Portugal's capital, Lisbon, is the heart and soul of the country. With plenty of Roman and Moorish influence to be seen and beautiful Fado music to listen to, make sure the city is on your European travel itinerary this summer! Heather Lawry gives us a tour of her favourite places to find vegan food in the city.
Where to eat
Portuguese cuisine consists of a lot of fresh fish and veg, such as sardines, boiled potatoes and salad, but as with most European cities, Lisbon is continually becoming ever more vegan friendly with a great selection of eateries to choose from. Here are my recommendations based on choice, quality, atmosphere and value for money.
Vegetarian and Vegan only
This list is a mere snapshot of my personal preferences and you’ll notice I have a common theme – the buffet! Most of these places are centrally located, so you won’t need to venture too far for some delicious vegan food.
This totally vegan venue has some of the most delicious food you will find in Lisbon, as well as great staff to serve it to you. Make sure you check it out!
Rua Vitor Cordon 26, facebook.com/ao26veganfoodproject
Jardim dos Sentidos
A well-priced vegan buffet is served every lunchtime for only €8.90 per person – vegan options are clearly labelled.
They also serve a menu for dinner time. The restaurant is nicely decorated with a conservatory-garden area, and the atmosphere here is great, as is the value for money.
Rua da Mae D’Agua 3
Jardim das Cerejas
The delicious fully vegan all-you-can-eat buffet is only €7.50 per person – I just can’t get enough of this place! It’s a basic set-up but has a lovely atmosphere and good location.
Calçada do Sacramento 36, www.jardimdascerejas.com
Vegana Burgers Cais do Sobre
Don’t be fooled by the name – this is a burger joint like you have never seen before! The menu is in Portuguese, so it will test your language knowledge, but the friendly staff will help you translate. Because this is a chain restaurant you will be able to find others, although this one has a great, central location.
Praca Dom Luis 1, no. 30, Edificio 8, www.veganaburgers.pt
Restaurante Terra Natural
Here you’ll find a fancier, more expensive, buffet at €15.90 per person. Predominantly vegetarian but with vegan options, the restaurant has a warm ambience with a lovely courtyard garden area.
The staff are smart and helpful and the food is well presented. Check the website for opening hours.
Rua da Palmeira 15, www.restauranteterra.pt
There are plenty of vegan/vegetarian places to grab a sandwich and a coffee around Lisbon. Keep an eye on Happycow.net for the new places that are popping up all the time.
This cosy little cafe serves homemade vegan food. It’s good value for money and the staff are lovely. A must visit!
Rua Cavaleiro de Oliveira 42, www.facebook.com/veganeatscaffe
TOO Naturally Healthy Food
This is the perfect little place for vegan takeaway that offers tasty, nutritional food on the move. It’s on the more expensive side but you won’t regret it.
Rua de O Seculo 224, www.toogood.pt
Ink FarmFood Cafe
This organic, vegetarian cafe in Bairro Alto serves many vegan options and is definitely worth a visit. Enjoy the soups, sandwiches and juices in one of the best areas of Lisbon.
Rua Marechal Saldanha 6
Who doesn’t love pizza? This is an organic and authentic pizza place with modern décor and vegan options.
Rua da Conceição 44, www.romanapizza.it/it
These chain salad-bars often have a vegan option, and there are a few dotted around Lisbon including at Rua Garett 58.
The Food Temple
A little vegan restaurant outside the hustle and bustle of the city in a beautiful location near the castle. This is a popular hidden gem, so book in advance if you can!
Beco do Jasmim 18, www.facebook.com/FoodTemple
A Nepalese Indian restaurant with lots of vegan options and really delicious naan bread. Situated in the popular Alfama district. Calçada do Garcia 17
PSI This vegetarian restaurant has plenty of vegan options within its Asian fusion menu. With a relaxed, romantic atmosphere, it’s a bit pricier but worth a look.
Alameda Stú António dos Capuchos, www.comidanepalesa.com
This is a mostly vegan restaurant with plenty of delicious and nutritious homecooked food, all in a great location.
Rua da Emenda 110, 2nd floor
Princesa do Castelo
A cosy restaurant situated near the castle, offering a range of vegan desserts and juices.
Rua do Salvador 64A
While Portuguese is not the easiest of languages to pronounce, it’s always a good idea to know a few words when in the country so you can communicate with people in their native language. Although many people will be able to speak English in Lisbon, you will find people are more receptive and helpful if they see you are making an effort! Here are some useful Portuguese phrases to use when ordering food:
• Please – Por favor
• I am vegan – Sou vegan
• With/without – Com/sem
• Do you have soya milk? – Tem leite de soja?
• Do you have any vegan options? – Tem alguma opção vegan?
• Thank you – Obrigado/obrigada (depending if you are male or female)
It is recommended that you listen to the phrases via a translation app so you can hear how the words are pronounced.
Top five places to visit
There’s always something to see in this amazing city…
1 Barrio Alto
Although Alfama district is recognised as the Fado district, you can enjoy many performances in the cobbled streets of Barrio Alto. This is the place to go on a night out, with door-to-door bars and restaurants where you can enjoy anything from live jazz to reggae bands.
Try out Tasca do Chico, at Rua do Diário de Notícias 39, for some authentic Fado performances in this quirky bar.
If you have several days in Lisbon then a day-trip to Sintra is a must. These rolling hills are scattered with palaces and the town is a quaint, beautiful place to experience. The Quinta da Regaleira palace is a favourite and you can reach Sintra by train or there are many tour companies who do excursions, including Portuguese For A Day Tours (www.portugueseforadaytours.com).
Explore the winding streets of Alfama and visit the Fado museum. There are many cafes and restaurants to relax in and make sure you take your camera to capture some true Portuguese culture.
4 Belem Tower
Reach this 17th-century tower by following the river west of Lisbon centre. You can walk, cycle or use public transport. It gets very busy, so try to go earlier in the day and enjoy the atmosphere and coffee in one of the cafes while you’re there.
If you enjoy surfing then Ericeira is a great fishing village to visit while you are in Lisbon. For something more lively, the town is also home to the oldest nightclub in Portugal, Discoteca Ouriço. They also have lots of festivals here so keep an eye out online for details.
Make sure you don’t miss out on your trip by booking tours in advance. Isango! has a wide variety available such as visiting the coast, going to Sintra, city guided tours, sunset yacht cruise, and many more.
Getting to Lisbon
Check out Google Flights or Skyscanner to find cheap flights from the UK, normally with Ryanair or Easyjet. Tickets are as cheap as £40 and it is less than a 3-hour journey. From the airport you can catch the metro direct to Central (only 15 minutes away) for €1.40 one way per person or catch a taxi for around €20.
Where to stay
There are accommodations listed on vegvisits.com, which is like an Airbnb for vegetarians and vegans. However, there are currently no vegan hostels in Lisbon, but you can check HappyCow for updates (www.happycow.net).
Lookout Lisbon! Hostel
This is a fantastic option for a stay in Lisbon. It has a a great vibe, amazing staff and hard-to-beat location right next to Bairro Alto. Lookout Lisbon! also has bike rental available, so you can explore the city in style. There are also frequent in-house organised activities for guests.
Rua São Pedro de Alcântara 63, lookoutlisbonhostel.com
Heather Lawry is originally from Oxford, England, and after many years travelling is now the founder of plant-based fitness holiday company City & Beach Wellness Retreat, running courses in Spain and Portugal. Passionate about nutrition and fitness, Heather hopes to gently help conquer the stigma against veganism, promote health through a plant-based diet and teach people to live overall more compassionate lives.