A Vegetarian and Vegan’s Guide to Ordering Food in Spanish

Exploring other countries’ cuisine is a must when traveling abroad. Although many people might find this experience rewarding, it can be a nightmare if you are visiting a Spanish speaking country. It can be especially frustrating if you have dietary restrictions or don’t know how to ask for vegetarian or vegan food.

So how do you ask for vegetarian food in Spanish? If you are in a restaurant, you can ask the waiter:

  • ¿Tiene comida vegetariana? ←→ Do you have vegetarian food?
  • ¿Tiene opciones veganas? ←→ Do you have vegan options?
  • Me gustaría algo sin carne ←→ I would like something without meat

While these basic phrases would help you to tell the waiter what you’re looking for, you may want to make sure that you are not eating something (else) you’d prefer not to. Below we are going to show you useful phrases and vocabulary that you can use to ask for vegetarian or vegan food in Spanish.

Provecho! (Bon appétit!)

Ordering and Asking for Vegan or Vegetarian Food in Spanish: an Example Conversation

Here is a step-by-step example of a conversation that you would have with a waiter.

ActionSpanish phraseEnglish translation
WaiterHe/she wants to know what you want to order.

a) Buenas tardes , ¿está listo para ordenar?

b) ¿Puedo tomar su orden?

a) Good afternoon, are you ready to order?

b) Can I take your order?

You (tú)Let them know you are trying to find vegetarian or vegan fooda) Sí, ¿tiene comida vegetariana?

b) Hola, ¿tiene opciones vegetarianas?

c) Sí. Me gustaría order un platillo vegano.

d) Sí. Me gustaría algo sin carne.
a) Yes. Do you have vegetarian options?

b) Hi. Do you have vegetarian options?

c) Yes. I would like to order a vegan dish.

d) Yes. I would like something without meat.


He points out some options
a) Tenemos estadas ensaladas y estos platillos libres de carne. a) We have these salads and these meat-free dishes.
You (tú) Ask about the dish’s ingredients

In example C, you will see how to order your dish without something
a) ¿Lleva queso y crema?

b) ¿Tiene carne de pescado?

c) Quiero la ensalada, pero sin aderezo y queso.
a) Is there cream or cheese in it?

b) Do you have fish?

c) I want the salad, but without the dressing and cheese

Looking at the Menu: Ask for vegetarian options

Although asking ¿Tienes comida vegetariana? is the easiest way to find out if the restaurant has vegetarian food, you will need to ask more details about the dish to make sure that you are getting what you actually want. Let’s see some useful phrases you can learn to ask your vegetarian food.

Asking about a vegetarian dish’s ingredients:

If you see a dish or its picture but you are not sure about the ingredients in it, you should ask the waiter:

¿Lleva + [ingredient]?

Another way to ask the same question is:

¿Tiene + [ingredient]?

When using the last phrase to talk about food and ingredients, make sure you say it when ordering. It has to be clear that you are talking about a certain dish. Otherwise, the waiter may think that you are asking for cheese.

Without meat, please!

One of the most important things when going to a Spanish restaurant as a vegetarian or a vegan is to let them know what you don’t want in your dish. The good thing about ordering is that you just need short answers to explain yourself:

Sin + [ingredient]

Let’s see this structure in a more complete sentence:

Quiero este platillo sin crema y queso, por favor I want this plate without cream and cheese, please

You can also mention to the waiter the thing you don’t eat, so he or she will have a better idea about what dishes to offer you.

No + como + [ingredient]

No como carne I don’t eat meat

No como crema ni mantequilla I don’t eat cream or butter

Take Note: No como carne means that you don’t eat beef of pork meat. It’s not a phrase that includes all types of meat. So, in this case, it may be simpler to tell the waiter that you’re vegetarian.

Or if you wish to express that you’re a vegan

Vegetarian and Vegan Vocabulary

Here are some of the basics words you should be looking for on the menu. This vocabulary will help you describe what you want or don’t want to order.

Asking for a Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurant

When you are visiting a new country, you may need to ask for instructions or recommendations about the places you want to visit. And when it comes to food, having a local opinion can help to find the best options. If you need to ask a friend for instructions to find a vegetarian restaurant, here’s how you would do it.

Common phrases to ask for vegetarian or vegan restaurants

¿Conoces algún restaurante vegetariano? Do you know any vegetarian restaurant?

¿Sabes dónde puedo encontrar comida vegetariana? o you know where I can find vegetarian food?

¿Algún platillo vegano que me recomiendes? Are there any vegan dishes you recommend?

Daniela Sanchez

¡Hola! Soy Daniela Sanchez, I've been studying Spanish professionally as well as teaching it in Mexico and online for over 10 years. I’ve taught Spanish to a wide array of foreigners from many backgrounds. Over the years, I've made it my mission to work hard on refining many challenging to understand grammar topics to make my students' learning experiences easier, faster and more enjoyable. Read More About Me

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