TLDR? The best vegan restaurant in Medellin is Kaime.
Although Colombia is famous for its chicharron (pork), Medellin is quickly becoming known for its vegan scene.
Poblado and Laureles, two of the most popular neighborhoods for ex-pats and tourists, are full of a variety of vegan spots. Particularly in Poblado, you can find vegan food for any and all budgets or occasions!
So, if you’re ready to check out some of the top vegan food in the area, I’ve got you covered. Here’s a guide to the best vegan spots in Medellin.
Walk a few blocks off of the main strip in Poblado and you’ll find Kaime (also known as Kai) nestled in a small jungle. The Monsteras and lack of an external sign do not make it easy to “stumble” into this spot. However, the majority of diners aren’t there by accident. Kaime is a unique proposition in Medellin– an upscale-feeling vegan spot.
Founded by Chef Sara Barrientos & backed by the ElCielo team, Kaime is inspired by Hawaiian fresh cuisine. Open for lunch and dinner, they specialize in alt-burgers and bowls. The food is notable for two reasons: high-quality ingredients and life-changing sauces. Come hungry, the portion sizes are big and dessert is not to be missed.
Kaime does not accept reservations. I recommend putting your name on the list ahead of when you would like to have a table for dinner.
The dining room is intimate and usually full. Worst case scenario you can sit at the bar overlooking the kitchen which lets you truly appreciate how much art goes into these dishes: from conception to the plating.
Kaime’s low lighting and warm California vibe makes it a favorite for couples. This is definitely a place you want to bring at least one friend so you can share appetizers.
What to Order
To start, I highly recommend the Kaime Hummus. Like most places, their house speciality dishes are not to be passed over. The Kaime Hummus is prepared with a cilantro and jalapeno base and finished with bok choy, grilled edamame, and hemp seeds. It comes with naan-like garlic bread for dipping. When was the last time hummus changed your life? Eat this and we will talk.
The cauliflower wings are also a crowd-pleaser. The Kaime sauces transform an otherwise boring dish into a reason to keep coming back.
Entree wiseyour main choices fall between bowls or burgers. Amongst the bowls, the “Living Bowl” will never disappoint.
It comes with greens, crispy tofu in chili honey, grilled broccoli, coleslaw, green mango, avocado, cucumber, hemp seeds, sprouts, gomasio, and lemongrass-orange dressing. If you prefer a warm entree, the “Jackfruit BBQ Sandwich” is delicious although slightly sweet.
The consensus is that no dish here will disappoint…especially if followed by dessert. The house cake cannot be missed. How they make a vegan cake and ice cream so good, I don’t know!
Kaimealso has a specialty brand of kombucha made locally in Medellin. We tried the sangria flavor and the berries (frutos rojos). The sangria flavor was more in line with a traditional kombucha.
One of my favorite parts about Kaime is if you truly fall in love with one of their meat substitutes or sauces you can bring it home! They have their own “market” with bestsellers like Almond Cream Cheese and Lentil Patties.
About one block from Parque de El Poblado, Helecho has taken up shop in a cozy spot. Walk up the steps and push aside the Japanese-style curtain to find about four tables and sushi bar seating.
We sat at the sushi bar for dinner. A lesser-known spot but a cult favorite amongst vegans, there was a steady stream of diners throughout the night.
The ambiance is more casual than Kaime but also more hipster. It seemed like a popular local spot and the ratio of Spanish speakers was much higher than most El Poblado establishments.
What to Order
Having never eaten vegan sushi before, we went with the waitress’ suggestion and ordered the Gyoza, Cauliflower Bombones, the Green Roll, and the Golden Roll.
The vegan gyoza was delicious! We even kept the dipping sauce to use on our sushi.
The Cauliflower bombones were a little over-sauced and under-crispy… would not recommend them. However, the sushi was the main focal point and redemption. The Green Roll has fried tofu, garbanzo hummus, asparagus, tomato, avocado, and a sweet garlic sauce.
The Golden Roll is breaded and fried with vegan cream cheese, asparagus, carrot, and green onion. They both have distinctly different flavors.
The Green-Roll tasted super fresh with a tangy and slightly spicy flavor mix that really caught our attention. I’ve truly never had “sushi” like that before. The Golden Roll was more in line with all fried rolls..but a great alternative for vegans who want that cream cheese fried roll flavor.
The servers were beyond friendly and very personable and they provided menus in Spanish and English!
Saludpan is one of the city’s health food staples…not just for dining but also for grocery shopping. And, it’s located in Laureles!
The restaurant has covered sidewalk seating as well as two internal dining rooms. At lunchtime, Saludpan is VERY busy.
If you come at peak times, especially on weekdays, expect a slight wait. The good news is that as you wait, you can browse the health food shop inside. They have a variety of fresh baked goods, most of which are gluten-free.
As well as everything from spirulina and matcha to cacao nibs, local honey, and vegetables. Saludpan has something for every diet as its focus is sustainable and fresh ingredients. This is also a fantastic place to stock up on dairy-free cheese substitutions.
They are most famous for their menu of the day (Menu del dia) which is about 17,000 COP or around $5 USD. Saludpan is not strictly vegan, they cater to all “fresh” diets.
They have vegetarian, gluten-free, raw vegan options as well as occasional salmon and chicken. The menu of the day comes with a fresh soup with your choice of entree category, fresh juice, and the dessert of the day.
You can also order from their regular menu!
What to Order
This is one of the only spots in Medellin with a wide variety of raw vegan dishes. As a starter, we tried the vegetarian empanadas. These were fried and (I think) filled with quinoa. The portion was larger than expected, 6 was actually a lot of food!
For main dishes, we both ordered off of the raw vegan menu: the Filled Avocado and the Raw Burrito. The raw entrees were both very similar- it’s really a matter of the same ingredients in different shells. We preferred the stuffed avocados but both were delicious!
They use fresh pesto as the sauce, which is fantastic. The waitress recommended trying their juices and a Gluten-Free Crepe. The juices were what you would expect- very raw and healthy tasting. I would’ve liked them to have been served cold but they were freshly made!
The Gluten-Free Crepe was made with buckwheat and filled with chocolate, fruit, and honey. Overall this place is very affordable and delicious!
We were a little surprised when we saw fish and chicken options but they have all of the vegan, vegetarian, and raw vegan options on separate pages so it’s easy to avoid accidentally choosing a non-vegan option.