Full disclosure…I haven’t been vegetarian for long. Well okay, technically, I’m pescatarian so, not eating any red meat, my travels around Portugal this year relied very heavily on fish, seafood and plants (and cake too of course but that’s talked about in another post).
While Portuguese cuisine is quite heavy on meat and seafood, with pork and stews being popular dishes, I didn’t have any difficulties finding places to eat that catered to vegetarians. In fact, Porto is a city that caters extremely well to all palates and has many restaurants and cafes that are solely vegetarian and vegan.
I’ve included a variety of different styles of restaurants, all serving up healthy seasonal delicious fusions of food, so whether you’re after a casual lunch with friends, a date night or a delicious weekend brunch, I’ve got you covered.
Style: Buffet, great for a casual lunch
There are several DaTerra restaurants dotted around Porto but I’ve been to the one in Foz do Duoro a couple of times as it makes for a very casual and convenient lunch, is great value and serves up extremely fresh and healthy food. But the nutritional goodness doesn’t mean that the taste is scrimped on.
You can help yourself to unlimited amounts of the vegetarian and vegan buffet which changes weekly and even satisfies meat eaters. Hot and cold dishes are available such as lentil dahl, pumpkin and sweet potato gratin, spinach and mushroom quiche, along with pastas, salads, soups, and vegetables aplenty. One of the things I like about this place (apart from the tasty food of course) is that everything is labelled with a list of ingredients and allergens. So if you’re gluten free, lactose intolerant, vegan, allergic to nuts (like me) then you won’t have a problem knowing what you can and can’t eat.
On a warm day it’s nice to sit out the back in the open air courtyard, grab a plate and help yourself to a spot of lunch, plus a fresh smoothie. Strawberry and homemade lemonade is the best.
Style: Beautifully designed restaurant and dishes, perfect for a slightly fancier more intimate evening meal
My favourite of the three restaurants, partly because of the stunning natural design inside, all earthy woods and stone with green plants hanging from the ceiling in giant wicker baskets and tree trunks alongside the tables to rest bottles of wine on. The ambience was lovely for an evening meal with low lighting and a cosy intimate feel, and an open kitchen where you can watch the chefs at work.
The menu is a small one and matches the nature inspired décor with several select seasonal organic dishes to choose from that change on a regular basis, each dish exquisite in both presentation and taste. We were recommended to share three dishes plus a dessert between two of us and the waitress talked us through each dish. Asparagus and soft poached egg sprinkled with breadcrumbs; and broccoli with goat’s cheese, truffled onion and seaweed caviar were my favourites. I wouldn’t usually enjoy something so heavy on vegetables but the mix of ingredients is so well thought out that it was all so exceptionally flavoursome and appetising.
I’m not a fan of those restaurants that place more emphasis on presentation than on taste, or where the food looks fabulous but is only a tiny little portion. I like a decent amount of food on my plate thank you! But here they do it all extremely well, each dish arriving one course at a time, each beautifully laid out and with portion sizes that are plentiful.
I’m struggling to find words to describe how good the dessert was. It was simply divine. A honey crème brulee with pollen and lavender ice cream. Very disappointing that I had to share!
Style: Environmentally friendly coffee shop, excellent brunches
I mentioned this place in my last post on the best brunches in Porto but I have to include it again here as it’s a wonderfully contemporary café serving up some of the most delicious vegetarian dishes.
Several different styles of eggs are popular here, with the crustiest of breads, porridge bowls and, my favourite, brioche topped with sliced peaches swimming in honey yoghurt for brunch. It’s also a great lunch stop with fresh seasonal light dishes all unique in ingredients and flavours as well as an assortment of tasty cakes if you want to be a little naughty after a healthy main meal.
For more of my food guides to Porto you can take a look at Porto’s most indulgent desserts and the best brunches in Porto. All this research and trying all these wonderful foods was solely for you guys, so I hope you enjoy reading it all as much as I enjoyed eating it!
If you’re vegetarian, have you found it easy to find places to eat when you travel? Let me know in the comments below or at: