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Looking for the best vegan restaurants and options in Chile? This is your guide to plant-based, dairy-free, vegana / vegano finds in this beautiful South American country. We cover vegetarian foods in Santiago, how to veganize Chilean food, and how to ask for vegan options in Spanish when you’re traveling in Chile.
The Republic of Chile has a population of 17 million people in South America. While it’s one of the least populated countries, it has an impressive economic growth rate that’s one of the highest in Latin America. Known as the longest country in the world (seriously, look it up on a map!) it has an incredible range of climates and geography from deserts in the North to rainy forests and lakes in the South plus gorgeous beaches in the central region. While Chile may not strike you as the most vegan-friendly destination at first, when you take a deeper look you’ll find a mesmerizing web of delicious vegan restaurants, meals, brands, and plant-based food options throughout the country.
Eating Vegan in Santiago & Other Breathtaking Chilean Cities
Santiago, the biggest city in Chile, contains 40% of Chile’s population and is notably the most vegan-friendly area of Chile. It’s Chile’s capital and according to Forbes magazine, it’s South America’s fastest-moving city. The port city has a metropolitan feel to it due to over 6 million residents occupying 32 square miles and is a hub of vegan innovation. Popular brands like Not Co (the makers of Not Milk) originated in Chile, and we’re excited to share the other vegan gems you’ll find there.
Santiago also has an impressive transit system for getting around efficiently and quickly, however, it can be crowded during rush hour. For outdoorsy people looking for epic hiking trails outside of the city, Chile has Colchagua and Maule which host several national parks and reserves within their borders. If you’re a surfer you’ll probably enjoy Chile’s Pacific coast. Large cities in Chile also include:
Vina del Mar (pop. 60k) — known for its expansive beaches
Valparaíso (pop. 286k) — Chile’s second largest city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Concepción (pop. 435k) — Chile’s third biggest city and home to Chile’s longest river, The Biobio River
What Type of Food is Eaten in Chile?
The traditional Chilean cuisine is focused on the use of local ingredients such as potatoes, beans, beef, seafood caught near the coast line, and wine. If you’re looking for delightful vegan alcohol and spirits, Chile has amazing wine. Truly amazing, you need to try it!
While Chile does have strong Indigenous origins, it also has some European roots due to 300 years under Spanish rule, Chile has developed its own unique culture thanks to immigration from Asia and the Middle East which means its food is very special. Some fun Chilean foods include:
Ceviche: Raw fish cooked in lemon juice with some chopped onions, but you can make an amazing vegan ceviche with chopped mushrooms or hearts of palm.
Humitas: Very similar to the Mexican tamales but without a filling, and they are most of the times accidentally vegan. Just make sure it was made with vegetable “manteca.”
Cazuela: A very rustic soup made with chicken or veggie broth, potatos, corn, chicken and carrots. Can be easily made vegan with vegan chicken or by keeping it veggie heavy. very similar to it’s mexican counterpart, Caldo de Pollo.
Chorrillana: This dish consists of french fries topped with cooked beef and soemtimes cheese—but you can veganize it using vegan beef and cheese!
Empanadas: Yes, Chile also has empanadas like Spain or Argentina. The two most popular kinds are pino empanadas which are made with cooked ground beef, spices, raisins and half a boiled egg; or melted cheese empanadas. You can find delicious vegan empanadas in Chile or make your own from scratch!
Pisco: The national alcoholic drink by choice, pisco is destilled nationally and used to prepare seriously delcious drinks like “Pisco Sour” and “Mango Sour”. Make sure you ask if they add egg to the mix before ordering.
Pan con Palta: Basically an avocado toast, Chileans have been eating this now popular dish for as long as they can remember. It was and is the breakfast and snack of choice.
Fortunately, Chileans are very open-minded when it comes to taste, so vegan Chilean options are more accessible than you might think. The food that Chileans eat tends to be fresh, simple, hearty, uncomplicated, and delicious. To keep the ingredients local, Chile has instituted laws that forbid large corporations from importing or selling food. Note: they have very strict customs agricultural laws so make sure you don’t have any fruits or veggies in your luggage when you enter the country or they might fine you.
Vegetarian & Vegan Restaurants in Chile
You’ll find vegan Chilean options everywhere you go if you explore local restaurants as well as grocery stores. Santiago is a bustling city and there are a large number of vegan options of international cuisine or Chilean cuisine. Among the vegan options, Chileans enjoy are: cafeterias where you can sit down and eat sandwiches, pastries, salads, and casual food, outdoor seating at parks and outside at restaurants, Chilean coffee shops (coffee is vegan!), and several vegetarian restaurants where you can find American-style dishes like veggie burgers as well as local Chilean food.
Some of Chile’s most popular Chilean dishes can be veganized if you ask at a Chilean restaurant or churrasquerias (grills). Sushi places are also another great option since they almost always have a “veggie” option and you can customize any of their sushi rolls. Another easy vegan option there are their vegetable gyozas and vegetable tempura platters.
Vegan and Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Santiago:
Sapiens (Avenida Italia 1206, Providencia, Santiago, Chile)
Quinoa (C. Luis Pasteur 5393, Vitacura, Región Metropolitana, Chile)
Fast Food Restaurants and Cafes with Vegan Options
Papa John’s Pizza: they have two different fully vegan pizzas on their menu and they use Follow Your Heart vegan cheese. Look for “The Vgean Queen” and the delicious “The Vegan Royal” with Not Co vegan ground beef. So good!
Dunkin Donuts: Donut lovers rejoice! In Chile, you will have the chance to try not one but several vegan donut types with delicious fillings, plus a couple of vegan muffins and vegan coffee frappucinnos using NotMilk. Vegan paradise!
Starbucks: Another vegan-friendly eatery thanks to the NotCo milk and meat patty. You can order all their milk-based drinks with NotMilk and they have at least one vegan panini and vegan muffin.
Domino: This Chilean classic hot dog eatery has stepped up and included several vegan options to their very popular menu. From completos (loaded hot dogs) to beyond meat burgers and more!
You can find vegetarian and vegan restaurants, grocery stores, and options wherever you go by searching “vegan” on Yelp, or through the Happy Cow app.
In addition to eateries, there are always vegan Chilean options in convenience stores and grocery stores, just make sure you read the ingredients carefully and you will be surprised. You can also load up on local fruits that grow abundantly in Chile such as bananas, apples, strawberries, oranges, limes, grapefruits, chirimoyas (or “custard apples”), lucumas, papayas, passion fruit, nectarines, peaches, mangoes, and avocados.
Plant-Based Milks Abound in Chile
The number one thing you’ll probably notice is the abundance of plant-based milk options. You’ll find almond milk, rice milk, soy milk, oat milk, coconut milk, and more. This vegan drink revolution has also reached Chile and Chileans can choose from a wide array of vegan milks at the grocery store. The vegan milk brand Not Milk was founded in Chile!
If you want to take vegan Chilean cooking classes in Santiago check out the vegetarian Chilean restaurants listed below and look for options where they offer vegetarian cooking classes.
Chilean Vegan Main Dishes
Completos or hot dogs: First let me clarify that Chileans do not eat the hot dogs you are used to. In Chile, they are “completos” which means you will be handed over a hot dog with chopped tomatoes, mashed avocado, sauerkraut (or “chucrut”), mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard. They are massive but oh so good, you can use vegan sausages from the brand Riku o make your own with some marinated carrots.
Curanto: dish cooked in the ground with leaves covering every layer. Traditionally prepared in the cold and gorgeous Chiloé region and can include potatoes, vegetables, seafood and meats.
Rice pudding or arroz con leche: made with plant-based milk such as rice or oat milk topped with fresh fruit such as raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and blueberries.
Vegan Ice Cream: You can find vegan flavors in almost every ice cream parlour you visit but you can also enjoy some insanely delicious tubs from NotCo. My favorite flavors are Salted Caramel, Cookies and Cream and Raspberry Cheesecake.
Fruit ice lollipops (look for Guallarauco brand, they always have a wide variety)
Homemade ice cream: made with rice or oat milk and coconut sugar.
Mil hojas or thousand layers cake (a chilean pastry consisting of at least 6 layers of puff pastry with choux paste in the middle and fondant icing or dulce de leche—veganized)
Lucuma con manjar: it is the mix of the lucuma fruit with vegan dulce de leche (or manjar as Chileans call it).
Mote con Huesillos: Made with a barley like cereal, stone fruit soaked in syrup.
Best Fruit to Eat in Chile
We love exploring local fruit wherever we travel. It’s always vegan! Here are some of the most common and loved fruits you’ll be able to enjoy in Chile.
nectarines and peaches
avocados (they are truly amazing! As good as eating an aguacate in Mexico)
We hope you enjoyed this guide sharing the best vegan restaurants in Chile and Santiago and other amazing vegetarian options the country has to offer! If we missed any of your favorite vegan restaurants, brands, or plant-based finds, please do show them some love in the comments below. Cover photo from Canva.com. This article may contain affiliate links that support our work at World of Vegan.
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