In a country where beef is considered a staple food, vegetarians and vegans struggle to find plant-based alternatives in this meat loving society. Determined to uncover Uruguay’s slowly growing vegetarian/vegan food movement, I explored the capital city to discover Montevideo’s most delicious veggie burgers. I ate 10 different veggie burgers in 10 days, gaining about 10 pounds (five kilos) in the process of ranking Montevideo’s best veggie burger.
The National Institute of Meat (Instituto Nacional de Carnes) considers Uruguay to be the society with the highest meat consumption in the world. In 2015, Uruguay reached its peak meat consumption with the average person consuming 216 pounds (98.7 kilos) of meat per year! After being vegan for four years and now beginning the transition to vegetarianism on my trip around South America, I was a bit nervous about what to expect on my trip to Uruguay. Three weeks of traveling through Uruguay proved that avoiding meat and dairy products in this nation of 3 million people and 13 million cows can be challenging, but not impossible. Uruguay may be iconic for its beef ribs, asado barbecue, chorizo sausages, and chivitos sandwiches, but the vegan and vegetarian movement is quietly making its way into this tiny nation.
NOTE: This list includes vegan AND vegetarian burgers. However each location listed makes both vegan and vegetarian versions of their tasty burgers.
1. Vegan Wraps
With a creative combination of plant-based goodness, this fully vegan burger might be one of the best veggie burgers I’ve ever tasted. Vegan Wraps is a beautiful little hole in the wall located near the Estadio Centenario that features a 100% vegan menu popular among young, tattooed, animal-loving Uruguayans. This atmospheric spot serves up a tantalizing bright purple lentil and beet patty stacked with sweet shredded carrots, tomatoes, lettuce, and carrot mayonnaise all nestled in between a whole wheat bun. With exclusively outdoor seating on old wooden crates scattered outside the restaurant, enjoy your hearty vegan burger while people watching in one of Montevideo’s most sought after neighborhoods.
Price: $220 Uruguayan Peso ($7.75 USD)
Location: Lorenzo J. Perez 3010, Montevideo 11322, Uruguay
2. Rudy Burger
SO GREASY, SO GOOD. If you are looking for a classic burger that will leave you fat and happy, go to Rudy Burger and order their special vegetarian burger. This burger joint near Pocitos Beach in Montevideo serves mostly meat-based burgers. However, an increasing demand for vegetarian/vegan options led them to create their very first veggie burger, and it is heavenly. Featuring a mashed garbanzo bean and sweet potato patty, Rudy Burger’s veggie burger comes fully loaded with avocado, arugula, tomato, mozzarella, and aioli. If you got to Pocitos Beach, be sure to stop buy Rudy Burger for a veggie burger that won’t disappoint.
Price: $250 Uruguayan Peso ($8.81 USD)
Location: 26 de Marzo 3471, 11300 Montevideo
3. La Temeraria
La Temeraria is a daring vegetarian restaurant in the heart of Montevideo with an extensive menu, serving everything from chop suey to ratatouille egg rolls. Diners can choose from two vegetarian burgers: the 3 Legume Burger or the Hamburguesa Temeraria. I decided to go with the Hamburguesa Temeraria. To my surprise, my veggie burger arrived on a freshly baked, red sesame seed bun - still doughy and soft from the oven - that blew my mind. Not only is the bun amazing, but the patty itself is one of the best I ate in all of Montevideo, with a texture strikingly similar to a meat-based patty.
Price: $320 Uruguayan Pesos ($11.27 USD)
Location: Juan Paullier 1046, 11200 Montevideo