Vegan in Mexico City

One of the street foods we do eat, freshly cut mango with chili and lime for about $1

Before deciding to go to Mexico City, we repeatedly had the thought, “What will we eat as vegans?” We assumed most street food and restaurants would be off limits and that we’d be doing most of our cooking at home. While we did in fact cook at home a lot, mainly because it was cost effective and produce was not only cheap but also fresh there, we were been pleasantly surprised by the amount of vegan offerings in Mexico City and even within a mile radius of us. It helped we were in Roma Norte, a neighborhood known for having vegan and vegetarian offerings, so it may be that other parts of the city aren’t quite so vegan-friendly.

We downloaded the Happy Cow app on our phones to help us locate vegan places and found that there were 20 restaurants and stores within a mile of us that had vegan items, with plenty more beyond that. While we didn’t make it to every place, we reached quite a few spots to taste their offerings and definitely found a few that were worthy of repeating. Here’s our take on the vegan vittles here in Mexico City, listed in order of our favorites, with the first 5 being the ones where we were repeat customers.

***Before diving in, note that the things that are important to us are flavor, price, the fullness factor and the ability for takeaway. With having a 5 month old infant, sit down restaurants weren’t as fun for us, so a couple of these places might be higher on the list for others that don’t have to deal with entertaining an infant in a restaurant. And being runners, we value the portion size, especially given the price.

Places we tried:

  1. Gatorta
  2. Pan D’ Monium
  3. Falafelito
  4. Viko Food Stand
  5. Warung Makan
  6. Utopia
  7. Papalo & Papalotl
  8. Vegani
  9. La Pitahaya Vegana
  10. Los Antojos del Alma
  11. Capricho Helado
  12. The Green Corner (Grocery Store)

Gatorta – Food Stand

Lots of vegan magic happening in this little food stand

Lots of vegan magic happening in this little food stand

What kind of food? Outdoor stand selling vegan street food: tortas (Mexican sandwiches), tacos, gringas and desserts. The torta options were the same as regular tortas (Milanesa, Pastor, Salchicha), but with different meat substitutes made with wheat gluten or soy. The desserts usually included tiramisu, cupcakes, and donuts, but it wasn’t a given that everything was in stock. Located just off Avenida Insurgentes, really close to the roundabout of Insurgentes and Chapultepec, and the subway station. Here since Sept 2015 and inexpensive. You can eat there at the food stand or get take-out. 

The Milanesa torta with a view of the tiramisu and cupcake in the background.

The Milanesa torta with a view of the tiramisu in the background.

What did we eat? We ate every single type of torta over the course of our stay in Mexico City, with our favorite being the Milanesa and Suadero Tortas. The Pastor was the spiciest of all of them and we weren’t a huge fan of the Salchicha, as it was mini soy hotdogs cut up. We loved every kind of dessert and often took several of each kind, including tiramisu (coffee flavor, though they had strawberry and coconut too) and, chocolate cupcakes and the assorted donitas (little donuts that tasted more like cake than a donut). We ate every sandwich with all the available toppings (like avocado, pickles, tomatoes…) and put on other toppings like salsa, pickled onions, and other pickled vegetables. We ate every single bit of everything we ordered from there.

Menu - lots of options at great prices

Menu – lots of options at great prices

What did we think? Loved it. Similar to the Viko food stand, the food was tasty, cheap, and filling, and all vegan. The desserts were fantastic. We’re often let down by desserts but these exceeded expectations and then some. On a normal trip, we often spent somewhere around 100-150 pesos ($5.60-$7.80) and got two huge sandwiches with all the fixings on top, a big piece of tiramisu, and a cupcake with yummy frosting and a cherry on top. We liked the torta much more than the gringa, and the coffee flavored tiramisu and chocolate cupcakes were our favorite desserts. There was only one time where it seemed to take forever to get our order, around 3 in the afternoon (their hours were 2pm-9pm), but that’s when a lot of other people were there. We learned from that trip to go at off times, around 5-6pm, and it took much less time to get our food.

The Pastor Gringa with the cupcake and tiramisu in the background.

The Pastor Gringa with the cupcake and tiramisu in the background.

Would we go back? Absolutely. We kept this place in our rotation and ate there at least twice a week. The only downside was that they didn’t open until 2pm, so lunch was out of the question, but it was a go-to dinner spot since it’s just a half mile walk from our home. A few times we ordered 4 tortas so we could keep 2 for the next day’s lunch, especially if it was a travel day and that way we already had lunch made!

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Pan D’Monium

A fairly unassuming food stand that puts out some delicious food

A fairly unassuming food stand that puts out some delicious food

What kind of food? An all-vegan fast food stall serving hamburgers, hot-dogs, fries, and aguas frescas. Three burger options available: veggie, soy, and wheat. It’s near a really nice park off Calle Durango, on a quiet street, not too far from Avenida Insurgentes.

What did we eat? We tried all three types of burgers, the fries, and the banana bread dessert. The only thing we didn’t try was the chocolate pudding with whipped cream.

Side shot of all three different burgers that we tried.

Side shot of all three different burgers that we tried.

What did we think? Fantastic, the burgers at least. The fries were a little undercooked since they were frozen and then cooked on the griddle, rather than in a fryer, but it was forgivable because the burgers were delicious. Each one had a very unique flavor, and we got all the toppings included on each one, along with a chipotle dipping sauce. The buns were good, the burgers were yummy, and best of all, it took about 10 minutes (at the most) to put together our order. That’s the fastest we’ve ever had our food prepared and the women working there were really nice. The banana bread wasn’t as sweet as a typical dessert, but it would be a fantastic breakfast option. After eating Gatorta’s desserts, almost nothing compares.

A cool graphic of all the vegan places in Mexico City

A cool graphic of all the vegan places in Mexico City

Would we go back? Absolutely. We were sad we discovered it with just a week to go in Mexico City, but after finding it, we went back 2 more times. Granted, it was a small menu so there was only so much we could explore, but for the price (45 pesos for a burger, 10 for fries, or 60 for a combo with burger, fries and a drink), we were really happy with it. And it just tasted healthy and we finished each meal feeling full, but not stuffed. It was very close to Gatorta and really close to a nice park, so we could see getting food to go and eating in the park, or getting it to go and hitting up Gatorta for dessert (though we kinda felt like we were cheating on Gatorta when we walked up with a bag of food already in hand).
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Falafelito

What kind of food? All vegan Middle Eastern cuisine.

View of the front, fairly easy to find and right next to a nice park.

View of the front, fairly easy to find and right next to a nice park.

What did we eat? We went there a few times and tried the falafel salad, the falafel classic sandwich in the pita bread, and the falafel snack, which is 15 falafel balls with hummus. We repeated the falafel classic sandwich and the falafel snack.

Matt and Paavo ordering up some falafel balls

Matt and Paavo ordering up some falafel balls

What did we think? Great tasting, cheap food, with a few caveats that don’t necessarily keep us from going back, but which certainly put a damper on things. The first time we went they were out of pita bread. Hmmm, how is a falafel place whose menu relies heavily on pita bread, not have any bread? Granted, it was about 30 minutes after they had opened, so maybe they didn’t get their delivery? To make it up to us they gave us lots of free sauces with our falafel salad (which was quite good) and falafel snack (15 falafel balls with hummus for just 60 pesos). The second time we went it was packed with lots of other people, so the service was sloooow. As we stood there, 4 different people got orders that were wrong or missing pieces of a combination (one woman got another guy’s sandwich and another got the wrong sandwich entirely). Once we got our falafel sandwich and snack of 15 falafel balls, we headed to a nearby park to eat, only to realize we didn’t have hummus for our falafel balls. It’s strange that service would be so slow and so wrong, because they had 4 people working in a food service facility that’s fairly assembly-line styled. They would be wowed by Chipotle and Subway, that’s for sure.

Falafel balls and falafel sandwich side by side

Falafel balls and falafel sandwich side by side

Would we go back? Yes, only we’d be prepared for slow service, and we’d check our order before leaving. Overall it’s a great vegan option that’s cheap, unique for Mexico City and the service is friendly, just not the most punctual or correct.
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Viko – Food stand

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Matt doing double duty holding Paavo and a burrito.

What kind of food? Outside stand offering vegan food, in front of Torre Bancomer (just outside of the Leones gate of Chapultepec Park) since early-2016. Find tacos, gringas, burritos, and some desserts like brownies and galletas, or small cookies.

What did we eat? We’ve eaten several different kinds of burritos, the flavored waters, the cookies, the brownie, and the coffee, so nearly everything but the gringas and tacos.

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A view of the inside of the stand. Is that really what my hair looks like from behind? Yikes.

What did we think? Love it. Quick, fresh, flavorful, and cheap. It’s right outside one of the entrances to Chapultepec Park, so Matt often picks up two burritos to go and drinks some fruit water while he waits. Burritos are 30 pesos each, drinks are 12, and desserts are 20. We can each eat, drink, and share a dessert for around 100 pesos total, or about $5.60. And they are open in the morning with coffee so sometimes we go just for coffee and cookies and a walk around the park.

Would we go back? Yep, have been there at least 5 times already in 2 weeks and will definitely keep it in the rotation. The service can be a little slow if they have quite a few people ordering, but we’ve found that’s the case at nearly every place we visit in Mexico City since they make it fresh just after ordering, with limited cooking supplies in small food stands.
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Warung Makan

A view from outside the restaurant.

A view from outside the restaurant.

What kind of food? Indonesian food that has a few vegetarian and vegan dishes, upon request. The owner and chef, Eni, is willing to omit certain ingredients and will veganize menu items for you.

Inside the restaurant. Matt was very thorough in getting pictures for our Indonesian friends.

Inside the restaurant. Matt was very thorough in getting pictures for our Indonesian friends.

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All the food we often get to-go, including white rice, soup, tempeh, nasi goren, and eggplant. Not the best picture quality, but you get the idea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did we eat? We had the Nasi Goren vegan (no egg), a tempeh dish that comes with soup and rice, and an eggplant dish.

What did we think? Love it. Big portions, great prices, and the owner is wonderful. She is Indonesian so everything tastes authentic and she was very welcoming in making items vegan for us.

Julie with the owner and chef, Eni, a super friendly woman and wonderful chef.

Julie with the owner and chef, Eni, a super friendly woman and wonderful chef.

Would we go back? Yes, we’ve already been there at least 3 times, with it being a regular in our rotation. It helps the restaurant is literally three doors down from us, so when we’re not in the mood to cook, it’s our go-to spot. While this restaurant isn’t on the Happy Cow app, and since it’s not strictly vegan or vegetarian, it might not be a go-to option for us, but because of its proximity to us, and the wonderful flavor, price and portion sizes, we loved it. And we liked chatting with Eni while we waited, as she is fluent in Spanish and speaks a great deal of English.
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Utopia

What kind of food? Small cafe/bar with nice decor offering vegan food: pizza, burgers, hot dogs, empanadas. Opened Apr 2015.

A view from the inside, a tiny place with lots of character

A view from the inside, a tiny place with lots of character

What did we eat? We had a pizza, half margarita and half mexicano. We also tried the ham and pinnaple empanada.

What did we think? The food was wonderful. The dough had great flavor, as I think the empanada dough and the pizza dough are the same, the pizza was delicious, the fake cheese was actually one of the tastiest fake cheeses we’ve ever had (waaaaay better than Vegani and not at all oddly stickly like Daiya cheese sometimes gets). The empanada had good flavor, though Julie would have wanted to try other flavors, as she’s not a fan of pineapple in her food. Matt had run a marathon in Toluca that day so she figured she’d be nice and give him first pick. And the price was great. I believe we spent under 200 pesos for a large pizza and an empanada.

Our half and half pizza with the empanada in the top right corner

Our half and half pizza with the empanada in the top right corner

Would we go back? Yes, but only if we could order ahead. The biggest downside to the place is that it was sloooow. We waited for an hour for the food to be made, I think because their oven can only hold two pizzas at a time, and the restaurant was full (it only seats about 12). We figured we’d wait about 30 minutes, but were shocked when it was an hour before food was ready. At that point we’d butted up against bedtime for Paavo, so we were trying to entertain a fussy infant in a restaurant, Matt was tired and hungry from the marathon that morning, and we still had a 10 minute walk home in the rain. Because the food was good and because they have lots of other options, we’d go back, but either call ahead or go do other errands while we wait for food to be made (or go at off-times, hoping the restaurant is empty of other patrons).
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Papalo Papalotl

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Julie paying the bill with a view of the outside of the restaurant.

What kind of food? Vegan restaurant offering lots of different vegan options, sort of a mix of Western and Mexican food.

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The enchiladas, which now that I look back on in pictures look better than I remember. Maybe we will have to go back for more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did we eat? We ate the falafel-like balls in a slightly spicy tomato sauce, and the sweet potato enchiladas in a mole sauce, with roasted potatoes and rice on the side. We also had the agua del dia, which was papaya.

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The falafel-like balls in a yummy sauce with a oddly pretty side of beans. Roasted potatoes on the left and rice in the bottom right.

 

What did we think? The food was really well presented and very flavorful, our favorite likely being the roasted potatoes. So simple, yet very satisfying. Julie liked the falafel balls better than the enchiladas. We thought about getting dessert to go but it was pretty pricey (a carrot cupcake for 50 pesos, while entrees were around 100), so we opted to not get any dessert. The papaya water was very fresh and satisfying.

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Julie on Paavo duty while Matt digs into the enchiladas and rice. Someday Paavo will hopefully eat this food right alongside us.

Would we go back? Maybe. The meal was satisfying but not really satiating. We left feeling like it was missing a richness and with our bill being about $20 USD, it didn’t feel worth spending almost more than we would in the US for a lunch here in Mexico. To be fair, we’ve also been spoiled with Plum Bistro in Seattle, which serves very rich vegan food. And we’ve been craving rich food for the last 2 weeks, so basically since we arrived, so had we eaten here upon arriving, we might think differently. I could see re-visiting the restaurant after we’ve tried all the other vegan options, but I also wouldn’t be heartbroken if we didn’t go back. Also, with it being a sit-down restaurant, it was hard to enjoy our meal while entertaining Paavo, so this is one that could be much higher up on others’ list, but not on ours. We only ate at the restaurant that one time, as there were so many other good vegan options to try out and so many others to repeat before going back here.
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Vegani

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A view of the front; seating for about 8-10 people.

What kind of food? A 100% vegan pizza place in Roma Norte opened Feb 2015. Signs out front advertise pizzas, but also serve entrees, salads, a few non-pizza mains, snacks and desserts.

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Burger and fries on the left and pizza on the right (obviously, but hey, I love captions)

What did we eat? We ordered the Quinoa burger and fries to go, and the BBQ pizza, which had broccoli and mushrooms. While we waited for the food, we tried the cheesecake, an americano, and the agua del dia, which was pinnapple and coconut.

What did we think? We really wanted to like it. Our meal started off strong with a really good agua and cheesecake. The americano tasted more like water than coffee, but we’ve been fairly disappointed with all the coffee here so far. The cheesecake was yummy, made of cashews and though it was a little icy, as that’s how some of those desserts get, it was still delicious as it thawed out. Once we got home we dove into the burger and fries and the pizza. The cheese they use is…interesting. It was slathered on the burger (I thought it was mashed potatoes on the burger) and in huge clumps on the pizza. The burger and fries was definitely tasty and very filling. The pizza was kind of odd, both the BBQ sauce and the cheese. Julie eventually picked off all the cheese and it wasn’t the best vegan pizza we’ve ever had. After one piece it became pretty unappetizing and we ended up throwing away the last piece, which if anyone knows us, they know we NEVER throw away food (ehem, Matt running Rocky Raccoon 100 with food poisoning because he ate bad beans that we didn’t want to toss). We’re thru-hikers; we don’t waste food, so that says a lot that we didn’t finish the pizza.

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Paavo eyeing our cheesecake and drinks

Would we go back? We would have to exhaust all the other vegan options in the city before going back, or we’d just go back for fries and dessert. The prices were very cheap though, so it’s worth a shot at other items on the menu. We got two entrees, two drinks, and dessert for 277 pesos, or about $15 (we got the family size pizza; kind of a mistake since it wasn’t so great). A place to try, but be aware of the odd tasting cheese.
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La Pitahaya Vegana

What kind of food? This restaurant uses fresh ingredients to make vegan breakfast bowls, lunch and dinner meals featuring pink tortillas and cashew cheese, plus desserts like almond milk ice cream and chia pudding.

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What did we eat? Matt ate a cauliflower and cottage cheese taco on a pink tortilla and Julie at the mango flavored ice cream. We weren’t overly hungry, so we just wanted to try a taste of a couple dishes.

What did we think? Matt’s taco had really good flavor and the ice cream was certainly an improvement from that at Capricho helado, but for the cost and the fullness factor, it wasn’t our favorite. The taco was 25 pesos, so not really steep, but pricey enough because it would take about 4 tacos to feel even remotely full (at least in our runner stomachs). Normally tacos at other food stands have been about 10-15 pesos each. Julie’s ice cream was good and there was a hint of creaminess (it was made out of cashews), but still lacked richness and was a bit icy. At 50 pesos for a small scoop, it was a bit disappointing. On the upside, the head guy there, Guillermo, was super nice, knowledgeable, really well-spoken, and had nearly perfect English, so it was easy to communicate with him.

The restaurant is situated among lots of other little food stands within one building

The restaurant is situated among lots of other little food stands within one building

Would we go back? Because of all the other flavorful, cheaper vegan options in Mexico City, we likely wouldn’t go back. It’s just a little too pricey (and we get it, they are using expensive ingredients like cashews) with small pretty small portions.
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Los Antojos del Alma

The pizza with a good tasting crust but some overly earthy mushrooms

The pizza with a good tasting crust but some overly earthy mushrooms

What kind of food? According to Happy Cow, they have are a vegan deli and take away shop serving Mexican & international food from breakfast to dinner. Shop area sells vegan snacks and even dog treats.

What did we eat? That’s where it’s a little tricky. We showed up asking about vegan food “para llevar” or to-go, but they didn’t have a menu. They said they were in the middle of a “soft opening”, so they were playing around with a new menu. The had a menu for beverages and smoothies, but no food. But, they said they could cook something for us, so we told them that were were writing a story about vegan food in Mexico City on our blog, and to give us their two best entrees. We walked away with a small pizza (8 inch?) and a tamale. They were very nice and also gave us some papaya water for free while we waited.

What did we think? The flavor was good for each dish, the portions were a bit small for 70 pesos each, and they didn’t exactly wow us, given that we asked for their two best dishes that they could make. And it was kind of a bummer they didn’t have an actual menu. It had such potential!

Our tamale; I have no idea what was in it

Our tamale; I have no idea what was in it

Would we go back? They said they’d have a set menu in 3 weeks, which is precisely when we left Mexico City, so unfortunately, we didn’t go back. Kind of a bummer because it seemed like a cool place and the food had good flavor, so we would have been likely to go back.
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Capricho Helado

What kind of food? Small vegan ice cream parlor and cafe, opened Feb 2015. Serves vegan burgers and hot-dogs, desserts.

Menu of the day, which had lots of options and possibly some items we'd go back to try.

Menu of the day, which had lots of options and possibly some items we’d go back to try.

What did we eat? We ate the Caramel ice cream and Brownies and vanilla ice cream, both topped with chocolate sauce.

Dear god, is that what I look like in public? I mean...here I am with my caramel ice cream.

Dear god, is that what I look like in public? I mean…here I am with my caramel ice cream.

What did we think? The ice cream was more icy and less creamy than we’d hoped, so it was a bit of a letdown. The brownie flavor was definitely better than the caramel. We felt like we chose the richer of the flavors so we were fairly disappointed when neither was very creamy or rich. The chocolate sauce tasted like more sugar than chocolate, so again, a little disappointing. The chocolate cakes looked good and the drinks sounded good, but we didn’t want to eat that much in one sitting. And we’d already spent 110 pesos on two scoops of ice cream.

Would we go back? Maybe we’d go back to test out the cakes, but we wouldn’t go back for the ice cream. It just wasn’t satisfying enough and for the price, wasn’t worth it at 50 pesos a scoop, plus 5 more for chocolate sauce. We tried this place before discovering the desserts at Gatorta, so we never went back and didn’t miss it at all.
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The Green Corner

What kind of food? Both a grocery store and restaurant with lots of vegan items mixed in.

What did we eat? We haven’t eaten at the restaurant yet, just perused the grocery store, which had a lot of items. We were looking for baby food in particular, as a local Mexican woman in another supermarket told us to check out this store for organic baby food.

What did we think? They have lots of products that we eat at home and we could see revisiting it if we’re in need of a particular ingredient or other vegan item.

Would we go back? Yes, mainly because the first trip was for a specific product that they didn’t have, so we’d go back with other products in mind.
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