I no longer feel much in the way of worry that I won’t be able to find good vegan food when travelling, and certainly not in European cities, where I’ve eaten some really amazing plant based stuff. Lisbon was no different, with the food turning out to be a real highlight of the trip.
I arrived with not a minute’s worth of eatery research under my belt, so I did have to do a bit of research on the go, starting with the classic ‘Where to eat vegan in Lisbon’ google – but with the help of that, happy cow and stumbling upon stuff while exploring, managed to find some great spots. Here are my favourite places we ate vegan in Portugal’s capital.
Your mouth starts to water as you approach Sama Sama, and with good reason; crepes. I went for The Rabbit – BBQ ‘pulled pork’, salad and chips wrapped in a delicious crepe, vegan cheese satisfyingly crisped around the edge. Rob opted for the Tiago, one stuffed with chunks of leek and walnut burger, which looked equally appetising. There’s a car out the front that you can sit in, or they have a partnership going on with a craft beer bar down the street – you can sit in there and they’ll bring it round. Obviously we went for the car, because you wont find me turning down a novelty seating arrangement.
Farm Food Ink Café
We were met with ‘you want to try good falafel?’ (yes – the answer is always yes) and given a piece to try as soon as we walked through the door of this place, a greeting that was all too welcome after finding two other places we wanted to try closed. After confirming that yes, indeed, the falafel was some of the best we’d ever tasted, we ordered a bowl each – 4 giant falafel balls, houmous, sauce, tomato, lettuce and cucumber for €5 – and cooled down in this shady spot. The portion might sound small, but it was far from it; I couldn’t finish, although that might also have been something to do with the pitta bread (50 cents) and green juice (€4) that I insisted on also ordering.
We wandered over to Organi Chiado on our first evening in Lisbon, slightly delirious after a day of travel and very, very hungry; it did not disappoint. I opted for a tofu main that apparently translated as ‘Spiritual tofu’ and was a plant based version of a classic Portuguese dish. Honestly, I’m not sure what they had done to the tofu or how they’d done it, but it was incredible, and had the benefit of coming with lots of delicious salads and veg, something that felt very needed after a day of travel snacks and dubious nutrition. The pecan pie and the apple crumble we polished off for dessert were also very good, although it’s worth noting that they were sugar free, so if you’re not into that they might not be as decadent as you would like.
This amazing Indian/Nepalese place in Bairro Alto was recommended to me by a couple of people who had been there, although neither were vegan, so I wasn’t sure they’d have too much I could eat. How wrong I was; there was a whole page of plant based dishes, something that left me absolutely beside myself with delight. I went for a vegan ‘chicken’ curry – which came with rice – and a vegan naan, which is something I never seem to find anywhere else, and only added to my glee, because bread. The staff were lovely, the poppadoms were complimentary and they even brought over a little vegan lassi in a shot glass at the end.
Jardim dos Sentidos
I can only start this with three very important words: VEGAN CHEESE BOARD. From the moment I saw it mentioned on a TripAdvisor review there was no way we weren’t going to be going here. The cheese board itself includes several vegan cheeses, a mix of crackers and breads, a generous handful of walnuts and some grapes and dates; a very lovely little selection that’s not overly cheesy (I’m not sure it would be similar enough to the regular version for veggies or omnivores but if you’re used to eating vegan cheese it’s great) and has that very specific appeal of picking at different components and trying different combinations in each bite to a tee.
Of about 10-12 main dishes on the menu at Jardim dos Sentidos, only two or three weren’t automatically vegan (and all of those ones could be made vegan with substitutions) so I was spoilt for choice once we did get to the main. I wasn’t super hungry so went for the pad thai (that’s what happens when you inhale a cheese board, I suppose); turns out the portion size is pretty enormous anyway, so definitely one to arrive ravenous at.
For ice cream
A trip is not a holiday without ice cream, so it would have been remiss of me not to mention Sorbettino, which has a whole host of sorbets and two kinds of vegan chocolate ice cream. I initially headed here because I’d heard they had vegan cones, so was disappointed when that turned out not to be true, but that was forgotten when I tasted their dairy free chocolate ice cream – it was so rich and creamy that they thoroughly deserve their mention, and the pistachio was also delicious.
If you don’t make it to Sorbettino, Amarino has a load of vegan sorbets so you don’t have to miss out entirely on ice cream time – it wouldn’t be my first choice, but if you’re in the area and in the mood for something fruity, it certainly does the job.
And that’s it! There were other places we ate vegan food in Lisbon, but these were by far my favourites; and with plenty still on our list to visit, I suppose I’ll just have to book another trip and eat my way around the city some more.