The Vegan Guide to Lisbon

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A few years ago, Portugal was a vegan’s worst nightmare. Most Portuguese dishes contain either meat or fish, and to not include either is pretty much unthinkable. Even soups like Caldo Verde, which is mainly made of cabbage and potato, includes a few obligatory slices of chouriço. Then there are the cakes and pastries, which not only include eggs and butter as part of the standard recipe but also doce de ovos as the filling (a Portuguese-style egg custard).

Times have changed, though. Although the concept of veganism (and even vegetarianism) is very new to Portugal, it has been embraced with gusto. As of 2017, Happy Cow counts at least 15 different vegan restaurants in Lisbon – and that’s not including all of the vegetarian restaurants or restaurants with vegan-friendly options. Considering most people visit Lisbon for a long weekend, that’s almost enough restaurants to visit without having to double-up.

Vegan-Friendly Accommodation

There are a couple of hotels and bed and breakfasts in Lisbon that offer a vegan-friendly breakfast.

  • Inspira Santa Marta Hotel (from €110) – Situated just off of Avenida de Liberdade, this upmarket eco-hotel offers boutique accommodation that’s decorated according to Feng Shui principles. The hotel will happily cater to vegans on request, and their on-site Mediterranean restaurant offers an excellent selection of vegan, vegetarian, and lactose-free dishes. .
  • Casa do Mercado Lisboa (from €80) – A boutique B&B that’s located in Cais do Sodré near the popular Time Out Market, Casa do Mercado Lisboa also runs an organic and bio restaurant, and happily caters to vegans at breakfast time.

Another option is to stay in self-catering accommodation and have breakfast at home. Most Portuguese supermarkets now stock a range of vegan-friendly products including almond and soy milk, and there are also a few health food supermarkets like:

Vegan-friendly cafés

Selva Vegan Brunch
Vegan brunch at Selva in Alcântara – Photo provided by Selva
  • Selva (map) – Offers a range of vegan options including a vegan brunch that includes vegan yogurts, vegan granola (made in-house), avocado on toast with vegan feta, and a selection of vegan cakes. Lactose alternatives for coffee include soy, almond, and oat milk (the oat milk is vegan favourite “Oatly Barista”). Besides it’s vegan menu, it’s also worth mentioning that Selva is dog-friendly and eco-friendly: no straws or plastics and they compost their waste.

Restaurants

Food at Miss Saigon
  • AO 26 Vegan Food Project – One of the most popular vegan restaurants, this restaurant offers a selection of snacks, sandwiches, salads, and desserts, as well as a changing dish of the day (map)
  • The Food Temple – Another popular vegan joint, offering a selection of main meals and snacks (map)
  • RDA 69 – A social project that offers bike repair, workshops, and film screenings, RDA 69 also offers a €3 evening meal from 20:00 onward (map)
  • Planeta Bio – Healthy vegetarian and vegan food that’s very affordable as well (map)
  • Instituto Macrobiótico de Portugal – Serves vegan lunches, and has a shop selling a small selection of health food products (map).
  • Refeitório Associativo Hare Krishna – Offers an affordable €7 lunch and €8 dinner that’s suitable for both vegetarians and vegans. (map)
  • Farm Food Ink Café – An Israeli vegetarian health food café that offers salads, falafel, hummus, and other vegan-friendly options (map)
  • Miss Saigon – Situated in Parque das Nações, this vegan cuisine has an international focus. Dishes change daily but have previously included vegan meatballs, haggis, colcannon, and curry (map)

Many of the organic supermarkets mentioned above also have a snack bar, ideal for light lunches and snacks. Puro Bio has a snack bar as does Biomercado, while Miosótis has its own restaurant and serves both vegetarian and vegan meals.

Vegan and Vegetarian Buffets

The following restaurants focus on vegan and vegetarian buffets, with dishes that change daily.

Vegan alternatives to traditional Portuguese dishes

Vegan restaurants are great, but sometimes it’s easy to feel like you’re missing out on discovering a new cuisine. Thankfully, there are a few places dotted around Lisbon that offer vegan alternatives of traditional Portuguese dishes.

The Bifana

The bifana is a pork sandwich that’s available as a snack in cafes all over Portugal, and AO 26 – Vegan Food Project offer a vegan Bifana that’s made with Seitan.

The Francesinha

Originating in Porto, and typically containing more than 3 types of meat, the francesinha is normally anything but vegan. Thankfully, Ao 26 – Vegan Food Project offer a vegan alternative.

Feijoada

Although Feijoada usually contains pork, Veganeats offers a meat-free alternative that’s perfect for vegans.

Alheira

A Portuguese sausage that’s traditionally made from just about any meat as long as it’s not pork, this is available in vegan form at Veganeats.

Arroz Doce

Sweet rice, or rice pudding, is a Portuguese sweet that typically contains milk and eggs but Terra offer a vegan-friendly version that uses lactose-free milk.

Naturally vegan dishes

There are also a handful of traditional Portuguese dishes that are already naturally vegan-friendly including:

  • Queijo de Figo: More common in the Algarve, this cake is made from figs, almond, and spices.
  • Marzipan sweets: Many pastelarias sell marzipan sweets that are usually made from just ground almonds, water, and sugar.
  • Baked chestnuts (castanhas): In Autumn, you’ll often see stalls by the side of the road selling these.
  • Ginjinha: A sweet alcohol made from Ginja berries.
  • Port: Dessert wine from Porto.

Markets in Portugal

If you’re self-catering in Lisbon, take the opportunity to shop at one of the many fresh fruit and vegetable markets in Lisbon. With over 300 days of sunshine in Lisbon and the Algarve, Portugal has optimal conditions for growing fruit and vegetables. And, because most people still shop at the market, you’ll find that the prices are very reasonable as well.

Look out for:

  • Sweet Potatoes from Aljezur
  • Bananas from Madeira
  • Pineapples from The Azores
  • Diospiros (Persimmon)
  • Pomegranates
  • Mangos (check to see where they come from, as many stalls will have mangos from South America).

Have you uncovered any vegan delights in Lisbon? Let us, and other Portugalist readers, know by sharing your comment below. 

Join The Conversation

  1. I really appreciate this site. I only wish that it listed some vegan tour guides. My family and I are coming in November and I’d give anything for a vegan guide that could take us or lead us all over.

    Reply
    • Hi Donna,

      I hope to write a little more about vegan travel in Portugal. There are lots of vegan (or vegan-friendly) restaurants in places like Lisbon and Porto. Outside of the big cities, it’s more difficult. Portuguese food is very focused on meat and fish and most snack foods contain dairy foods of some kind.

      I will try and make a list of all the vegan-friendly options. You won’t find vegan restaurants everywhere, but plenty of vegans visit Portugal every year and manage to survive 🙂

      Reply
  2. Thank you for the guide.
    I have booked Inspira Santa Marta on your recommendation and look forward to visiting some of the restaurants.

    Reply
    • Thanks Steve! You’ve just reminded me that this article is due an update, so I’ll have to go and try some of those restaurants myself 🙂

      Reply
  3. This is a very helpful site. Im going to the vegan festival on the 28th April with a large group of people. I shall take this guide with me, thank you for sharing.

    Reply

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