Vegetarian Food Review: Turkish Airlines Sao Paulo to Buenos Aires

Shortly after takeoff in the spacious business class cabin aboard the Turkish Airlines 777-300ER, all of the flight attendants began to round through the cabin. Flying this leg of the journey is a short hop of only about 2.5 hours in the air. Since this leg is so short, the cabin crew must work quickly to get service completed, and they did.

Flight attendants were kind of purgatory in attitude, not bad but not good either. The attendant serving me seemed detached and just going about her business, not really friendly, just on a mission to do her job. This is fine, but does lack the personal touch that I felt from the United flight to Sao Paulo.

Right after takeoff, flight attendants came by with hot towels for each passenger. I’ve heard there are some airlines that offer hot and cold towels, though I haven’t yet experienced it. Personally I dislike being hot, so I’d much appreciate a cold towel being offered as well, but hot towels are what we get, and I’ll make it work all the same.

After collecting the towels, flight crew pass through the cabin with a Turkish delight for every passenger. While I’ve had Turkish delight brought back from Turkey, the offer from the airline was out of this world good. Sweet, and chewy as one would expect, but with a pecan in the center, overall this was probably the highlight of the entire meal.

Menu’s had been distributed on the ground, and I found the way things were set up to be a little odd with Turkish Airlines. They didn’t take your order at any point, just delivered everything until it was time for the main course then showed 2 dishes and you picked one.

First up was pretty much the entire meal, minus the main. Serving the food in this way was really weird. The appetizer, salad, cheese and dessert were all served at the same time. Why the dessert was placed down before the main is really confusing to me. Really wasn’t sure what to make of the meal. Also, I ordered the champagne that was offered aboard and it was terrible, don’t order it, not good at all.

As you can see, the appetizer was not vegetarian. It was some sort of beef circles. I just passed on the app and worked on the sides. Starting off with the hearts of palm salad, things were not off to a great start. While the hearts of palm were supposedly marinated, there was very little flavor to them or the salad in general. Really this seemed like a bunch of flavorless leaves placed in a dish, not really all that appealing.

Included on the tray was a cheese plate as well. While I normally don’t eat milk products, I did try some of the cheese here and it was middle of the line. It is pretty hard to screw up cheese as long as it is purchased from a decent vendor, and this was no different, the cheese was fine, just not my idea of an app or starter.

Since I wasn’t eating the beef, I just kind of mixed it up on the plate and made it look like I was done so the flight attendants would clear it. Soon they stopped by to clear the app and then came around with the main course. As the menu stated, the options were a mushroom crepe with cream sauce, or the pasta. I had already argued internally with myself and came to the conclusion that the pasta would be the way to go. I was hoping the cheese in the pasta would be less milk product than the cream sauce in the crepe… I was probably wrong.

After the flight attendants delivered the pasta, I looked everything over. Offered was three types of pasta. One the left was normal pasta and tomato sauce. To the right of that was the cheese gnocchi. Lastly, to the far right was the ravioli.

Taking a bite of the pasta and tomato sauce, well it was underwhelming to say the least. For the past 9 hours, I had spent time in the Star Alliance lounge where the main thing that I could eat was pasta and tomato sauce. I would have taken 30 orders of that pasta over this stuff. Really the in air version ranks as one of the worst pasta/tomato sauce dishes I’ve had anywhere. The only saving grace here was the inclusion of kalamata olives which I adore, these were the only tasty part of the dish.

Next up was the gnocchi. As described by the menu, this was a gorgonzola gnocchi. I’m a huge fan of well done gnocchi and was sold on this dish because of this. Biting into the dish just left you with the taste of the cheese used to make it. A good gnocchi needs very little additional flavoring, but this was nothing but cheese flavor… disappointing to say the least, but the highlight of the main course.

Last up was the ravioli. At this point I was not looking forward to more cheese. Luckily there didn’t seem to be any cheese inside. Disappointingly that was because there was nothing inside, at least nothing I could taste. Eating this dish was incredibly disappointing, as it reminded me of what I imagine cheap freezer ravioli would taste like… minus any hint of flavor that might possibly exists. The pasta wasn’t well cooked, no flavor, and unappealing visual wise. The whole main course was an unmitigated disaster on a plate. This alone made me not want to fly Turkish Airlines again.

The last item to cover here is the dessert. Some sort of almond cake with chocolate covering on it. Like the rest of the meal, this was disspointing. The chocolate was hard and likely was put on the cake in Turkey from the taste of it. Cake was quite bland and very dry. Not really good at all and not surprising based on the rest of the meal.

Overall the meal was not a highlight of my trip to put it mildly. I wish there was a chance to review their vegetarian dish, but this was what I had to work with and I’m not sure the vegetarian dish would have faired better.