Sometimes when we go out we want to enjoy something other than vegan "fast food." It is a need to eat something that was cooked with more time, even with passion, if we are lucky. Nowadays it is easy to find a vegan burger in a vegan restaurant, but it is harder to find other vegan dishes that are more complex and wholesome. While we were vacationing in Lima, Peru, we found one place that serves not only a great vegan burger, but also great vegan dishes.
Seitan Urban Bistro is definitely the place you want to visit if you want to try great vegan casual dishes that are prepared with care and attention to detail. Their vibe is like comfort food with a more upscale presentation. We met the chef and owner, Santiago, and his family as well. The story behind the place is worth mentioning. The Peruvian chef traveled to France to study high level cuisine; the family owned a French restaurant at that moment. After finishing his studies, he returned to Peru with new techniques, but also with a new love: vegan food. The French restaurant was closed, and a new vegan bistro was born.
The bistro is always busy. There are two areas where you can sit: inside, or outside in the patio, which is pet friendly and overlooks the street. The staff is friendly, bilingual in English and Spanish, and knowledgeable of the dishes. Santiago's father is always around the bistro, talking to customers and helping to make sure everything runs smoothly. He is very supportive of his son and eager to answer any questions you may have. We definitely enjoyed our conversation with him.
Now, let's talk about food. The restaurant is tourist-friendly, as you will notice from the menu available in English and Spanish. You will discover you can experience a full meal at Seitan (appetizers, starters, main course, desserts, and beverages).
What we believe is the greatest perk is the daily special, personally crafted by the chef using seasonal ingredients. Every day, there is a special menu available where different dishes are served, so for around $5.00 you get bread, a starter, a main course, and a drink. Santiago told us he makes sure to post the daily specials for the whole week on Facebook on Sundays, so all his followers can plan ahead. We tried the daily special so you can get an idea on what to expect.
First we got fresh sliced bread with an olive and almonds tapenade, maras salt, and a chicha morada reduction with olive oil.
Our starter was a tomato tartare with garlic. It is a tower of diced tomatoes, slightly seasoned and very refreshing. The crispy garlic gave the tartare a great punch, and the fresh radishes and sliced cucumbers provided a nice texture contrast. It was served with toasted bread. A light starter, perfect for the main course that followed.
The main course was spaghettis with vegetable ragu, served with a deliciously creamy tofu and avocado mousse. The dish had subtle flavors and it was all well balanced with the eggplant and the zucchini.
The daily special menu is surprisingly generous. The price is pretty affordable for locals and tourists, and since the daily special comes with a new dish everyday, you will get an unique experience each time you visit Seitan Urban Bistro.
We also had the chance to try a few dishes from their regular menu. We got the Quinoa Tabouleh, which is a tri-color quinoa salad with avocado mousse, served with the juiciest local tomatoes, and black olive crackers. Super fresh, light, and full of flavor.
Then we tried the house signature vegan burger, the seitan burger. The patties are made in-house; a special recipe from Santiago, who tested and experimented in the kitchen to find the perfect texture. The vegan burger is served with a slaw of finely diced tomatoes, purple onions, and aji amarillo. The side of potatoes were delicious, definitely the best potatoes we had in Peru so far.
We closed our vegan feast with a totally luxe and decadent chocolate coulant, a traditional French dessert also known as chocolate lava cake. It is made with Peruvian cacao and served with Lucuma ice cream. Since Lucuma is a regional seasonal fruit and it was not in season, we got a refreshing pineapple granita instead. The cake was moist but firm and warm, and the hot chocolate lava was rich and delicious. We are still dreaming about having it again.
Seitan Urban Bistro is not just a place where you can go get your lunch or dinner. There is passion behind their food and you feel it in every bite you take. If you want to visit them everyday for their specials, we believe you won't be disappointed.
Santiago's vegan bistro has proven that with drive everything is possible, especially in such a meat-centric country as Peru. He is definitely a pioneer on vegan bistro food in Peru, and his success can surely open the door to encourage other Peruvian chefs to do something different. We are discovering that Peru, a country with one of the best cuisines in the world, is embracing the challenge of using all the creativity and excellence they have in creating vegan dishes we can all enjoy.
Do you want to try it out too? You can find Seitan Urban Bistro here:
After you eat here you may feel inspired to make some vegan dishes on your own at home; with so many ingredients available they sky is the limit! Feeling like becoming a vegan cooking ninja? We have the right vegan shirt for you, check it out. Shop more vegan shirts and vegan clothing at The Dharma Store.
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In our latest blog post we started our vegan burger series. We want to share our experiences with vegan burgers you find at your local grocery store.
We will try to taste them all, so you can get an idea of what to expect. Thankfully there are a lot of brands out there, so we are sure you will like at least one.
This time we chose Amy's vegan burgers, which are made with organic ingredients.
Nowadays there are a lot of vegan burger brands offering frozen vegan burgers at your local grocery store. We want to try them all of course! Each vegan burger brand has different ingredients, taste, texture, and heat level. This time we wanted to try quinoa vegan burgers!