A Guide to the Best Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Mérida, Mexico
by Lola Méndez
The capital city of the tropical and historically rich Yucatán Peninsula happens to be a place where vegans can happily feast on plant-based Mexican dishes. Keep a lookout for traditional Yucatecan dishes that can be vegan such as panuchos. Wash them down with typical drinks including chaya water horchata. Mérida is an ideal vacation spot with the perfect combination of long stretches of white sand beaches with turquoise waters, ancient Mayan archaeological sites, and a town center packed with museums, churches, and more. Here’s where you can find the best vegan-friendly restaurants in Mérida, Mexico.
If you only have time for one vegan meal while you’re in Mérida for a weekend trip, make your way to this fully vegan taco stand. It’s only open Fri-Sun from 5:30-10:30 PM so plan your meal accordingly. There are several varieties from which to choose including seitan carnitas, soy sausage, chorizo made from amaranth and oats, chimichurri veggies, and more. You’ll regret it if you don’t do the package deal of 5 tacos for 60 pesos. Top off your tacos with loads of toppings and add vegan cheese to any taco for 10 pesos.
This beautiful outdoor garden eatery isn’t strictly vegan but has a gigantic selection of plant-based foods including items that are hard to find in Mérida such as vegan pizza and pancakes. They also have some mock meats including fake-fish tacos. Monique’s Bakery is known for her baked goods so be sure to try her sourdough or other vegan-friendly breads and desserts. Wash your delicious vegan meal down with homemade kombucha made of local herbs and ingredients like guanábana. You can find other vegan-friendly fermented foods at Monique’s including sauerkraut and yogurt. The joyful atmosphere draws an eclectic crowd, be sure to check their calendar of events to see if any festivities are happening while you’re in town.
This family-owned restaurant isn’t a vegan establishment but they’re always able to make a vegan-friendly rendition of their lunch “menu of the day.” Eating here feels like being welcomed into a local’s home with a keep-sake decor and a sweet cat roaming around. The menu always comes with homemade vegetarian soup and drink, usually a fruit liquada or horchata. The main course is always freshly made with rotating selections of Mexican staples such as grilled nopales, rolled tacos, and stuffed squash. The complimentary chips, salsa, and beans are made in-house and without manteca de puerco (pork fat).
This enormous vegetarian restaurant on the outskirts of the downtown area serves up massive portion sizes. As the name alludes, almost everything has avocado on it! You can order vegan versions of everything from an excellent platter of chilaquiles, a typical Mexican breakfast food with tortilla chips cooked with tomato sauce and covered in toppings, to bagels. Dine indoors in the air-conditioned space during a hot summer day or enjoy the fresh breeze out in the lush garden seating area.
For upscale vegan dining in Mérida head to Nümen. This modern restaurant is fully-vegan and offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are plenty of Mexican dishes such as mushroom tacos al pastor, fajitas, and stuffed portobello mushrooms. You can also enjoy vegan versions of foreign dishes including curry bowls, risottos, and burgers.
LoQueHay means ‘what there is’ which refers to their rotating nightly themed set menu. It’s the most centrally-located vegan restaurant in Mérida and is nestled within a romantic interior terrace at Hotel Medio Mundo . Every night there’s a different selection of vegan dishes from Mexico, India, Italy, the Caribbean, and more. To nosh on local specialties, dine in on Tuesdays for Yucatecan food.
Where to Find Vegan Cold Treats in Mérida
The city is filled with options for water-based icy treats. On almost every corner you can find vegan-friendly palettas made of traditional flavors such as corn, strawberry, and coconut. For creamy and delicious all-natural vegan ice cream head to Casa Pipí Cucú. Pola is a great spot for vegan sorbets with unique flavors such as wine-infused varieties and avocado. El Colón Dulces is the most famous spot in Mérida for ice cream and they have a few water-based flavors. You can enjoy delicious vegan smoothie bowls made with coconut milk at Kadus Café.
Browse the Selection at Local Markets
The best way to get to know the local vegan options of any place you visit is to go on a vegan food tour that includes a stop at the market. The Frutas y Verduras México plant-based tour visits the iconic Mercado Lucas De Galvéz with chef Erin Gómez Danielson. She’ll show you various stalls that whip up vegan-friendly plates and introduce you to the region’s produce as you buy ancestral Maya ingredients to prepare a home-cooked meal. During the gastronomy experience, you’ll enjoy a juice made with local fruits from Senior Domínguez, taste vegan tamales made with black-eyed peas wrapped in massive leafs to avoid plastic, and polcanes. After the market tour, you’ll be welcomed into Erin’s home, Casa Misterio Merida, where you’ll prepare a hearty plant-based meal in her kitchen.
The monthly Cero Basura Yucatán market has several food vendors with some vegan-friendly options such as tamales, portobello and nopales tacos, lentil empanadas, and more. The Slow Food Market in Mérida is held every Saturday from 9 AM - 2 PM with stalls selling food made from scratch stretched across a few blocks. Here you can pick up Monique’s Bakery’s artisan bread, vegan tamales, tacos, kombucha, and more treats that are all homemade. If you’re not in town for the weekly event don’t fret. You can pick up vegan treats at the market and eatery Café Orgánico such as vegan quesadillas and flan. Around the corner is C+ Natural which is also a health food shop and small café and another excellent spot for vegan quesadillas.