Coming to San Carlos de Bariloche from Chile, where the food didn't particularly impress us, we were pleasantly surprised when Lucia, one of the owners of the hostel where we stayed, pointed out several vegetarian places in town. We tried out most of the recommendations, and they were fine, but it was the final joint she told us about, almost off-handedly, that really caught our attention.
Sitting across the street from Bariloche's grey stone cathedral that looks somewhat out of the place in the Patagonian Lake District, as though it was dropped there directly from Europe, is Covita, an unassuming little place with just a dozen tables and chalkboard menus advertising their daily lunch offerings. It advertises itself as a vegetarian restaurant, but is in fact almost entirely vegan, but for a few exceptions in the desserts only.
We stayed in Bariloche for eleven days (the longest we've stayed anywhere so far on this trip!) and we went to Covita five times. The second time we went in, the friendly staff recognised us and the third time, we were asked if we'd actually moved there.
For those AR$50 (£6.50) lunch menus, including a small starter, soup, salad, main and a fresh juice drink, we almost wish we had.
Our first Covita experience: miso soup, rice and vegetable stir-fry. with black sesame seeds.
On our second visit we got vegetable curry, rice and a fresh but simple salad.
Meal three: roast vegetables (potato, aubergine, squash), wheat gluten burgers, beetroot paté and salad.
The forth time, we were served gallo pinto (rice and beans), carrot soup with sesame seeds and salad.
On our fifth and final visit, we got pumpkin risotto, carrot soup and a crunchy salad.
Shamefully, we only tried one dessert in our five visits to Covita: a banana cake with vegan cardamom ice cream, chopped nuts and maple syrup. It was gorgeous. There are only three deserts to choose from (this one, an orange flan and baked apple), so we don't feel like we missed too much.
We will, however, definitely be going back to this place if we return to Bariloche. If for no other reason than for Zab to be able to check in again on foursquare and reclaim his rightful mayorship!
- Website: www.covita.com.ar
- Address: Rolando 172, Bariloche (since November 2013)
- Opening hours: Monday-Saturday 12pm-3pm, Friday & Saturday 8pm-11pm