The best Portuguese vegan food and wine in Lisbon
Traditional Portuguese cuisine is notoriously not the most accessible option for those who choose to eat a plant-based diet. But at least in Lisbon, just like in most cosmopolitans cities around the world, the number of vegan restaurants offering vegetable-based dishes has been increasing in recent years.
Whether it’s done for the environment, for animal rights or for personal health, there is no doubt that veganism is here to stay. Not only you will find dishes free of animal products being offered in mainstream restaurants, Portugal is also the first country in the world to make it illegal to not offer a 100% vegetarian option in public establishments such as schools, hospitals and prisons.
Vegan restaurants abound in Lisbon, covering a wide range of cuisines or, more often than not, serving fusion dishes. But what if you’re visiting Portugal and you’d still like to indulge in typical flavors without consuming animal products? There are a few options from our repertoire of traditional cuisine that are by default vegan, like vegetable soups and the rare eggless pastry baked using margarine rather than butter, but these aren’t such a wide representation of how vast and rich Portuguese gastronomy is. Luckily, there are several chefs and businesses that have been developing vegan recipes that manage to capture the essence of Portuguese cuisine.
If you are a vegan food lover exploring Lisbon and its flavors, we invite you to discover these places where to eat and drink vegan food and wines:
Vegan restaurants and must-try foods
Ao26 Vegan Food Project
This is arguably the best place in Lisbon to try vegan versions of quintessential Portuguese dishes. From the typical starters of bread, olive oil for dipping and olives, to several main dishes inspired by traditional Portuguese food, all the way to desserts, Ao26 is one of the most solid restaurants in Lisbon’s vegan food scene. Here you can try a sharing platter of vegetable creations that will reminisce of the flavors of Portuguese petiscos such as fried cuttlefish or alheira sausage. Alongside burgers that could please any meat lover, Ao26’s main foods’ menu includes seitan and tofu versions of popular meat and seafood dishes. Apart from their permanent listing, their menu includes daily specials that keep rotating. During Lisbon’s summer festival, expect to find dishes that evoke grilled sardines, a smell you won’t be able to ignore if you visit our city during June. Not only does Ao26 have an attractive food menu filled with bonafide local flavors, their wine list with several options of Portuguese organic and certified vegan wines will make a visit to this restaurant even more appealing!
📍Rua Vítor Cordon 26, 1200-484 Lisbon
🍴 Must-try: bifana (seitan sandwich in traditional bolo do caco flat bread from Madeira)
The Food Temple
The Food Temple was the first restaurant fully dedicated to vegan cuisine in Lisbon and opened 9 years ago. Located in the heart of Mouraria, still a city hidden-gem and one of the Moorish and oldest Lisbon neighborhoods. There, plant-based dishes are creatively created reflecting the seasons and also some Portuguese cuisine inspiration, crafting seasonal menus to share, that naturally bring people together and in good company. As they say “As all good things, we are not always easy to find!”: Google Maps often loses its way to the restaurant in the beautiful labyrinth of Mouraria. If you feel lost, ask the neighbors around, they will guide you!
📍Beco do Jasmin 18, 1100-289 Lisbon
🍴 Must-try: Migas with onion sauce
Kong – Food Made With Compassion
You won’t find many typical options in this vegan restaurant with Brazilian and Portuguese background. There’s plenty of great food, like fish and chips or burgers. But besides it all you will come across one very Portuguese dish that will make your visit to Kong worthwhile if you’re on the hunt for local flavors – and that is Francesinha! This typical sandwich from the northern city of Porto is customarily loaded with several kinds of meat tucked between two slices of bread, and drenched in a tomatoey beer sauce. In Kong’s vegan version, you will be able to enjoy Francesinha stuffed with seitan and tofu, as well as veggies and plant-based cheese. Vegan or not, Francesinha is a heavy dish that we wouldn’t suggest ordering if you’re planning to keep active afterwards – you have been deliciously warned!
📍Rua do Crucifixo 30, 1100-183 Lisbon
🍴 Must-try: Francesinha sandwich
Traveling to Lisbon and not trying a pastel de nata is like going to Italy and not eating pasta or pizza. Portuguese custard tarts are, by definition, the antithesis of vegan food. The custard is made with milk and eggs, while the puff pastry that surrounds it could be made with margarine like in the vast majority of cases but sometimes also involves dairy butter or even lard. There are several establishments in town that offer plant based pastel de nata these days, usually made with a filling of vegetable milk like those derived from coconut or oats, dismissing the eggs and going for the margarine to achieve the desired flakiness of the dough. If you’re only going to try one vegan pastel de nata in Lisbon, head straight to VeganNata which specializes in this one treat only. If you’re into comparing and contrasting, we suggest you also check out other bakeries such as Zarzuela.
📍Rua 4 de Infantaria loja 29 B, 1350-268 Lisbon
🍴 Must-try: pastel de nata, of course!
Moko Veggie Café
With one location in the neighborhood of Anjos and another one in Alvalade, Moko is a bakery and small restaurant that keeps surprising its regular customers with new sweet and savory creations. Their menu is not Portuguese as such. In fact, they serve noodle soups and Asian dumplings, which is explained by the fact that this business is Taiwanese owned. They are notorious for their decadent vegan cake creations and the extensive use of faux meat and fish. Amongst their rather eclectic menu, you will find typical Portuguese snacks such tosta mista (grilled ham & cheese) and rissóis de camarão, that is, fried turnovers stuffed with shrimp, in this case, mock vegan shrimp. Empada de seitan, just like the traditional Portuguese meat or chicken individual pies, here filled with minced wheat gluten, is also one of the menu’s highlights. When it comes to sweet treats, their menu of in-house baked pastries keeps changing depending on the day, but if you are lucky and you come across their version of pastel de nata or custard filled berliner, aka bola de berlim, just like those we’d normally eat at the beach during summer months, order it and keep marveling at how these vegan versions are remarkably similar to their traditional counterparts.
📍Moko Anjos: Rua do Forno do Tijolo 29D, 1170-132 Lisbon
📍Moko Alvalade: Rua Luís Augusto Palmeirim 7B, 1700-272 Lisbon
🍴 Must-try: rissóis de camarão (fried turnovers with creamy faux shrimp filling)
Portuguese cheese and charcuterie
If you thought being vegan would mean you’d miss out on Portugal’s habit of sampling cheese and charcuterie with robust local bread while sipping a glass of wine, think again! Nowadays you can find several local brands of vegan cheese and charcuterie such as the typical alheira and farinheira traditionally made with pork. These items aren’t always easy to come across in sit-down restaurants, but are widely available in specialized stores, both online and in central Lisbon. We recommend visiting Pistácio, above the popular vegan restaurant O Botanista (Rua Dom Luís I 19, 1200-109 Lisbon) where you will find a beautiful range of these kinds of products and the staff will be more than happy to guide you around!
📍Rua Dom Luís I 19, 1200-109 Lisbon
Portuguese vegan wine
There are several vegan friendly brands of wine in Portugal, but not all are vegan certified. As such, here we highlight those that we know and trust are 100% free of ingredients of animal origin. While most wines use animal origin gelatins to speed up the clarification process, wines such as these make use of potatoes and peas instead for this purpose. At Lidl you will be able to find Indelével, a Portuguese red vegan wine from the Alentejo region, exclusively for sale at this supermarket chain. In other specialized stores such as Celeiro (several locations in Lisbon), Green Beans (Rua Chagas 31, 1200-106 Lisbon), Pistácio (Rua Dom Luís I 19, 1200-109 Lisbon) or Casca Wines online store, you can purchase several other local brands of certified vegan wines. To sit down for a vegan glass of wine at a restaurant or bar, we suggest visiting Ao26 (Rua Vítor Cordon 26, 1200-484 Lisbon), Senhor Uva (Rua de Santo Amaro 66A, 1200-804 Lisbon), Comida independent (R. Cais do Tojo 28, 1200-649 Lisboa)or O Botanista (Rua Dom Luís I 19, 1200-109 Lisbon). Be happy to note that the popular sour cherry liqueur Ginjinha that Lisbon visitors often seek is usually vegan.Yet for fully certified vegan brands check out Licor de Ginja MSR or Vila das Rainhas Ginja D’Óbidos.
🌐 Visit Barnivore to explore an extensive list of vegan friendly wines from Portugal.
Are you a vegan traveler planning to visit Lisbon? Hit us up with your questions or comments on Facebook and Instagram! We’ll love to see your photo shoots, to know about your insights, suggestions and wishes on your vegan food & culture experiences in Lisbon and Portugal. Please share with us, by Kindly tag @tasteoflisboa or #tasteoflisboa.
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