LISBON FOOD GUIDE FOR VEGETARIANS AND VEGANS
In recent years, Lisbon’s food scene has seen traditional Portuguese flavors shaking hands with the veggie and vegan world. There’s no doubt that Lisbon’s food game is leveling up, and it’s not just for the seafood and meat lovers. The city is turning into a hub for plant-based delights, and we’re not just talking about some contemporary eateries with international fare. Lisbon is flipping the script on its own classics to cater to the growing crowd that wants to keep it green and, in essence, still Portuguese.
If our city can boast about its seafood scene and brag about egg loaded desserts, one of Portugal’s most celebrated culinary creations, it can now also show off its vegan eats, proving that Lisbon’s culinary story is still being written.
Stay with us as we embark on a vegetarian guide of Portugal, with particular emphasis on the best plant-based foods you can enjoy in Lisbon.
Vegetarian-friendly Portuguese food tours
Once upon a time, vegetarians and vegans were just accommodated in our city. Today, we’re proud to say that they are celebrated too! Our work at Oh! My Cod reflects just that: while we run traditional Portuguese food tours, featuring a variety of meat and seafood specialities, we also by default include some vegetarian foods and, for our vegetarian guests, we’re happy to adapt the tastings offered, while still being proud to say that the options provided are very representative of Portuguese food culture.
Indeed, while there are plenty of vegetarian restaurants in Lisbon these days, vegetarian food in Portugal is not a recent phenomena as such, as there are plenty of examples of plant based regional specialities deeply rooted in the culinary traditions of our country. These may not always be the most obvious of options when folks think about the Portuguese kitchen, particularly if you are not well versed with the nuances of our regional foods, but trust us when we say there are are several delicious surprises worth exploring along our national map, and thankfully many of those can be sampled in Lisbon itself.
While our food and cultural tours are inclusive and adept at catering to vegetarians, they may not be exactly vegan friendly if we’re talking about an experience in a mixed group. As such, for the sake of quality and diversity, we recognize that vegans deserve a bespoke experience, one during which the food served will of course be vegan, but which we are positive even hardcore meat eaters will actually enjoy. We understand that eating is a social act and, following different dietary patterns, doesn’t always make this easy when you’re in a new city, sitting at the table with a different group of people. We aim for you to get to taste and understand Portuguese vegetarian food, in a fun, relaxed and informative way. So please reach out to us, and let us craft a tailor-made tour, a strictly vegan food tour of Lisbon, ensuring a seamless journey through Portugal’s culinary tapestry with plant-based food.
One thing’s for sure: when you join one of Oh! My Cod’s experiences, you better be ready to munch on something more than the usual tourist fare. We’re all about eclectic choices and unraveling the real deal, whether it’s omnivore, vegetarian or vegan. Even in a predominantly omnivorous culinary landscape, we strive to ensure that there is a seat at the table for everyone!
How to follow this vegetable forward guide of Lisbon
In this guide, we explore the diverse culinary landscape of Lisbon, tailored to accommodate various dietary preferences within a group or couple traveling together.
- Our journey begins with traditional Portuguese dishes, highlighting esteemed restaurants renowned for their authentic and time-honored vegetarian recipes. These establishments, while not exclusively vegetarian, offer a unique opportunity to delve into local culture and cuisine. It is worth mentioning that, even though we recommend a few eateries which we consider very worth your time for the sake of cultural immersion, many of these will serve the vegetarian options we talk about, but their vegetarian menu will most likely not be extensive at all and, in some cases, won’t feature more than the dishes we focus on, as well as perhaps a few salads and soups.
- Next, we showcase vegetarian-friendly restaurants with menus versatile enough to please vegetarians, vegans, omnivores, and pescatarians alike.
- Lastly, for those strictly adhering to a vegan or plant-based diet, we spotlight Lisbon’s culinary gems that excel in both creativity and quality, featuring an array of national and international dishes. In this section, we are particularly focusing on beloved restaurants which are known to very well veganize traditional Portuguese recipes which we all grew up with.
Typical vegetarian Portuguese dishes
When we dig into the heart of Portuguese culinary heritage, we find that there are naturally plant-powered dishes that have been gracing tables for generations. Of course today you’ll easily come across veggie adaptations such as vegetarian feijoada, seitana (in place of bifana, a sandwich which would normally feature juicy pork, here prepared with seitan instead), oven baked arroz de pato (duck rice which shreds of oyster mushrooms mimicking the pulled meat), tofu à lagareiro (a take on olive oil drenched salt cod, in the vegan world prepared with seaweed wrapped tofu pieces), or even bitoque (the portuguese staple of beef steak with a fried egg on top, in the vegan world with seitan and plant-based “eggs”).
Typical plant-based Portuguese foods are usually examples of peasant cuisine, where vegetables took the lead, and meat was more of a guest appearance than the main act. In the old days, when life was simpler and flavors were often richer, Portuguese kitchens thrived on what the land had to offer. Peasant families, with their fingers firmly on the pulse of seasonal goodness, crafted dishes that were not just delicious but also hearty and nourishing. These weren’t and aren’t adaptations to suit a vegetarian lifestyle; these are, in no particular order, some of the original vegetarian recipes that have stood the test of time:
Açorda Alentejana is a culinary creation hailing from the Alentejo region in Portugal. This hearty bread soup is the materialization of the resourcefulness of the people of this region. Historically, açorda Alentejana served as a nourishing staple for the working class, using simple yet wholesome ingredients. It consists of a simple broth made with garlic, olive oil and coriander, poured on top of fairly dry slices of Alentejano bread, cleverly transforming old loaves into tender carriers of flavorful soup. The robust flavors of this broth are usually enhanced by the addition of a poached egg, which would be a simple yet effective source of protein.
Açorda Alentejana stands as a stellar example of vegetarian Portuguese fare, highlighting how, in the hands of skilled cooks, even the most basic ingredients can create a culinary masterpiece that not only satisfies the appetite but also narrates the unique cultural nuances and flavors distinctive to the Alentejo region.
If you are a fan of hearty bowls of soup featuring a poached egg on top, we would recommend also looking for Alentejo’s style tomato soup (sopa de tomate com ovo escalfado, also known as sopa de tomate Alentejana), such as the one served in Lisbon at the Taberna da Casa do Alentejo, see below). If you’d like to keep it deliciously vegan, simply ask for it without the egg!
Best places to sample açorda Alentejana in Lisbon:
Casa do Alentejo
📍Rua das Portas de Santo Antão 58, 1150-268 Lisbon
Solar dos Nunes
📍Rua dos Lusíadas 68, 1300-366 Lisbon
Mondas Casa Alentejana
📍Rua de São João da Praça 45, 1100-509 Lisbon
Peixinhos da horta
Peculiarly translated as “little fish from the veggie garden”, this is one of the best known examples of Portuguese vegetarian foods. Peixinhos da horta consists of green beans, usually blanched to maintain their vibrant color, coated in a light, airy batter made from flour and egg yolks. The result, which is quite crispy and flavorful, can be enjoyed on its own or perhaps served with a squeeze of lemon or with a creamy dip such as mayo, as a petisco or appetizer, or as a part of a main meal, with a side dish such as a loose and saucy rice, like tomato-based arroz de tomate or arroz de feijão, featuring red kidney beans, thus completing the meal with a little protein.
Peixinhos da horta have been around for centuries! During the 16th century, during the so-called Age of Explorations, the Portuguese introduced the recipe to Japan, where it later was perfected and became known as tempura (a cooking technique initially applied to vegetables but eventually to other ingredients such as seafood). The correlation between peixinhos da horta and tempura is evident in their shared cooking technique – both involve batter-coating and deep-frying. But some schools of thought trace the ancestry of peixinhos da horta further back, arguably to India, where pakoras – deep-fried, spiced vegetable fritters – have been enjoyed for centuries. This is a testament to the global interconnectedness of culinary traditions, with each culture adding its unique touch to similar dishes, something we often explore (and taste!) during our food and cultural tours in Lisbon.
Taste the best peixinhos da horta in Lisbon at:
Coelho da Rocha
📍Rua Coelho da Rocha 104, 1350-075 Lisbon
📍Av. 24 de Julho 49, 1200-479 Lisbon (inside Time Out Market)
📍Rua de O Século 242, 1250-095 Lisbon
More delicious Portuguese vegetarian petiscos
Petiscos, a beloved Portuguese dining tradition, are small, flavorful bites designed for sharing among friends and family. Commonly likened to Spanish tapas, these appetizers offer a delightful way to experience a variety of flavors and textures in a single meal, often made happier while sharing a bottle of wine (check here the Portuguese wine brands which are vegan friendly) or ordering a few rounds of beer.
A few classic vegetarian petiscos that you shouldn’t miss range from simple bites such as marinated olives (azeitonas marinadas) and briny lupin beans (tremoços), to fully cooked options. In many Portuguese eateries, in Lisbon or elsewhere in the country, you’ll come across ovo-lacto vegetarian friendly petiscos such as scrambled eggs with asparagus (ovos mexidos com espargos) or ovos verdes (stuffed boiled eggs with aromatic herbs, afterwards breaded and deep-fried.) It’s worth noting that these, as well as other egg based dishes here in Portugal, aren’t customarily eaten as breakfast foods, but rather as appetizers or even as elements in a main meal.
A note about Portuguese cheeses: if you are following a vegetarian diet anywhere in the world, you’d probably know by now that not all cheeses are vegetarian. Some of them, following traditional cheese making practices, are prepared with animal rennet, an enzyme extracted from the stomach lining of animals, typically calves. Thankfully, some Portuguese cheeses are traditionally crafted without animal rennet, particularly those made from milks other than cow dairy. Good examples of vegetarian cheeses in Portugal include queijo de Azeitão and queijo da Serra (both strong and buttery cheeses prepared from raw sheep milk, from different regions, but in both instanced curdled with thistle flower), queijo Évora DOP and queijo de Nisa DOP (both cheeses from the Alentejo with protected denomination of origin, made from sheep milk, in semi-hard or hard varieties), queijo de Castelo Branco (strong and mildly spicy, a true culinary gem from the Beiras region in central Portugal), as well as most artisanal goat cheeses, known locally as queijos de cabra.
Vegan friendly Portuguese foods
Portuguese cuisine, while inherently rich and diverse, tends to be more vegetarian-friendly than vegan-friendly. However, the good news for plant-based enthusiasts is that many classic vegetarian Portuguese dishes can easily be adapted to suit a vegan diet with a few tweaks. For those opting for a plant-based lifestyle, a simple request to omit ingredients like eggs (such as those featured in examples above, such as Açorda Alentejana or sopa de tomate also from the Alentejo) can often transform a vegetarian dish into a delicious vegan alternative.
Even then, there are authentic vegan foods deeply rooted in Portuguese culinary traditions:
This soul-soothing soup, whose name translates as “green stock” originates from the Minho region, and it could easily be highlighted as one of Portugal’s most quintessential comfort dishes. It’s a hearty bowl that features pureed potatoes and onions, topped with shredded collard greens. Even though it is customarily served with a slice of chorizo on top, it would naturally be a Portuguese vegan recipe once you omit the smoked sausage.
What makes caldo verde an exemplary vegetarian dish is not just its hearty composition but the cultural significance it holds. It showcases the ability of Portuguese cuisine to turn humble, plant-based ingredients into a dish that stands tall among the country’s culinary classics, proving that you don’t need meat to savor the authentic taste of Portugal.
Besides caldo verde, Portugal’s love affair with vegetable soup runs deep. Most establishments, from simple cafes, to pastelarias, to full fledged restaurants serve at least one soup of the day and, more often than not, this is a vegetable based soup (sopa de legumes), often featuring not only vegetables and leafy greens, but also protein packed legumes. Some of the most common examples include turnip greens soup (sopa de nabiças), chickpeas and spinach soup (sopa de grão com espinafres), green beans soup (sopa de feijão verde), or watercress soup (sopa de agrião), just to name a few.
Where to eat caldo verde in Lisbon:
(make sure to ask for it without chorizo, and it will, by default, be vegan friendly):
O Caldo Verde
📍Rua da Esperança 91, 1200-109 Lisbon
📍Av. 24 de Julho 54, 1200-657 Lisbon
📍Praça Dom João da Câmara 4, 1200-090 Lisbon
Cenouras à algarvia
Algarvian carrots is a typical salad from the Algarve region, more often than not enjoyed as a petisco. Cenouras à algarvia are a simple yet flavorful preparation consisting of carrots simmered until tender, marinated in a fragrant sauce made from ingredients like garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and a medley of aromatic herbs and spices. This dish is served chilled, and it is a super refreshing bite best enjoyed with some Portuguese white wine, as one delves into the authentic tastes of the Algarve.
However simple this dish may sound, it has a tremendous depth of flavor and it often surprises those visiting our country who get to taste it. Algarvian carrots speaks not only to Portugal’s commitment to embracing and accommodating diverse dietary preferences, but furthermore to how vegetable focused dishes have been a part of our culinary repertoire for centuries, particularly in regions of the country which have historically favored a Mediterranean diet.
Eat cenouras à algarvia all over the Algarve, but also in Lisbon:
📍Rua dos Anjos 5A, 1150-032 Lisbon
📍Rua Caminhos de Ferro 98, 1100-395 Lisbon
📍Rua Alfredo Cortês 1A, 1700-201 Lisbon
Rice dishes: arroz de tomate, arroz de coentros & arroz de feijão
We like to look at Portuguese rice dishes, often considered as side dishes, as more than mere accompaniments. These flavorful rice preparations have deep-seated roots in Portuguese culture and offer a delightful culinary option for vegetarians and vegans alike, even more relevant if we consider that these Portuguese vegetarian recipes are often crafted using Carolino, a grain of rice native to our country.
One of the most iconic rice dishes in Portugal is tomato rice (arroz de tomate), which features rice infused with a luscious tomato sauce, typically seasoned with garlic, onions, and herbs. Coriander rice (arroz de coentros) is another delightful Portuguese rice specialty. Fragrant coriander leaves and, if the cook knows where it’s at, even the roots, lend their distinct flavor to this dish, creating a deeply aromatic experience. While it’s traditionally paired with fish or shellfish, coriander rice can be the star of a vegetarian meal, when complemented with a side of vegetables or, if you are up for it, for example, with peixinhos da horta.
However, one of the most noteworthy examples of Portuguese vegan cuisine is arroz de feijão, or kidney beans rice. This hearty dish consists of tender kidney beans cooked with rice in a flavorful tomato-based sauce, usually seasoned with aromatic herbs and spices. Traditionally part of a main meal, arroz de feijão can easily be ordered as a standalone dish in most Portuguese restaurants, even if it is typically associated with animal proteins. It offers a substantial source of plant-based protein and complex carbohydrates, making it a nutritious and satisfying choice for vegans.
Rice is virtually present in every Portuguese restaurant, making it accessible and flavorful for those following plant-based diets. You can order these rice dishes at most restaurants across Lisbon!
The vast majority of traditional Portuguese desserts, with a few rare exceptions of more ancient recipes which may still involve pork lard as a source of fat instead of the most customarily used butter or even margarine now-a-days, are vegetarian. But unless we’re talking about fruit based desserts, you’ll rarely come across a Portuguese sweet creation which is by fault vegan. Marmelada and the fig based confection we explore below, are much welcomed exceptions!
Marmelada, also known as quince paste or quince cheese, is a sweet treat that has been cherished in Portugal for centuries, in fact, it actually dates back to the Moorish influence during the Middle Ages. Quince paste is made from the aromatic quince fruit, which is simmered with sugar and lemon juice, until it transforms into a thick, harder than jelly consistency. The end result is a reddish-brown paste, which can be cut by the slice to enjoy on its own, with bread or toast or, for those who don’t make it a point to keep things fully vegan, as a sweet accompaniment to cheese, in a pairing of sweet and salty that creates a harmonious flavor contrast that’s beloved throughout the country.
Purchase Portuguese marmelada in Lisbon at any given supermarket or, for good quality artisanal versions, visit gourmet grocery stores such as:
📍Rua D. Antão de Almada 1 C & D, 1100-197 Lisbon
📍Rua Cais do Tojo 28, 1200-649 Lisbon
Mercearia Poço dos Negros
📍Rua do Poço dos Negros 97 99, 1200-336 Lisbon
Queijo de figo
Translating to “fig cheese”, this fig based sweet creation has nothing to do with actual cheese. It is instead an amalgamation of dried figs, nuts (usually almonds) and aromatic spices such as cinnamon and clove, typical from the southernmost region of Portugal, the Algarve. Its peculiar name derives from the fact that this mixture is molded into rounds, resembling small cheeses.
Looking back in history, this was a way to extend the shelf life of figs. Today, queijo de figo is a sweet treat best enjoyed as a dessert or a snack any time of the day. If we look into it, queijo de figo could actually be Portugal’s old school answer to more contemporary and fashionable energy balls and protein bites, plus it’s inherently vegan.
While in Lisbon, grab some queijo de figo to take home at:
A Vida Portuguesa
📍Largo do Intendente Pina Manique 23, 1100-285 Lisbon
📍Rua da Betesga 1AB, 1100-090 Lisbon
Club del Gourmet by El Corte Inglés
📍Av. António Augusto de Aguiar 31, 1069-413 Lisbon
Favas à moda do Pico (Azores)
If you have been following our work for a while, you’ll know that we’re deeply in love with the Azores archipelago, and even more so with the fairly remote island of Pico where we host culinary and adventure trips every summer.
Azorean style broad beans stew is a dish which may feature a few variations depending on who’s behind the stove, but that generally speaking features fava beans slowly simmered in a onion heavy broth, further flavored with olive oil, garlic, bay leaf and a few other aromatics.
Unfortunately, this is not one you’d easily common across in mainland Portugal, where most broad bean dishes, such as favas com entrecosto (broad beans with ribs) or favas à portuguesa (where the legumes are kept company by different cuts of meats and smoked sausages), are indeed cooked alongside animal protein.
To taste authentic favas à moda do Pico, we invite you to join our culinary expedition to the Azores!
Inclusive and vegetarian-friendly restaurants in Lisbon
While eating out as a vegan in Lisbon is increasingly gratifying, with a plethora of excellent options catering to plant-based diets (some of which, specifically focusing on adapted Portuguese cuisine, we explore below), we still believe that the ideal restaurant would be able to please both vegans and those with a more flexitarian taste. If you are in a couple and one of you is not vegetarian or vegan, or you are simply traveling with friends in a mixed group, it would be great for everyone to be able to get food that matches their preference, without anyone feeling like they are imposing their diet on anybody else.
Luckily, there are a number of eateries in the city that ensure all members of a dining party, regardless of their dietary preferences, can enjoy a meal together. There are many more that fit this bill, but here are some of our favorites:
Albricoque brings to the Portuguese capital the best of Algarvian cuisine, but goes far beyond the obvious choices which would normally revolve around seafood. The food crafted by chef Bertilio Gomes is essentially Mediterranean and healthy, and the menu is divided into a beautiful range of appetizers and small dishes to share, and heartier main dishes. The options change according to what’s seasonal and fresh from the market, but whatever you eat, we certainly recommend ending on a sweet note with a slice of carob cake and ice cream. Taberna Albaricoque provides a very enjoyable dining experience for mixed groups.
📍Rua Caminhos de Ferro nº98, 1100-395 Lisbon
Estrela da Bica
Located in happening Bica, between Cais do Sodré and Bairro Alto, Estrela da Bica by chef Marta Figueiredo has garnered acclaim for its creative fusion menu, which includes options for vegetarians and vegans. In fact, as open mindedness is one of the main ingredients in Estrela da Bica’s kitchen, this restaurant was already serving vegetable forward dishes before many of its contemporaries did. As of today, literally, more than 50% of the menu is vegetarian. So what do patrons eat around here? Anything from a beautifully fresh Azorean tuna steak, to brioche buns stuffed with smoked beef tongue… but also plenty of vegetables cooked in creative ways which bring to your table unique flavor combinations.
📍Tv. do Cabral 33, 1200-073 Lisbon
Baldracca excels in offering a menu where vegetarian options stand proudly alongside meat and fish dishes. Their plant-based offerings are not mere afterthoughts but integral parts of the menu, and can obviously be enjoyed by all patrons. We’re talking about mouthwatering creations such as carrot textures with olives and yogurt; tomatoes, strawberries and goats cheese salad; beetroot with horseradish and fried chestnuts; as well as other dishes which follow Baldracca’s art of tweaking traditional Portuguese dishes and ingredients to give them a contemporary flair while maintaining their authentic essence and soul.
📍Rua das Farinhas 1, 1100-177 Lisbon
After closing at the end of 2018 due to gentrification in its original location near Cais do Sodré, Tati found a new home in Penha de França. Originally starting as a neighborhood café in 2011, Tati has always been a trailblazer in the Lisbon culinary scene. It was one of the early adopters of natural wines in the city, contributing to the development of Lisbon’s natural wine movement. Romina Bartolini, originally an IT specialist who moved to Lisbon for work, is the creative force behind Tati’s menu. Her approach focuses on seasonal vegetables, fish, lesser-used cuts of meat, and offal, leading to innovative dishes like liver with kimchi; toast topped with sardines marinated in Jerez vinegar and comté cheese; or breaded mushroom brioche sandwiches with demi glace. The menu at Tati changes weekly and reflects what’s fresh and in season, moving away from the café style to something more dynamic.
📍Rua Carrilho Videira 20B, 1170-079 Lisbon
Botequim, aka Botequim da Graça, located in Lisbon’s Graça neighborhood as the name clearly anticipates, is an iconic bar with a rich history. Founded by the poet and activist Natália Correia in 1971, it originally served as a hub for intellectuals and artists. Today, Botequim continues to be a cherished local spot, offering a diverse menu of strong drinks and petiscos. The bar is known for its impressive whiskey list and late-night kitchen, serving Portuguese style “fast food”, including vegan seitan based bifanas, as well as heavier dishes. Botequim’s unpretentious charm and strong sense of history make it a unique and enduring part of Lisbon’s culinary landscape.
📍Largo da Graça 79, 1170-165 Lisbon
Santa Clara dos Cogumelos
This restaurant located in Lisbon’s Mercado de Santa Clara is a haven for mushroom lovers and offers an intriguing array of dishes where mushrooms are the star. Vegetarians and omnivores alike will find the mushroom-centric dishes both innovative and delicious. Menu highlights include inventive creations like hummus with mushroom topping, a starter which goes by the name of “The Turkish Connection”; tandoori chicken of the woods; black trumpets with pork cheeks; and even mushroom ice cream. Quirky, tasty, and certainly appealing to a broad range of diners.
📍Mercado de Santa Clara, Campo de Santa Clara, 1100-472 Lisbon
Nestled in Lisbon, Senhor Uva is a cherished spot for food enthusiasts, especially natural wine aficionados. This restaurant stands out for its entirely vegetarian and vegan menu, which has garnered admiration from a broad spectrum of foodies. The menu, designed to satisfy diverse tastes, emphasizes creative, plant-based dishes, developed by botanical cuisine chef Stéphanie Audet. Sr. Uva’s commitment to an all-encompassing culinary experience is complemented by an exceptional wine list, making it a prime destination for those who appreciate the synergy of fine wine and gourmet vegetarian cuisine.
📍Rua de Santo Amaro 66A, 1200-804 Lisbon
The best fully vegan restaurants in Lisbon
The number of Lisbon vegetarian restaurants today is a testament to the city’s commitment to culinary inclusivity. We’re talking about old school establishments which serve great examples of Portuguese plant-based cuisine, based on recipes from the old days, as well as newer trendy spots, whose work revolves around plant-based alternatives yet without compromising on the authenticity of Portuguese cuisine.
Fun fact: if you ever find yourself in jail here in Portugal, know that the national law stipulates that you have the right to plant-based meals. In fact, this is the case in all government run establishments, from government offices to school, hospitals and more.
Curiosities aside, above we have mentioned several inclusive restaurants where you can enjoy a variety of authentic vegetarian Portuguese food. While vegan options might admittedly not be as abundant as their vegetarian counterparts in Portuguese cuisine, the adaptability and creativity of local chefs make it possible for those following a plant-based diet to savor the authentic flavors of Portugal. Furthermore, we’d like to stress that these restaurants are worth a visit even if you generally eat a little bit of everything, as their culinary creations pack up tons of creativity, flavor and uniqueness, something any foodie would appreciate.
The best Lisbon restaurants offering an array of plant-based dishes with the potential to captivate both locals and visitors, include:
A Minha Avó
A Minha Avó is a relatively new addition to the city’s thriving vegan restaurant scene, yet it has swiftly made a significant impact, garnering attention thanks to the way it pays homage to traditional Portuguese flavors while embracing the principles of veganism.
The restaurant’s name translates as “my Grandma” and it sure captivates our palates and hearts the way a Grandma would. Whether you’re craving savory snacks, hearty main courses, or sweet indulgences, your very own Portuguese Avó won’t disappoint! Visit her home to savor a diverse range of nostalgic flavors, from bacalhau com natas (oven baked salt cod with cream), arroz de pato (duck rice), bitoque (steak with fried egg), Francesinha or rolo de carne com recheio de ameixas (meatloaf with prune stuffing), all vegan, of course!
For those with a sweet tooth, the dessert menu at A Minha Avó is a delightful journey through indulgent vegan treats. The vegan chocolate mousse is a velvety and rich option that will satisfy any chocolate lover’s cravings, vegan or not. But our favorites are, by far, doce da casa (a layered dessert in a cup with whipped cream, custard and crushed biscuits) as well as bolo de bolacha (a layered cake with coffee dunk biscuits and a generous amount of coffee flavored buttercream).
A Minha Avó’s menu is like a love letter to tradition. Thanks to our favorite vegan Grandma, Lisboners no longer have to long for the tastes of their childhood, and visitors to the city can embark on a truly authentic Portuguese culinary journey, all without a trace of animal products on their plates.
📍Av. António Augusto de Aguiar 74B, 1050-016 Lisbon
Ao26 Vegan Food Project
Founded in 2016, Ao26 Vegan Food Project has been for years perfecting the art of veganizing some of the most quintessential recipes of Portuguese cuisine. With its innovative approach to plant-based dining, it has earned its reputation as one of the city’s premier vegan restaurants, enticing both vegans and non-vegans to embark on a culinary adventure.
When you visit Ao26, we suggest getting the party started with their petiscos platter, perfect for sharing. It features plant-based versions of ultra Portuguese things such as fried cuttlefish, octopus salad and croquetes made with alheira, a smoked sausage. There are no animal ingredients involved whatsoever, but the flavors and textures are quite remarkable and clearly reminiscent of their traditional counterparts. As you delve deeper into the menu, you’ll encounter main dishes that redefine what’s possible in vegan dining. Particular highlight goes to some of their seitan and tofu versions of traditional meat and seafood dishes. Some of their standouts include tofu à lagareiro, a vegan twist on the famous Portuguese salt cod dish, as well as Francesinha, a vegan version of the iconic Portuguese sandwich, typically filled with layers of sausage, ham, and steak, all smothered in a rich tomato and beer sauce, here featuring a medley of plant-based proteins, such as seitan and tofu, providing the same hearty and satisfying experience without any animal products.
What truly sets Ao26 apart is its ability to bridge the gap between vegan and non-vegan palates. It invites everyone to savor the familiar flavors of Portuguese cuisine in a compassionate and sustainable way. With a carefully curated wine list featuring Portuguese organic and certified vegan wines, the dining experiences at Ao26 Vegan Food Project celebrates ethical and eco-conscious choices.
📍Rua Horta Seca 5, 1200-213 Lisbon
Kong – Food Made With Compassion
At Kong, every dish is a testament to the belief that compassionate dining can be both flavorful and fulfilling. The team running this establishment is known not only for their culinary creations, but also for being active participants in the vegan scene of Lisbon, via educational and awareness actions, as well as demonstrations and community events.
Kong’s offerings extend beyond our national borders, showcasing a diverse menu. When it comes to Portuguese inspired dishes, we would highlight their crispy alheira fritters as a starter, yet focus more on their main meal options. Some of our favorites include their the bitoque, featuring succulent seitan and a plant-based fried “egg” with sides of double carbs (fries and rice); their Francesinha (the loaded sandwich from Porto everyone in Portugal or visiting us seems to be in love with); or their rice with “happy octopus”, a plant-based take on octopus rice, making ingenious use of mushrooms to emulate the texture and flavor of octopus.
Kong offers a diverse array of options that celebrate the flavors of both Portuguese and international cuisines, all with a plant-based twist.
📍Rua do Corpo Santo 2, 1200-129 Lisbon
Portuguese custard tarts hold an esteemed position in the hearts and palates of Portuguese nationals as well as those who visit our country. Many would argue that no trip to the country is truly complete without savoring the creamy, flaky goodness of a pastel de nata. But what about if you are following a vegan diet?
Traditionally, pastel de nata is prepared using dairy-based ingredients, including milk, eggs, and sometimes even dairy butter or lard in the puff pastry. However, the winds of change have swept through the pastry world, and now even vegans can partake in Portugal’s most iconic treat, thanks to places like VeganNata. This establishment caters to those who seek the authentic taste of pastel de nata, in this case a vegan nata, without compromising their dietary choices.
As a vegan bakery, VeganNata has reimagined the custard filling, substituting dairy milk and eggs with plant-based alternatives, often derived from ingredients like coconut or oats. As for the puff pastry, the majority of vegan pastel de nata recipes employ vegetable margarine, ensuring the desired flakiness and texture without any animal-derived components.
A visit to VeganNata isn’t just about savoring a veganized pastel de nata; it’s about partaking in Portugal’s cultural heritage, now accessible to a wider audience. If you’re looking for a 100% vegetarian breakfast in Lisbon, start the day with a sweet treat at this vegan café in Lisboa, like many of us typically do!
📍Rua da Misericórdia 9, 1200-208 Lisbon (inside the store A Carioca)
📍Rua 4 de Infantaria loja 29 B, 1350-268 Lisbon
As the demand for cruelty-free and sustainable dining is ever-growing we, the die hard foodies, together with the chefs who are showing their plant-powered prowess, are the writers of the newer chapters in the city’s culinary narrative. There’s no shortage of vegetarian food in Lisbon and being a vegan in Lisbon is now easier and much tastier than ever before!
If you are planning to travel to Lisbon, we look forward to welcoming you. Together, not only can we revisit Portuguese vegetarian classics, but we can also discover vegan alternatives to our country’s most celebrated dishes.
Article by :
Zara Quiroga (freelance food writer and food & cultural leader at Oh! My Cod Pico Trips)
Sílvia Olivença (anthropologist and food guide/CEO at Oh! My Cod Ethnographic Food Tours & Trips)
Sílvia Olivença (anthropologist and food guide/CEO at Oh! My Cod Ethnographic Food Tours & Trips)