If you’re tired of hearing people rave about how tasty Peru’s meat and fish dishes are, I’ve got good news for you—there are many vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Arequipa, and most of them offer a plant-based twist to traditional Peruvian meals.
How do I know?
Well, I spent a month in Arequipa. Needless to say, it gave me a lot of time to taste test the best restaurants after working up an appetite meandering through the city’s cobblestone streets.
So, whether you’re passing through Arequipa for just the day or are settling in for a multi-week stay, I’ll let you in on my favorite vegetarian and vegan restaurants.
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The Wonderful Concept of “Menus“
Peru has a lot of great aspects to its culture. But I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that their menus are among the best of them.
A “menú” refers to a set lunch that includes an appetizer, main meal, drink, and often dessert all for one price.
And a low price at that.
When you’re roaming around Arequipa at lunchtime, you’ll see lots of chalkboards and whiteboards boasting their menus. You can expect them to come with a mound of meat or fish (river trout is the most common type in Arequipa).
Sometimes traditional menú places in Arequipa offer vegetarian meals in the form of an omelet with rice.
But if you’re a vegan, forget about it.
Don’t worry—I’m not trying to tempt you. On the contrary, many vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Arequipa offer a veggie take on Peruvian menus.
They’re delicious, cheap, and you won’t need to eat another meal the rest of the day because you’ll be so full.
So, now that you know what a Peruvian menú is, below are some of the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Arequipa.
Menu vs. Carta
Throw your idea of a menú out the door while you’re in Peru—that pamphlet-like item we use to know what a restaurant offers to eat is called a carta.
So, if you sit down and someone asks, “Menú?” they’re asking if you want their set lunch meal.
That’s what most Peruvians order at lunchtime, so it’s the one most waiters and waitresses will assume you want.
That said, many restaurants offer a more extensive list of foods that they can prepare for you. So, if you’d like to see what they are, ask for the carta.
With that out of the way, let’s look at five of the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Arequipa.
Address: Calle Bolivar 107, Arequipa
Hours of operation: Monday – Sunday from 9:30 am – 9:00 pm
I’ll let you in on a little secret—Omphalos was my favorite vegan and vegetarian restaurant in Arequipa. In fact, I went there so often that the staff would start setting “my” table if they saw me coming through their gorgeous outdoor patio before I sat down.
They offer both a massive carta and a menú.
Despite me eating at Omphalos for at least two full weeks during my time in Arequipa, I never ended up trying anything on their carta because their menú was so darn varied and good.
On numerous occasions, I went there telling myself that would be the day I’d order something from their carta. But inevitably, I’d always end up ordering off the menú.
Not only does Omphalos do a great job of making diverse menú items every day, but they offer more food than the average menú. You’ll receive the following:
- An herbal drink
- Appetizer (often a unique twist on a salad like lentil ceviche or carrots and beets with oil)
Woah! The drink, appetizer, soup, and dessert are the same for anyone who orders a menú. But they offer you three entree choices.
To put all that food into context, below is an example of one of the many menus that I had at Omphalos:
Most days, Omphalos offers a vegan-friendly menu. They indicate right at the top of their menu chalkboard whether it’s a “Menú Vegano” (Vegan Menu) or “Menú Vegetariano” (Vegetarian Menu).
In the case that the menú is vegetarian and you’re a vegan, just let them know and they’ll be able to make adjustments for you, which usually involves leaving off a cheese topping.
The vegetarian and vegan menus at Omphalos cost 11 soles.
If you’re scratching your head thinking that your calculation can’t possibly be correct, you’re likely spot-on—you get all that fresh veggie food for a mere $2.75 USD.
Plus, the restaurant sits only a couple of blocks away from Arequipa’s Plaza de Armas. And I was always more than happy to take the approximately 15-minute walk from my hostel, Selina Arequipa.
I could go on and on about Omphalos. But alas, there are other vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Arequipa that deserve some limelight too.
You can visit Omphalos’ website here.
2. Prana Vegan Club
Address: Calle Ugarte 109
Hours of operation: Monday – Friday from 9:00 am – 9:00 pm; Saturday 9:00 am – 9:30 pm; Closed on Sundays
If you’re a vegan who worries about some egg or cheese slipping into your food, make your way to Prana where 100% of their dishes are plant-based.
Located just a short walk uphill from the Plaza de Armas, Prana has a hole-in-the-wall storefront appearance that will take you by surprise when you get up to the restaurant.
You’ll start by passing through a small entrance that leads into a beautiful internal courtyard of a building that was likely a former Spanish home. Then, climb the narrow, winding metal staircase. When you arrive at the top, Parana Vegan Club will greet you with its second-floor balcony that wraps around the courtyard.
They also offer indoor seating and even a table on a small balcony that overlooks the street.
Needless to say, they’ve done a great job of creating an ambiance that people want to spend time in. And that’s a good thing considering part of Prana’s draw is that they offer a wide carta of artisanal drinks.
They also offer a vegan menú with two options—a 10 soles menú or 12 soles menú.
Both menus offer the same selection of appetizers, where you get to choose one from a list of three.
The 10 and 12 soles menus then have four entree options each that you can choose from, with the 12 soles menú having more expensive ingredients, often containing soy-based “meat.”
Below is the menú that I ordered:
If you’re menú-ed out from eating at Omphalos, Prana offers a wide selection of smoothie bowls, salads, and fruit with ice cream. You can also order vegan takes on traditional Arequipan meals.
Prana is on the pricier side of the restaurants I’m covering here. But if you’ve got some extra soles to spare, I think you’ll find the ambiance worth it.
3. Vida Sana
Address: Octavio Muñoz Najar 135
Hours of operation: Monday – Sunday from 8:00 am – 9:00 pm*
*My first attempt at visiting Vida Sana was on a Sunday, but it was closed.
If you’re looking for a vegetarian restaurant in Arequipa that has a local feel, Vida Sana is an excellent fit.
Before arriving at Vida Sana, I never guessed that vegetarianism was a thing in Arequipa—that certainly hasn’t been the case anywhere else I’ve traveled in Latin America.
So needless to say, I was shocked when I arrived at 12:30 pm and was told that I needed to wait for a table. Upon glancing inside, it appeared that most, if not all, customers were locals, many clearly on their lunch break from work.
Vida Sana offers a carta with vegetarian and vegan dishes. But their biggest draw is their 10 soles menú lunch.
Like Omphalos, Vida Sana’s menú comes with both an appetizer and soup before the entree. As for the entree, you have three options to choose from, and the menú changes daily.
In good ole’ menú fashion, the portions are gigantic. Below was my $2.50 vegetarian menú:
Because Vida Sana stays so busy and it’s the Peruvian way at local restaurants, they may seat you at the same table with a stranger, especially if you’re a single customer.
Also, before sitting down you need to pay at the cash register that’s on the right at the entrance of the restaurant. They only accept cash, so have some soles on you.
Address: Calle Perú 100-D
Hours of operation: Monday – Saturday from 9:30 am – 8:30 pm; Closed on Sundays
Pippala is another local vegetarian restaurant in Arequipa that has a slightly modern ambiance with white-washed walls and long metal-like lights that hang down from the ceiling.
Their menú comes with an appetizer, soup, one of two choices for an entree, dessert, and a drink.
If you’re vegan, let Pippala know and they’ll either be able to guide you to vegan options on the menú or point you to their carta, which has round-the-clock vegan meals.
Pippala is an excellent place to try some Peruvian food as they offer many different takes on traditional dishes.
That said, I didn’t find this place to be the healthiest option of the vegetarian and vegan restaurants on this list—many meals come with a mound of french fries, and the dishes felt carb-based more than veggie-based.
This was the meal I had at Vida Sana:
As with Vida Sana, Pippala was bustling around lunchtime and I had to wait for a table. To this day I’m still amazed by how many locals choose to eat at vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Arequipa!
The number one product that Pippala is most known for is their yogurt. In fact, if you order the menú, the dessert is a dish of this homemade masterpiece.
They also offer some takeaway items you can purchase at the desk where you pay. I recommend trying the vegetarian carrot cake!
You can visit Pippala’s website here.
5. La Bodega Ecané
Address: Calle Simon Bolivar 210
Hours of operation: Friday – Wednesday from 12:30 pm – 8:00 pm; Closed on Thursdays
Located near the Santa Catalina Monastery and just a stone’s throw away from Omphalos, La Bodega Ecané is the most secluded of the vegetarian and vegan restaurants that I’ve covered here.
As its name implies, La Bodega Ecané is a small shop. They have a small selection of homemade vegan sweets and drinks that are great for grabbing on the go.
But if you have time and a bigger appetite, you can eat at their restaurant.
When you arrive at La Bodega Ecané, their store is to the left. However, if you pass straight ahead through a metal gate you’ll arrive in a little patio area where their restaurant is.
You can be sure that all food at La Bodega Ecané is 100% vegan.
They offer many dishes, from pizzas to burritos to sandwiches. You can also order pasta or salad bowls. While I was waiting for my meal, La Bodega Ecané offered me a delicious free appetizer with a blueberry dipping sauce.
And for my main meal, I had a burrito with vegan sausage.
The food was delicious at La Bodega Ecané. It was a bit on the pricey side, though.
Then again, I had gotten so spoiled by eating menus at the other vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Arequipa that anything above 10 or 11 soles ($2.50 or $2.75 USD) felt “expensive.”
What Vegetarian and Vegan Foods Are There in Arequipa?
Now that you’re well on your way to eating some delicious vegan or vegetarian food in Arequipa, you might be wondering—what kind of plant-based Peruvian dishes are available?
Below are some of the many Peruvian dishes that these restaurants can make vegetarian and vegan-friendly:
- Cau cau
- Lomo saltado
- Pastel de papa
- Rocoto relleno
Needless to say, you won’t go hungry during your stay in Arequipa!
Support Animals in Arequipa
Since so many vegetarians and vegans love animals, I’d be remiss not to mention Fundación HOPE. A small group of animal rights activists started this foundation in an attempt to find street dogs and cats homes, get them spayed and neutered, and increase awareness about pet care in their community.
Fundación HOPE takes care of around 120 animals at any given time. As a self-funded organization, they always welcome a visit with donations or volunteers to help with cleaning and spending time with the animals.
Ready to Dig into Some Veggie Food?
There’s a lot I miss about Arequipa. But one of the biggest things I miss, aside from my Saturday volunteer trips to Fundación HOPE, is its vegetarian and vegan restaurants.
Please eat lots for me if you end up visiting these restaurants. And if you order a menú, make sure to take photos of everything that comes with it and send it to your veggie-loving friends back home—they won’t believe what a great deal you got!
As I final note, I recommend tipping at all of these restaurants. Even though some of the more local restaurants won’t expect it, tipping 10 – 20% is a nice gesture. And let’s face it—adding those extra couple of soles to your tab will likely still make your meal far cheaper than ordering that same food in your home country.
P.S.- Are you thinking about taking the Ruta del Sillar tour during your stay in Arequipa? If so, read about my experience, tips, and recommendations here.
Laura has been wandering the globe for over a decade. She’s an early bird and backpacker at heart and can often be spotted with a dog or ten that she’s befriended along the way. Much of the content Laura writes on A Piece of Travel includes details on wheelchair accessibility, with the support of her brother-in-law and sister. You can learn about their accessibility endeavors here.