Being vegetarian does not have to be boring anymore. There has been a tremendous boost of restaurants with meat-free menus. Cabbage and tasteless tofu are already a distant memory for Lisbon's vegetarians. From the very best restaurants in Lisbon to Lisbon's best healthy restaurants, check out the creme-de-la-creme of the city's veggie scene, where the menus are far from being an endless salad parade. Here are the best vegetarian restaurants in Lisbon.
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The best vegetarian restaurants in Lisbon
António Borges, the owner of Graça 77, speaks six languages, travelled around more than 50 countries in 10 years, and was once a Krishna monk. He settled down in Graça to open this vegan restaurant at the start of the year. There’s Sunday brunch (€8.50 or €16, depending on the portion), with vegan pancakes, daily specials and desserts.
When Ceri, the Canadian owner of Eight – The Health Lounge, was little, she liked to stay inside her house, cooking instead of going to school. Many years later, she created the menu for this vegan lounge on Praça da Figueira, with a matching shop on the first floor. “I wanted the menu to include fast-food items - smoothies, bowls, toasties - but very nutritious,” she says, so she filled the menu with smoothies, wellness shots, panini, salads, energy balls and sweet snacks without sugar or honey - only fruit.
The name says it all: it was opened by a mother and her three daughters in Largo de São Sebastião. They don’t use products of animal origin, ingredients tend to be of biological origin, and they pay a lot of attention to their own waste. In the set menu there are bowls like Fresca (with kale, pesto, roasted vegetables, black rice and sauerkraut) and Terra, a more heavy bowl (with lentils, cauliflower rice and roasted sweet potato). You will also find energetic balls and cereal bars.
Don’t feel fooled by the logo with the pig at the entrance. The new project of television host João Manzarra is housed in a former butcher shop. He "Veganized" Antigo Talho (than means Old Butcher in Portuguese), near the Marquês de Pombal area, and opened a cafeteria for lunches and snacks and a multi-brand store, all entirely vegan. Every day there is a different dish on the menu led by chef Filipa Ruas. You are likely to find a couscous of vegetables, dried fruit and baba ganoush, or a Thai curry or a Vietnamese pho. The menu also has wraps and quiches (which change weekly), sliced cakes, energy balls, juices, kombucha and craft beers.
At Catarina Gonçalves’ restaurant (who was already known for opening the vegetarian venue Nomalism in Campo de Ourique, now defunct), you will find beetroot or lentil hamburgers (€7.50), bifanas made with thyme and lemon seitan (€5) and toasties made with bolo do caco (Madeira’s famous bread) and vegan cheese (€6). Don’t leave before biting into the raw dried fruit tart, which is sugar-free and sweetened with dates and agave syrup (€4.50).
It’s one of those places you start missing as soon as you walk out the door. The service is friendly, the food is good (with a menu made exclusively of non-animal products), the atmosphere is welcoming and the prices affordable. The owners are Caroline, a German cook/yoga teacher, and Lisa, a Dutch citizen who moved to Lisbon a little more than a year ago. On the top floor, there are avocado- pineapple toasties (€2.50), homemade vegan nut cheeses (€4.50 and €9), hearty dishes at lunch time, and banana- cinnamon ice cream for dessert (€3.50). On the ground floor, there are yoga classes.
It’s impossible to walk past Os Tibetanos without peeking inside – either the scent or the colourful flags will draw you in. Inside, you will find a very peaceful hall that serves world-inspired cuisine, 100% vegetarian. That means Indian papadoms, Nepalese momos, Tibetan spinach and cheese pastries, curries, pastas, salads and even tofu and seitan steaks, all famous around Lisbon.
This is one of the oldest vegetarian restaurants in the city, in business for 15 years. It’s vegetarian, not vegan, but also has a varied vegan offering signalled on the menu. The garden, with its waterfall and pond, home of ducks, turtles and carps, was inaugurated by the Dalai Lama and also has a kids playground and a garden with plants and aromatic herbs. Yasser Saiyad, the chef, prepares Indian, Thai and Italian-influenced daily dishes. Mango ceviches, vegetable samosas, cheese, honey and nut roti, feta or chickpea falafel salads, sweet and sour aubergine, seitan “meatballs” and panna cotta with pistachio pralines for a perfect last touch.
Welcome to the wonderful world of plants: The Botanista, the new project of Catarina Gonçalves, (from Ao 26 - Vegan Food Project), with André Baptista. A restaurant with a very green ground floor, loads of plants and a vegan menu. There are breakfast, lunch and snack options, many of which no one would call vegan - that's the point. Neither Catarina, responsible for sweets, nor André, in the kitchen, want to recreate vegan version's of existing dishes that usually feature animal by-products. Rather, they want to "present good things, feed you and know you well. Nothing comes from animals but we do not even need to say it's vegan."
Larissa Abbud eats meat, but she arrived from Rio de Janeiro and opened the Quintal de Santo Amaro with a daily lunchbox (8€) and other vegan delights - from floral toasts to cakes and raw pies. All the food is served in biodegradable packaging for take-away, and she tries to sell mainly organic food. All this in a cozy little corner in São Bento.
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