When you think of excellent vegetarian food, Lisbon is probably not a place which comes to mind. After all, Portugal is a nation known for its meaty dishes—we’re talking about the famous Francesinha and the Portuguese seafood medleys—and not a mecca of vegetarian and vegan food.
Gaurav and I have often found it challenging to stick to our vegetarian/vegan diets while travelling abroad. But in recent years we’ve seen a lot of countries make a distinctive shift towards catering for people like us! While this is amazing, finding delicious, heck, even decent vegetarian food can be something of a trial at times. Most people seem to think that all you need to feed a vegetarian is some grilled eggplant (or aubergine as Gaurav calls it) with a few lettuce leaves and we’re good to go.
Luckily, you won’t suffer this fate when you pay a visit to Portugal’s sunny capital. There are some truly excellent vegetarian and vegan options in the City of Seven Hills, and we’re here to share 5 of our favorites!
This particular vegetarian restaurant will always be foremost in our memories of Lisbon for 2 reasons. Firstly, this is the spot where we ran into the famous Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma (fun fact, she’s a vegetarian too!) who was out for dinner with a few friends. Gaurav kept hissing at me, “She was in PK remember? REMEMBER?”
All right calm down, fanboy.
Bollywood superstars aside, we of course remember PSI fondly because of the great food. This hidden gem is easily one of Lisbon’s best vegetarian restaurants and has an amazing ambiance to boot! Most of the dishes are Asian fusion so you can choose from different themes, whether you’re in the mood for something a little Indian, Thai, or want to try them all. The portions are hearty and healthy, and the surroundings are beautiful!
Suggested dish: Sweet and sour eggplant with tofu – 10.90
In Boca al Lupo is also another memorable restaurant for us, and not just because of the food. What can I say, Lisbon is an exciting city where pretty much anything can happen! There we were, sitting In Boca al Lupo with a couple friends, minding our own business and surveying the menu when a young woman emerged from the kitchen with a plate of food and began to sing…opera.
For the next fifteen minutes we sat there in amazement as she walked from table to table singing her heart out. Let me tell you, this girl had some pipes on her and we were completely awed! It turned out that the owner’s niece was an opera student and she would stop in every couple weeks to serenade patrons as she served them their food. We just happened to be lucky enough to be there on a night where she’d popped in with her own family and hence got a free opera performance along with our dinner!
Even if you’re not fortunate enough to hear this talented beauty sing, you’ll still fall in love with Il Boca al Lupo. They have an amazing selection of vegetarian friendly pizzas, all made on the spot in a wood-burn oven. And while more than half of their menu caters to vegetarians, there’s still some excellent options for those who prefer a little meat on their pizza. Pair it with some locally brewed beer and you’ve got a match made in heaven!
Suggested dish: Rossa (pizza with mozzarella, dried tomato, and basil) – 14
Nestled in a side street just steps away from the central stop of Lisbon’s famed Tram 28, Ink is a pure vegan restaurant that takes pride in providing healthy, meat and dairy-free dishes. While I wasn’t a big fan of their sandwich of the day, I did fall in love with their vegan chili which is absolutely delish. Even better, you get to sit at cute, colorful picnic tables while you eat.
Because Ink does serve food that’s a bit on the lighter side, we recommend popping in here for lunch and going for something a bit heavier for dinner (like our previous two suggestions). The interesting part about Ink is that it’s located in a, er, shadier part of town. At one end of the street you can find a lookout with a tiny cafe perched on it and can finish off your meal with a cold beer and excellent views. But to get there you may have to pass several shifty characters who will make suggestive offers to sell you various types of drugs. Don’t worry though, this is more funny than dangerous!
Suggested dish: Soup and drink deal (vegan chili and fruit drink of choice) – 9.50
If you’re on the hunt for a wider variety of meatless dishes while in Lisbon, you can find a great selection at Terra! This chic spot is touted as one of Lisbon’s top vegetarian restaurants and boasts a pretty great buffet. The concept at Terra is simple: you pay a set price for the buffet and extra for any drinks you’d like to consume.
The restaurant is huge, so make sure to head toward the back when you arrive. You’ll find a pretty terrace where you can sit on warm summer evenings sipping on beer or wine while feasting on good vegetarian food. Make sure to show up hungry so you can make the most of this buffet!
Suggested dish: All-you-can-eat vegetarian buffet – 15.90
If all else seems lost and you really run out of vegetarian options, don’t despair, you can find good vegetarian paella pretty much everywhere in Lisbon (and probably the rest of Portugal too).
Given its close proximity to Spain, it should come as no surprise that there’s quite a bit of Spanish influence in Lisbon. Head to Lisbon’s Praça do Comércio and take your time exploring the alleyways and streets around it. There are entire lanes dedicated to the wonders of paella and you won’t be starved for choice here. Most will offer vegetarian options and you can pair your paella with some chilled sangria to really bring your Portuguese holiday to the peak of relaxation!
Suggested dish: Vegetarian Paella – around 11
We hope you like our 5 vegetarian suggestions for Lisbon, Portugal! Let us know in the comments which ones you try and which is your favorite.