Eating Vegan in Lisbon

While pork and fish/seafood are the king and queen of Lisbon, the people of this fine city have done an incredible job with creating businesses focused on a more animal friendly vegan way of life. We try to eat vegan as a general rule (and always when we are cooking at home) but traveling vegan can be difficult and getting to the soul of a place through food can be extra tough. That said, Lisbon has so many options for vegans, that you will not go hungry here.

The offerings range from ordinary vegan fare (buddha bowls, açai bowls, smoothies and juices, etc.) to a bit more adventurous and high end. There are vegan buffets to choose from as well. For the most part these options all have a modern aesthetic and were always busy. It’s so great to see such a meat heavy culture embracing veganism, though I’m not sure how many of the people we saw in these restaurants were Portuguese or foreigners. It hardly matters. The vegan culture is strong in Lisbon and that’s a great thing.

AO26 - Vegan Food Concept

As you can tell by the name, this is a vegan restaurant. When we turned up to “check it out” one misty gray afternoon there was a scattered mass of people queuing outside waiting for the doors to open. 12:31 and they unlocked the doors. It seemed as though those eager to queue weren’t so eager to be the first through the door - that’s ok, we took the honor.

We perused the menu since Zac was feeling spicy that day but were quickly won over with their special offerings. We each had the soup + daily special option (cream veg with mint soup and polenta with tofu meatballs for Z and a Wellington roll for me). This was truly one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time hands down.

The restaurant filled out nicely and the decor is modern comfy (the kind of place that you feel like lingering in). We both finished off our meal with one of their amazing herbal teas and rolled out of there feeling more stuffed than we’ve felt in forever. We will be back.

Organi Chiado

We stopped by for lunch on a beautifully sunny afternoon. It was nice enough to eat outside and so we sat down at the end of the steep staircase that one street to another and had a bird’s eye view of the going’s on around us. Zac’s chair was barely on the platform, so he had some moments of feeling a little caddy wampus. Not to worry, he tucked in and was able to remain stable for the duration of the meal.

Organi Chiado is a vegan restaurant in the Chiado district (so aptly named). As soon as we arrived we were greeted and asked if we are aware this is a vegan restaurant. “of course, that’s why we came here.” The server’s fears were assuaged and he sat us at our table. The food was sort of a vegan take on Portuguese dishes and seems to change frequently.

Zac had a Portuguese bean stew with chorizo and I had a veggie burger. Both came with a whole host of sides and the overall effect of the combined dishes was a colorful, beautiful, extremely filling feast for both our eyes and our bellies. We left feeling very satisfied and ready to skip eating anything for the rest of the day.

Green Beans - Mercado Vegan

Green Beans is a grocer, boutique and cafe. I usually say “pick one thing and do it well” but all of their products can be covered under an eco and vegan ethos so it kind of works. We didn’t eat at the cafe, but bought some delicious vegan cheese, tofu and some other staples from the grocery. I loved this little place and will return to buy some more essentials for home cooking. I’ve read that they have great desserts, but sadly, they didn’t have any on offer the afternoon we were there. Perhaps they’d been ravaged by the hangry vegan hordes that seem to exist here in Lisbon.

Service is super indifferent and I think it was a stretch for them to actually speak to us at the counter when we paid. Come for the products, not for the service. They would do well to change this and bring more people along on their journey.

Jardim das Cerejas

Jardim das Cerejas is another really good vegan option in the heart of Lisbon. We stopped by this small restaurant for a Sunday lunch to find the place buzzing with a wide demographic of people.

We easily found a table and helped ourselves to the 8.50 Euro buffet. This is an amazing deal as they have so many dishes on offer. There’s soup. salad fixings, fried things (sort of like onion bhaji but different), pappadums, and then at least 6 hot dishes as well. It was a magnificent feast. I have to say the spinach was an absolute standout and we both ate waaaayyyyy more than two people ever should.

While we each were finishing our second plate of food, we noticed a kerfluffle at the door. It seemed it had gotten stuck and no one was able to get in or out. Customers and restaurant workers alike fumbled with the thing for at least five minutes. Finally, a screwdriver was passed through the window to a customer outside and he was able to jigger the door enough to unlock it. The place erupted in clapping and a literal swarm of people came inside to sup on the amazing food on offer. All I know is if we were locked in this place, we wouldn’t have gone hungry.

My Mother’s Daughters

My Mother’s Daughters caught my eye for several reasons: 1. it’s vegan 2. I love the name 3. the drinks menu looked amazing 4. it looked super cute. The café is sort of in a weird neighborhood north of all the action of the city. It starts to get a bit more modern and as Zac said a bit more like “any other city” as you head towards it. But definitely go here. This is an interesting area that probably not many tourists visit despite it being super close to the amazing Eduardo VII park.

The café is tiny and we despaired of not being able to get a seat. But yay! There was a small table just waiting for us. We had a seat and quickly began the difficult process of making decisions. Everything looked amazing.

I decided on an adaptogenic beet, chaga and cacao latté (made with oat milk) and a zucchini and carrot noodle pizza. Zac had a bulletproof espresso (made with coconut oil instead of butter) and the ohmlette (an omelette made from chickpea flour).

The owner is fantastically nice and the place so cozy that we just couldn’t bring ourselves to leave. So we did what any sane person would do and ordered the berry crumble. Good god that was amazing. I’d have to say the ambiance, drinks and dessert were far better than the savory entrees either of us had, but we definitely left feeling like we had a great experience.

O Botanista

I wanted to like this place so much more than I did. The reviews are great and everyone seems to love it here. I was luke warm, maybe even a little chilly about my experience here. The space is lovely and as the name suggests is quite lush with greenery. It has a very open and modern garden kind of vibe and truly felt like we were in a garden. Not an easy feat indoors.

As I read the menu, I was really sort of caught out as to what to get. I wasn’t really feeling terribly inspired by any of it. Not that I have to be inspired per se, but there was just something in the offerings that left me wanting. I decided on the potstickers as Zac had read they were supposed to be really good. I assumed the portion would be small so order the soup of the day as well (I think it was some sort of turnip something or other). Zac went with the burger between hash browns.

Everything was good, it just wasn’t great.

The skin on my potstickers was a bit sticky and chewy and seemed to get stuck to my teeth an awful lot. They had good flavor but the texture was difficult to overcome. The soup was much better and had a lovely drizzle of olive oil and was sprinkled with black sesame seeds. Zac’s burger was nice though a bit dry and sort of pasty from the beans. For my taste, I could have used a lot more salt across everything but I may just be super into salt these days.

All in all, I think O Botanista is a good option for this part of the city but there are far better vegan restaurants in Lisbon that I will return to. I should note they do have a great selection of herbal teas that sounded good.

Da Terra

Da Terra is a smart modern restaurant in the heart of the city. It’s close to the Principe Real neighborhood and makes for a great stop on the way to check out what’s going on in that hip area. While technically a vegetarian restaurant, they have many, many vegan options and thus why it is on this list. In fact, I don’t remember seeing a non-vegan item at the buffet the day we stopped by.

Yes, this is a buffet style restaurant for lunch and dinner, but they do offer sandwiches and such, I think. I didn’t see anyone ordering anything other than the buffet when we were there. There’s a great number of salads on offer, soup and a few hot entrees as well. Some standouts for us: a spicy coleslaw, beet carpaccio, carrot soup, and an Indian inspired spinach and potato dish. They also had a smoothie shot available (the selection on the day we stopped by was banana and berry dashed with cayenne, which was quite tasty).

The weekday lunch buffet price was 8.50 Euro while dinner and week-end is 11.50 Euro. We’re super cheap so of course we went during the week for lunch. They have some good looking desserts including a vegan pastel de nata, but since we were meeting a friend for coffee (and most certainly a sweet) later, we opted to forego the dessert. I really enjoyed this buffet and would definitely come back for more.

Update: We came back for lunch on our last day before heading to the airport. I seriously considered taking a take-away box for the plane.

Quintal d’Santo Amaro

Quintal d’Santo Amaro was everything I have been wanting in a vegan restaurant in Lisbon. It’s tiny. 2 tables seating 2 people each and two stools at the window seat. That’s it.

There’s a simple counter with the desserts displayed behind glass, a lovely open shelf unit that hangs from the ceiling behind that and a big mural of a plant on the wall. The kitchen is downstairs and out of sight. The room is simply decorated and feels just like you want it to. Modern and clean without being pretentious. It’s small size makes you feel like you’re being hugged and the friendly service only extends that feeling.

The menu is handwritten on a scroll of paper on the wall and since it was written in Portuguese the woman who worked there kindly told us what was on the menu for the day. There was a vegan interpretation of a Brazilian stew (usually very meaty but here done with veg and black beans) and a tofu dish that I wasn’t that interested in. Honestly, I sort of stopped listening after she explained the soup of the day was broccoli. My fate was set. Soup + toast.

The toast looked a whole lot like a lovely Danish rye bread covered with a carrot hummus and some greens. Simple and delicious. Zac ordered the Brazilian stew and was not disappointed. We capped off the meal with one of the most delicious apple cakes I’ve ever had (read more about it on the Sweet Shops of Lisbon post).

A mother and her three kids came in and spread out across the remaining seats of the restaurant. They chatted happily in a mix of English and Portuguese and we had a quick discussion with them about the weather in NY (the mother had just returned from there and her husband from Seattle).

We spoke with whom I assume is the owner and just felt so loved and welcomed. Not only was the food incredible but the overall feel and tone of the place was just what we love. We will definitely be back to enjoy some more of their creations.

TLDR: Summary of Eating Vegan in Lisbon

I can get pretty lengthy when I talk about places I love. So if you’re short on time or attention span here’s the short and dirty on what we thought about the vegan restaurants in Lisbon:

  • Best Ambiance: it’s a tie between Quintal d’Santo Amaro and My Mother’s Daughters. They were both just so small and the people working there so friendly. They both just felt really good and had fabulous design.

  • Favorite Food: AO26. I say this because they offered really different options than what you see on most vegan menus. It transcended “bowls” and I was grateful for that.

  • Favorite Vegan Buffet: Da Terra. The food was great and was veggie forward. There are always loads of salads to choose from and I think almost every dish had multiple vegetables in it. That’s what set this above the others for me.

  • Favorite Beverages: My Mother’s Daughters. They have such a variety of healthy drinks on offer it almost overshadows the food. You should absolutely drink up while you are here.

  • Favorite Desserts: Quintal d’Santo Amaro. I talk about their desserts in our post on the best sweets in Lisbon as well. I think the double exposure on two blog posts says how much I loved these dessert options. Pop in for a sweet. You will not regret it.

Map of Vegan Restaurants in Lisbon

Here’s a map to all the vegan restaurants I know of in Lisbon. I’m sure there are a few missing from this list, but hopefully this is enough to get you started exploring. The restaurants listed in pink in the map are those we listed in the post above. The blue ones are those we wanted to get to but just didn’t have time. I’d love to hear what you think of these places and if there are a few more you think should be added. Enjoy eating vegan in Lisbon!