Looking for some plant-based deliciousness in Mérida? You’re in luck! Eating vegan in the Yucatán capital has never been easier. The city is booming with new eateries, and there are plenty of options to keep vegans fed and happy. In this article I’ll introduce nine excellent places for plant-based eaters.
North of Centro, in the Colonia Chuburná de Hidalgo neighborhood, Huitzilli Saludable is an outdoor zero-waste restaurant open from Monday to Saturday with an ever-changing daily menu serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. For dinner, enjoy vegan alternatives of several popular taco fillings such as pastor and bistec. They operate a zero-plastic policy, so don’t forget your tupperware if you want to take food away! They also offer delivery within the city for a small fee. Excellent home cooked, cruelty-free food for very reasonable prices.
Located on the vibrant Calle 60, Crush specializes in vegan burgers, chicken wings, and other U.S.-style fast-food options.
Its location puts the price range in the mid to upper bracket but visitors will enjoy the flavor and buzzing atmosphere of the open-air courtyard setting. The morning breakfast menu is fairly limited but you can get good chilaquiles, bowls, and fresh juices or smoothies. It’s open late and also hosts regular events, including live music and drag shows.
JAJAJANA opened at their Santiago location in 2022 and is a small, pet-friendly cafe offering a variety of smoothies, barista-made drinks, and aesthetically pleasing breakfast and lunch dishes such as waffles, chilaquiles, tacos, and nourish bowls. The minimalist airy interior opens onto the hustle and bustle of Centro’s streets and is just a minute away from the colorful Santiago market. It is on the pricier end of the scale but their selection of mouth-watering desserts is definitely noteworthy, especially the melt-in-your-mouth peanut butter and jam cookies.
Manik Bal makes the best tamales (vegan or otherwise) I’ve ever tasted. They aren’t stingy with the fillings and have a wide variety of both sweet and savory options, including picadillo de lentejas, verduras entomatadas, rajas and more.
My personal favorite is the Papa con Espinaca y Garbanzos (potato, spinach and chickpeas). Find the stand on Paseo Montejo in the evenings from Wednesday to Sunday. You’ll want to make sure you buy enough so that you have some tamales left over for breakfast the next day too! At $30 pesos per tamale this is a great, filling and healthy budget option for dinner.
Centrally located just off Paseo Montejo and in front of Parque de Santa Ana, Vegan Inc. opened its doors in September 2022 and boasts an extensive menu of lunch and dinner favorites including burgers, tacos, salads, pizza, pasta, and more. It has an upmarket feel and also serves vegan variations of seasonal dishes such as Chiles en Nogada, as well as delicious cocktails and other alcoholic beverages. The interior is spacious, fresh, and modern, with beautiful colorful murals adorning the walls.
Located in the Francisco de Montejo neighborhood in north Mérida, just a five-minute drive away from the Harbor lifestyle mall, Distrito Vegano is a vegan pizzeria serving pizzas, tacos, and other fast-food options using artisanal vegan meats made by Blue Deer Food. The interior is basic and clean. There are also some dessert offerings, including Vegansitos, a vegan alternative to the popular Gansito cake bars.
Blue Deer Food is a vegan carnicería (butcher shop) and microbrewery producing frozen seitan-based Mexican meat favorites including pastor and carnitas for you to cook at home. These products are available for delivery, as well as at various health stores such as Ya’axtal and Mr. Tofu. At Christmas time they also offer a cooked Christmas dinner for delivery that you can heat and eat at home. Yum!
For weekend breakfast, brunch, and lunch options, Muchas Vidas regularly attracts a throng of vegans and non-vegans alike. The centrally-located medium-sized restaurant has high ceilings and minimalist decor with basic wooden furniture. On the menu are many delicious brunch favorites, including chilaquiles, hotcakes, and a potato omelet stuffed with delicious vegetables and vegan cheese. Drink options include failsafe breakfast favorites such as cold-brew coffee and orange juice, as well as refreshing lemonades. Be sure to make a reservation to avoid disappointment and ensure you get a table.
Orgánico is a family-run cafe situated slightly south of Centro. Enter an oasis of calm as you step away from the heat and noise of Centro’s streets and into their gorgeous yard brimming with plants and greenery. Orgánico boasts an excellent and extensive coffee menu (try the coconut horchata iced coffee to satisfy your sweet tooth), and a fully vegetarian breakfast and lunch menu with plenty of vegan options. They serve reasonably-priced pastas, salads, sandwiches and more, plus refreshing and fruity Aguas Frescas. We highly suggest trying the filling sandwiches, especially the vegan BLT. If you’re looking for something a bit lighter, try the quinoa salad.
Cafe Organico [Vegetariano]
Located in Plaza Colón, in the Garcia Ginerés neighborhood, Cafe Organico is a small, unpretentious vegetarian cafe and shop selling a wide range of health foods, supplements, superfoods, vegan burger patties, and ice cream. The stripped-back, colourful interior houses a few small tables and has a homely feel, serving high-quality coffee and a limited menu of basic but hearty cafe fare. Combine a visit here with Saturday’s Slow Food Market and enjoy sitting out (or in with the air conditioning, depending on the heat!) with a coffee or a veggie burger while picking up pantry supplies.
Plaza Colón: Calle 33-D #498 x Calle 72, García Ginerés
Tel. 999 925 2831
FB: Cafe Organico de Merida
Mon. – Fri. 9 am – 7:30 pm, Sat. 9 am – 3:30 pm
By Kate Buckle
British teacher and writer. Lover of travel, swimming, nature, iced coffee, and animals (especially whales).
Photography by Kate Buckle, Huitzilli Saludable, Crush, Jajajana, Manik Bal, Vegan Inc., Distrito Vegano, Muchas Vidas, Orgánico, and Cafe Organico for its use in Yucatán Today.
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