When planning a meal out, one of my main dilemmas as a vegetarian is to pick places where both my omnivorous friends and I will find dishes that are delicious and suitable for our dietary preferences. Places that meet the expectations of every member of a group aren’t easy to find; plus, now that Lent is here, there may be carnivores looking for options that allow them to abstain from meat without making too much of a fuss.
This is why I’ve tried to make a list of some of my favorite restaurants, which offer varied concepts that can satisfy any craving and adapt to my eating style, without affecting those dining with me. My list is pretty extensive and it would be impossible for me to include them all in one article, but I’ve taken on the difficult task of choosing a few I can share with you.
Its very slogan identifies it as “non-gourmet food and art,” a phrase that perfectly describes this cozy space located in Centro. El Apapacho offers a variety of Mexican food with a homemade touch that, complemented by its picturesque terrace and its integrated bookstore, creates an ideal environment for a comforting experience.
Their meat-free dishes include cauliflower Ceviches, Mexican-style mushrooms, and, my personal favorite, vegetarian Enmoladas. Honoring the restaurant’s name (which roughly translates into “a hug for the soul”), this dish is a true treat. If you love Mole as much as I do, you’ll understand what I mean.
By the way, for those abstaining from meat this Lent, their menu also includes the most exotic seafood dishes, such as ceviche with Salsa Macha oil, roasted Aguachile, and tropical ceviche. Personally, there aren’t many foods that make me want to go off the vegetarian diet, but each one of these dishes makes me want to consider it.
Calle 62 #354 x 41 y 43 Centro
Tel. 999 923 1385
FB: El Apapacho
Wed. – Mon. 8 am – 10 pm
This fast food option seeks to create a fusion of flavors, taking dishes from different cultures and turning them into tacos. A brilliant idea, in my opinion. On its menu, you can find burritos, quesadillas, and tacos, as well as healthy bowls. They all incorporate internationally inspired dishes, such as Buffalo chicken, Greek gyro, Cuban pork, Lebanese mushrooms (their vegetarian option), and, their own creation, Vegamaica (vegan option).
I encourage you to try the delicious Lebanese mushroom tacos on pita bread and the Vegamaica bowl, and, before leaving, don’t miss out on ordering one of their original churros with toppings. The Dalmatian churro is from another world.
Anillo periférico x 19 Hacienda Sodzil Norte
Tel. 999 121 3833
Mon. – Sun. 8 am – 10:30 pm
Hacienda Teya restaurant is, without question, one of the most representative of our regional cuisine. But perhaps you did not know that its menu has a vegan dish, which allows those who do not consume animal-based products to experience Yucatán’s culinary offer.
Although the Papadzules, stuffed with eggs, are the quintessential vegetarian dish of Yucatecan cuisine, Hacienda Teya also offers the exquisite and innovative vegan Papadzules, which replace the egg with local pumpkin. A fresh creation.
Km 12.5 Carretera Mérida-Peto
Tel. 999 429 2431
FB: Hacienda Teya
Mon. – Sun. 12 – 6 pm
At the risk of creating controversy, I will state that Truck Chef has, in my opinion, the best burgers in Merida. This small stall focuses on presenting gourmet burgers in a casual concept.
Luckily, their menu includes several alternatives to beef. You can find falafel, the Blondie Feta burger made with oatmeal, and one of my favorite dishes for Friday nights: the Pink Floyd burger, with a juicy breaded portobello mushroom stuffed with American cheese. Be warned, though: it is highly addictive.
Avenida Cámara de Comercio x 15 Fraccionamiento Montecristo
Tel. 999 902 9455
FB: Truck Chef
Mon. – Sat. 6:30 – 11 pm
This restaurant has already become an icon of Mérida’s Centro, with its traditional Trova nights and its diverse menu, which ranges from pizzas to regional food. Recently I was surprised to find its wide variety of vegetarian specialties, which incorporate our region’s very characteristic flavors.
Among all the options available, the dish that I enjoyed the most was the eggplant meshe, stuffed with vegetables and bathed in K’ool (a Maya corn-based gravy) and red salsa with melted cheese, but there are many more to choose from.
Calle 59 #507 x 60 y 62 Centro
Tel. 999 928 2451
Mon. – Sat. 11 am – 11:30 pm
Before concluding, I want to make a special mention of Lichito, a family business that uses organic ingredients to prepare Mexican and regional food, offering options for both carnivores and vegetarians. As a tip, their vegan flank steak is the best I’ve tried in terms of meat alternatives.
Be sure to visit their stand on your next Saturday walk through the Slow Food Mérida Norte market and try these delicious tacos.
By Regina Zumárraga
Communicologist specialized in food and product photography. I’m passionate about learning about the culture and gastronomy of different places. In my free time, you can find me at the beach.
Photography by the restaurants for its use in Yucatán Today.
Esta entrada también está disponible en: ES