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Last Updated on 23/12/2020

Sustainability is a growing trend in the culinary scene. Now more than ever, chefs are making a conscious effort to source native ingredients, work with local producers to limit food miles and create menus that are more plant-based or contain sustainably sourced meat and fish. It’s no secret that South America is at the forefront of this trend with restaurants using the rich diversity of their native countries to create top quality food that’s both good for the planet and supports local communities. 

This burgeoning trend in sustainable restaurants is an exciting time for travellers. Travel is all about exploring new experiences, and food is one of them. What better way to get to know a country than by its food? The memories of the flavours we tried are carried with us long after the trip has ended. So, this return to native land as a source of culinary inspiration allows the real traditional flavours of a destination to come through and for South America, this has created something truly special.

Keen to excite your tastebuds? Here are the top sustainable restaurants in South America (you can read about Europe here). 

1. Central in Lima, Peru

sustainable restaurants in South America

Central, Peru

What: Central has topped Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list three times in a row from 2014 to 2016. In 2019, it became the most sustainable restaurant on the list, scoring an impressive 98% mark by Food Made Good Global. It’s without a doubt one of the top sustainable restaurants in South America. 

Why: Central is no stranger to sustainable culinary excellence and it has the awards to prove it. Chef-owners Virgilio Martínez and Pía León source the restaurant’s ingredients from all over Peru. Their goal is to showcase the rich diversity of Peruvian food by bringing to life different altitudes, landscapes, ecosystems and ethnic groups in an all-encompassing menu. 

However, this approach doesn’t end there. Central has streamlined its sustainability initiatives by creating a biological and cultural research centre, Mater Iniciativa, to better understand and support the land it sources its ingredients from. The team considers every possible impact that each ingredient has on the natural and social systems it originates from. 

Diners can expect to eat a menu that reflects the natural equilibrium that occurs in nature. Meat is secondary to vegetables and popular fish dishes are exchanged for lesser-known marine species such as paiche, pyura and even piranha. 

Address: Av. Pedro de Osma 301 Lima, Barranco 15063, Peru

Opening hours: Lunch hours are Monday to Saturday from 12:45 pm to 1:30 pm and dinner hours are from 7:45 pm to 8:30 pm. The restaurant is closed on Sundays.

Website: Visit the website here. 

Contact: Call +51 1 2428515

Book: Reserve a table via the website here. 

2. Boragó in Santiago, Chile 

sustainable restaurants in South America

Boragó, Chile 

What: Boragó won the Sustainable Restaurant Award at Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2018. A pioneer on the culinary scene, it has honed its approach to using local ingredients and small producers to create a menu that’s truly special. 

Why: Boragó is considered one of the best restaurants in Chile. Owner, Rodolfo Guzmán didn’t have sustainability in mind when he opened his restaurant in 2006. Instead, he wanted it to be a celebration of the very best Chilean cuisine and culture. Boragó’s menu showcases little-known produce and culinary techniques from all over the country, including the Mapuche indigenous people in the Andes, the Pacific coast and everything in between.

Using only the ingredients sourced from his native country, Rodolfo works with a network of more than 200 people to forage, farm and grow produce for his dishes. He has a biodynamic farm just a 30-minute walk from the restaurant which provides fresh milk, vegetables and ducks on a farm-to-table basis. 

Address: Av San Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer 5970, Vitacura, Región Metropolitana, Chile

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 6:30 pm. Last reservation at 10:30 pm.

Website: Visit the website here. 

Contact: +56 2 2953 8893

Book: Reserve your table via the website here or contact reservations@borago.cl and call +(56 2) 29538893 for reservations more than 90 days in advance. 

3. Narda Comedor in Buenos Aires, Argentina

sustainable restaurants in South America

Narda Comedor, Argentina

What: Narda Comedor is a plant-based restaurant encouraging healthier eating in meat-obsessed Buenos Aires. 

Why: Celebrity chef and TV personality, Narda Lepes, opened Narda Comedor to change Argentina’s unhealthy eating habits. The country has the world’s second-highest consumption of beef and obesity continues to climb as many people regard healthy eating the same as dieting. 

Narda Comedor gives meat a more supporting role on its plates. The restaurant champions seasonal produce with vegetable-heavy menus to create an exciting combination of flavour and texture. Signature dishes include napa cabbage with a soft-boiled egg and creamy herb dressing; and the popular Onion, a whole slow-cooked onion, mashed potatoes, and 72-hour reduced beef broth.

For Narda Comedor, sustainability doesn’t stop at food. The restaurant ensures that the whole team is well cared for, employing older women to boost equal opportunities and increasing the size of the kitchen for chefs to work comfortably together. 

Address: Sucre 664, Buenos Aires 1428, Argentina

Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 11:00 pm, Saturday from 9:00 am to 11:30 pm and Sunday 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. 

Website: Visit the website here. 

Contact: Call +54 9 11 6131-0664

Book: Reserve a table via WhatsApp +54 9 11 6131 0664. 

4. Food and Wine Studio in Santa Cruz, Chile 

Food and wine studio

Food and Wine Studio, Chile

What: Food and Wine Studio is a celebration of the very best Chilean food and wine. The restaurant uses seasonal and organic produce from local producers and artisans to create an exciting gastronomic experience. 

Why: Food and Wine Studio pairs simple and delicious food with top-quality wines from the region. Owner and chef, Pilar Rodríguez has put together a menu which follows the flavours of the season sourced from the local producers and artisans of the Colchagua Valley. For this reason, the menu is never the same throughout the year, with diners expecting to enjoy humitas (corn wrapped in leaves) during the summer and hearty traditional pork dishes during the winter.

The restaurant prides itself on being an interactive space for its diners. You’re invited to harvest your own ingredients, go for wine and olive oil tastings or sign up for a cookery class in either Spanish or English. Food and Wine Studio’s attention to Chilean cuisine in all its forms makes it one of the best sustainable restaurants in South America this year.            

Address: Carretera del Vino, kilometro 37 – San Carlos de Cunaco, O’Higgins, Chile

Opening hours: Saturday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm. 

Website: Visit the website here. 

Contact: Call +56 9 9999 2751

Book: Call +569 9999 2751 or email contacto@pilarrodriguez.com to reserve a table. 

5. Bio in Buenos Aires, Argentina 

sustainable restaurants in South America

Bio, Argentina

What: Bio is proud to be the first certified organic restaurant in Buenos Aires. Vegetarian by choice, the restaurant is committed to caring for the planet and providing diners with a selection of healthy dishes, catering for vegan, raw-vegan, macrobiotic and wheat-free diets. 

Why: Bio’s varied menu specialises in seasonal dishes so you’re unlikely to try the same thing twice. Working to foster a philosophy of conscious eating, this family-owned restaurant has been serving its customers with responsibly-sourced food for fifteen years. The decision to go organic was made to ensure that the restaurant’s impact on the environment was a socially fair and responsible one. 

Eating well is all part of the experience at Bio, with highlights including green curry with spicy seasonal vegetables, whole-wheat pizza with arugula, olive paste and parmesan cheese. Bio also serves an abundance of gorgeously presented salads, clean and healthy soups, vegetable burgers and a mouth-watering raw tiramisu. For those who want to master the art of healthy cooking at home, Bio offers a selection of cooking classes with organic and sustainably-sourced ingredients. 

Address: Humboldt 2192 (esq. Guatemala). Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 10:30 am to 1:00 am.  

Website: Visit the website here. 

Contact: Call (011) 4774-3880 or email info@biorestaurant.com.ar

Book: Reserve a table via TripAdvisor here. 

6. Corrutela in São Paulo, Brazil 

sustainable restaurants in South America

Corrutela, Brazil 

What: Corrutela is inspired by owner Cesar Costa’s experiences working in some of the world’s top sustainable restaurants, Chez Panisse and Relae and foraging in England with the renowned forager, Miles Erving. Taking everything he had learnt back to Brazil, Cesar embarked on an exciting new venture which has quickly become one of the best sustainable restaurants in South America. 

Why: Corrutela’s menu is focused on local organic produce from Brazilian farmers around the country. The restaurant showcases a healthy and contemporary cuisine based around seasonal ingredients sourced in an environmentally-friendly way. Everything is made from scratch, including the chocolate and polenta; even flour is milled in-house.

Corrutela is unafraid to be different, putting an automatic compost machine in the middle of the dining room and using solar panels for its energy. The menu is creative and zero-waste, with dishes including snow eggs in blue custard sauce and sunflower seed risotto with sour cream, garlic, parsley and chardonnay. Every bit of the ingredient is used, stalk and all, allowing sustainability to become a natural and cohesive part of the meal. 

Address: R. Medeiros de Albuquerque, 256 – Vila Madalena, São Paulo, Brazil

Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, Saturday 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm and Sunday 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Closed Mondays. 

Website: Visit the website here. 

Contact: Call +55 11 3032-2443

Book: Reserve your table here. 

7. Justo in Medellin, Colombia 

Justo in Medallin

Justo, Colombia

What: Justo has been hailed as one of the top sustainable restaurants in South America for vegans. Located in Medellin, it’s a beautiful space filled with leafy green plants and natural wood decor. 

Why: For a vibrant, welcoming space, delicious healthy food and a good time overall, you can’t go wrong with Justo. The menu is a celebration of local produce, with ingredients being sourced from its own organic farm. Justo’s commitments go beyond food as it works to take care of the mental health of the farmers and staff it employs. Every server receives more than the minimum wage too.  

Some highlights of the menu include the likes of bean tacos with sautéed vegetables, rice, avocado and creole sauce. For dessert, you can’t go wrong with the ‘El Colombiano’ with churros, vegan ice cream and a traditional Latin American ‘dulce de leche’ caramel sauce. 

Address: Carrera 37 10th 58, Medellin 050021, Colombia

Opening Hours: Monday from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm, Tuesday from 9:30 am to 9:30 pm, Wednesday to Saturday from 9:30 am and 11:00 am and 12:00 pm to 9:30 pm and Sunday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. 

Website: Visit the website here. 

Contact: Call 57 310 5262790

Book: Reserve a table via Facebook here. 

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