Portugal may not be best-known for its plant-based fare but Lisbon has perfected the art. Here’s where to sample the best of it.
With its platters piled high with garlic prawns, piri-piri chicken and pork-infused feijoada, Portugal is not exactly known for its vegetarian—let alone vegan—fare. However, this all changes as you approach its capital. Trailing Lisbon’s rising star as Europe’s hippest destination is an inspired range of meat-free eateries. From plant-based fine dining to farm-to-fork cafés, here’s where to discover vegan Lisbon.
Best For… Sweet Treats
If there’s one treat Lisbon is famous for, it’s the legendary pastel de nata, or custard tart. Crumbly layers of pastry cup a creamy scoop of custard set just so, with a light dusting of cinnamon across the top. At heritage bakery Zarzuela, this most indulgent of pastries comes in a vegan-friendly variety. What’s more, Zarzuela caters specifically for strict dietary requirements and you’ll find gluten and lactose-free versions of tempting delights such as doughnuts, creamy strawberry-topped tarts and chocolate-sprinkled croissants.
Best For… Breakfast
With a millennial-friendly powder pink and mint green interior, Lisbon’s favourite vegan café Juicy Lisboa is a stylish spot for breakfast. Generous organic açai bowls are stuffed with nutrient-rich ingredients such as granola, fresh fruit and coconut, while their knockout house smoothies and juices are made fresh to order. With an all-round eco ethos, Juicy Lisboa works with local soup kitchens so nothing goes to waste.
Best For… Vegan Sushi
Sushi-loving vegans are often limited to a plate of avocado and cucumber rolls, but Legumi Sushi does a spectacular vegan take on the Japanese classic. Testament to the innovation of Brazilian chef Leonardo Lattari, its imaginative, prettily plated California rolls, nigiri and gyoza dumplings look too good to eat. This dainty 32-cover only uses local ingredients bought that morning at the market—even the wine at Legumi Sushi is vegan. Our tip? Pick the tasting menu to experience the full gamut of Lattari’s delicious creations.
Best For… Plant-Based Portuguese
One of the names that kick-started Lisbon’s vegan scene, Ao 26 Vegan Food Project in Baixa is a pioneering plant-based restaurant that’s much-loved by the local vegan community. It’s Ao 26’s meat-free interpretations of local Lisboan dishes that make it such a special spot. Like francesinha—a sausage and cheese toastie—and a mushroom interpretation of clam dish à bulhão pato. With quirkily mismatched furniture, retro lampshades and prints of rock star icons occupying the walls, Ao 26 is Lisbon’s definitive hipster hub.
Best For… Asian Flavours
As the restaurant’s mantra emblazoned on the wall states, “I don’t just eat vegan, I live vegan.” Veganapati is a place where plant-based is more life philosophy than dietary choice. Transporting the soul and sensations of India to Portugal, this vegan Lisbon go-to imbues its dishes with a side order of spirituality—as well as all things spicy and nourishing. Star of the show is Veganapati’s gigantic masala dosa—a vast crisp crepe served with aromatic house pickles and chutneys. Settle into one of Veganapati’s vibrant orange banquettes next to the verdant living wall and tuck into the flavours of the East.