soo rich, creamy and flavorful. I couldn't stop drinking it!!
For entrees, we got a "burger" where the buns were made of portobello mushrooms, and the insides had tomatoes, sprouts, and a vegan pesto. Super unique, and really really good. I got the portobello mushroom burrito with avocados, lettuce, mashed black beans, and a green salsa. Also SUPER good.
We finished the meal off with some vegan coconut creme brûlée. It was amazingly creamy and delicious. Our meal cost us like 15-20 USD total. Really affordable and delicious!
3. Vegamo MX
Located in Centro Historico, this small vegan cafe and restaurant serves up great meals at an affordable price. They open at 11:00am and serve breakfast fare such as chilaquiles, toasts, acais bowls, bagels, and breakfast burritos. For lunch and dinner, they serve burgers, salads, and cheesecakes.
We went there twice during our trip as there aren't too many good places to eat vegan in Centro Historico. For breakfast we got the chilaquiles, and a toast with various veggies on it. They were both pretty good. We also got a berry smoothie, but it was slightly disappointing as they didn't grind it super smooth - it was still chunky.
When we went for lunch, we got the vegan pad thai (decent but not authentic) and something else.. I forget since my partner ordered it. We also got the berry cheesecake which was very delicious!
Anyway, it's a great place to eat where there aren't too many options, and the staff are English friendly as well.
Other places we tried, and what I thought
Maria Bonita Veganos - a cute vegan food cart selling baked goods, smoothies, and small meals. We went for breakfast and got 3 pastries and smoothie. The taste of the pastries.. really subpar. They tasted really healthy (everything seems to be made of whole wheat), the bread was mostly dry and tough. They were also not sweet enough and not very flavorful. We go the chocolate chip croissant, apricot pastry, and a cranberry pastry. Very disappointing. The strawberry smoothie was lukewarm and very watery too. Don't recommend it. They have such high ratings on Happy Cow but I don't understand the craze. Maybe try them in the afternoon when they serve pies and meals. 2/5
La Pitahaya Vegana - Gourmet taco place located in Roma Norte, this was one of the more unique tacos we've had. When I went, they had six types of tacos - all very unique but not cheap - 35 pesos each. Their tacos range from hibiscus flower tacos, to cauliflower with coconut cottage cheese and pineapple tacos, cashew cheese quesadilla, creation of the month, spinach avocado mousse, pecan nut cream, purple cabbage, and cranberry tacos, to grilled oyster mushroom tacos with pineapple and coriander. Very unique experience for sure but a bit pricey! 4/5
Vegan Planet - Right next door to Pitahaya Vegana, this place serves typical vegan fare such as burritos and salads. The portions were the biggest I've seen anywhere and the flavors - "taste healthy" but were not the most delicious I've had. If you're super hungry, this may be a good place to try. Just don't expect "amazing food." 3.5/5
Milkella - A vegan dessert place serving cookies, pastries, and ice cream. We got a cookie and two ice creams. They were very pricey, and the ice cream scoop was soo small. It was interesting and decent but I wouldn't eat there due to the price. 3/5
Utopia - A vegan place specializing in pizza and burgers, I was really disappointed with this place. The service was horrid, their salad was 3 leaves of lettuce, with canned corn and olives (and no dressing - costing 4 dollars! omg). The pizza was decent, and good portion sizes and much more worth it. We got the half hawaiian and half mexican pizza. It was 3/5 stars at best but wouldn't go back due to the bad salad and service.
Veguisima - a casual taco place in the Condesa neighborhood, Veguisma's tacos are whole plant based. We got a mexican squash taco, potato taco (literally cubed potatoes with spices), and egg plant tacos. Not sure if it was worth the money - especially since the potato tacos were potatoes and tortillas.. We also got the vegan ceviche - which was pretty good and made of quinoa and other veggies. They suggested we get dessert - so we did - but it took like 25 minutes to bake... It was a strawberry strudel - the texture good, but it tasted like they didn't add any sugar. Really flavorless. 3/5.
Places I wanted to try, but couldn't:
I wanted to try a few more places but we couldn't since they closed early or opened late. Here are a few you should consider trying:
Itacatl Fonda Vegana: They serve breakfast foods, cold pressed juices, and other vegan fare. It seemed really good but they always closed so early to try for dinner.
Pan D' Monium: A vegan fast food cart serving hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, and agua frescas. I wanted to try this place but when I went, they were catering at some festival so it was closed :(.
Narisco Comedos Vegano: Located near Chapultepec park, they serve vegan desserts, coffee, hamburgers and comfort food. They had great ratings but I never got a chance to try them.
Extra Tips on Staying Vegan:
If all else fails, and there's absolutely no where vegan to eat, here are a few ideas.
1. Fruit Carts: There are small carts everywhere that serve freshly cut fruit such as mangos, watermelon, pineapple, and papayas.
2. Markets and Grocery Stores: Try out local or tropical fruit. I've tried mangos, mamey, bananas, papaya, papausa, and star fruit. All very affordable and yummy!
3. Asian restaurants: When I had absolutely no where to eat, I ate at a Chinese restaurant. One was at a mall food court, where I ordered veggie chow mien, fried rice, and a veggie stir fry. It wasn't good, and probably not 100% vegan (maybe used oyster sauce) but I tried my best. The other, a sit down restaurant, where I ordered veggie stir fried noodles, and mapo tofu. They were a last minute resort, but it worked. I also ate at a Korean restaurant called "Chung Ha" and ordered the two vegan dishes - bibimbap with no eggs or meat, and the ultra fermented soybean paste stew. The side dishes were all vegan as well! Super good - better than most restaurants in Korea!
4. Chip carts: Almost everywhere you go, there are the food carts with bags of potato chips. When you get a bag, they sprinkle mexican hot sauce on it. I haven't tried it but it seems like plain potato chips with hot sauce - so I think they're vegan? Let me know if I'm wrong!
I'm certainly not an expert of Mexico City but these were places I've tried. If you live there or have traveled there, let me know which other places you've liked in the comments below.
Thanks for reading my post! :)
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