Vegetarian or Raw Vegan? Almazen vs. Raw Café, Lima

Vegetarian or Raw Vegan? Almazen vs. Raw Café, Lima

In our search for good vegetarian and vegan restaurants Lima didn’t disappoint. We found two of what may now be our favourite restaurants in all of South America there: Almazen and Raw Café.

We had heard about Almazen before and were very keen to visit. Raw Café had not come up on our radar until we arrived in the city and browsed for vegetarian places on Foursquare and found it by chance.

zucchini pasta with tomato and cashew sauce at Raw Café

zucchini pasta with tomato and cashew sauce at Raw Café

So which was better? Both places were special in their own way, but we may not quite have agreed on one over the other being the best!

Almazen

Almazen is an ovo-lacto vegetarian restaurant with many vegan options, though the menu is not hugely extensive, with just five or six starters and the same number of mains. Starters cost around S/25 (£5.50) and mains are in the region of S/38 (£8.50). There is an good selection of teas and juices, though apparently no desserts.

almazen

Sam says…I felt a little uncomfortable walking in to this place at first, as the atmosphere seemed a little more formal than I was expecting, but I soon forgot about that when I started to read the menu. When the food arrived, the thing that struck me most was the presentation; it just looked so gorgeous…and it didn’t taste bad either! While I felt the prices were a little high for Peru, it was definitely a fabulous meal, but for me it was nothing groundbreakingly original: without too much effort, I feel I could’ve made something similar at home.

stuffed aubergine on a tomato sauce base with grilled onions and salad

aubergine stuffed with black quinoa on a tomato sauce base with grilled onions and salad

Zab says…I had great expectations for this restaurants. Almazen’s bright, quiet and calm atmosphere were the first most notable points upon walking in, and I would expect most clientele to wear smart casual clothing. Its confidence in what the restaurant achieves could be taken for arrogance or formality, but that’s not the case here. It’s decorated in a country style which gives little away of what will soon appear on the table, and the dish I chose was beautifully plated. I could hardly refrain from starting immediately, but Sam made me wait in order to take a few photos! My meal was fabulous: I could easily head to this restaurant on a monthly basis.

steamed spring rolls with oriental style stir-fried vegetables

steamed spring rolls with oriental style stir-fried vegetables

Raw Café

Raw Café is a raw vegan restaurant where nothing is cooked and everything is coeliac friendly. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and mains, which are served with a large salad, cost around S/18 (£4) and desserts are S/10 (£2.20).

raw

Sam says…I found the dishes wonderfully creative, tasty and very fresh. The size and quality of the meals is amazing considering the price you pay! While I find that often people can be put off by wheat-, dairy- and egg-free things when it comes desserts, I would recommend trying the desserts here to anyone: vegan, coeliac, raw-foodie or not. The seating area of the restaurant is a tiny space and it gets quickly crowded around lunch time, but I felt very comfortable eating there and left feeling satisfied but not stuffed or bloated.

raw pizza with cashew cheese and sundried tomatoes

raw pizza with cashew cheese and sundried tomatoes and olives

Zab says…We had walked past this restaurant on several occasions. It looked nice, was small and very cosy inside, and I had no exceptions other than hoping it’d be good! It was a little noisy but that didn’t bother me as the other patrons seemed relaxed and thoroughly enjoying their food, with lots of smiles and laughter, in fact I would say they seemed rather excited to be eating there! The menu is well laid out and there’s a good selection of main courses, deserts and drinks. The presentation was good and the meal was even better: I couldn’t have been more delighted. This café was a real find, so well done Sam!

raw spinach quiche with salad

raw spinach quiche with salad

The final verdict

We both agree that Raw Café is a much more laid back place to eat, and the kind of place you could pop in for just a juice and slice of cake as an afternoon snack, whereas Almazen is a proper sit down restaurant and is slightly fancier. Of course, Alamzen is also more expensive.

But which one is better?

Sam picks…Raw Café; it’s the cheaper of the two, but still offers great quality, innovative food and they serve amazing desserts.

Zab picks…Almazen; I loved the calm, tranquil environment, and though it’s slightly more expensive, the food made for a very memorable experience.

Raw Cafe desserts: strawberry cheescake; pear and blueberry tart; lemon pie

Raw Café desserts: strawberry cheescake; pear and blueberry tart; lemon pie

Was that really a surprise?