Earlier this month, I shared my top picks for the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Lisbon. I’ll be continually updating that post, as new veggie restaurants are popping up in the city all the time.
But those aren’t the only places where you can eat amazing vegan food in Portugal’s capital! Many of the best restaurants in Lisbon for vegan eats are actually mainstream restaurants that have added vegan options to their menus in response to the growing demand.
Admittedly, most of these are not traditional Portuguese restaurants. Those places tend to serve meat and fish and not much else. If you want to taste veganized Portuguese cuisine, head to VeganEats Caffè, where you can try a delicious tofu à Brás (a plant-based version of the popular fish dish known as “bacalhau à Brás”).
But if you want to experience the most authentic Italian, Chinese or Indian restaurants in Lisbon, read on to find out where they are.
There’s even a secret gem in here that only the locals know about. It’s so hidden that there’s no sign on the door!
Travessa da Palmeira 44/46
Daily 12pm-3pm, 7pm-11pm
There are plenty of Indian restaurants in Lisbon, but it’s unusual to find one that serves southern Indian cuisine. Chutnify offers an alternative to the heavier, more typical northern Indian fare and focuses on healthy southern dishes like chaat, pani puri and dosas.
This the place to come to get a masala dosa that’s bigger than your head! They also offer a few more northern-style curry dishes, three of which are vegan. I recommend the bagare baingan.
I’m not sure if that’s just an alternate spelling of the Punjabi dish “baingan bharta”, or if it’s a completely different dish. The way it’s prepared at Chutnify, the eggplant is cut into chunks rather than mashed or finely chopped. In any case, it’s delicious!
Rua da Boavista 32
Monday to Friday 11am-6pm, Saturday (brunch only) 9:30am-4pm
Crave specializes in healthy bowls filled with whole grains, leafy greens and plenty of other yummy ingredients. The warm bowl called the “Earthy” is a solid choice filled with brown rice, kale, roasted cauliflower and brussels sprouts, sweet potato and pesto.
If those ingredients are not your cup of tea, you can also create your own bowl by mixing and matching from the list of base, standard and premium ingredients. Most of the base and standard ingredients are vegan, and the ones that aren’t are clearly marked.
It’s one of the best restaurants in Lisbon for light, healthy food that doesn’t compromise on taste. In addition to their signature bowls, Natural Crave also offer wraps, juices, smoothies, and healthy treats like energy balls. They even have a vegan apple pie!
Confusingly, the banana pancakes with vegan Nutella are unfortunately not vegan, as the pancakes themselves contain eggs. I have suggested that they change the recipe, so hopefully they will listen.
Rua Manuel Bernardes No. 5
Wednesday-Monday 7pm-11pm, closed Tuesdays
Lisbon’s first organic pizzeria, this gourmet pizza restaurant is located just off the lovely, quiet square called Praça das Flores. Pizzas can be topped with vegan cheese or with soft tofu.
Tofu sausage is also available as a topping, along with all the vegetables, mushroom, olives and other plant-based goodies that you would expect to find. The pizza base is extremely thin and crispy — much closer to Roman than Neapolitan-style.
If you’d like a gluten-free pizza base, just give them some advance notice and they can accommodate. Vegan dessert options include ice cream, almond cake and my personal favorite — a spicy chili chocolate mousse.
Prices are a bit higher here than in other pizzerias, but you’re paying for the atmosphere and high-quality ingredients.
Travessa do Abarracamento de Peniche No. 22 (and several other locations)
This popular local burger chain has five different veggie burgers on its menu, all of which are either already vegan or can be made vegan on request. My personal favorite is the Vegeta, although the Tempeh burger is close behind.
All burgers come with a generous helping of either regular fries or sweet potato fries. If you’re a sweet potato fan, it’s well worth paying the extra euro for these.
One thing to watch out for is the squirt of mayo that’s typically added to the side of the plate. Many if not all locations also have a vegan mayo with herbs, though, so ask for that instead.
This is vegan comfort food at its best, and at a very affordable price. The veggie burgers here are some of the yummiest in the city and, in my opinion, taste even better than the ones served at some vegan restaurants.
Rua da Misericórdia 114
Open daily, Monday to Thursday 12pm-3:30pm and 7pm-11:30pm; Friday to Sunday 12pm-3:30pm and 7pm-12am.
While In Bocca al Lupo does a great Roman-style pizza, Mercantina serves what is without a doubt the most authentic Neapolitan-style pizza in the city. The pizzas here are certified by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, which means they’re the real deal.
In order to earn this certification, restaurants must use nothing but flour, water, salt and yeast to make their pizza bases. So, you can rest assured that your pizza base at Mercantina is vegan — no hidden nasties like lard, cow’s milk or eggs here.
The focaccia with rosemary or with olive oil, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes is the perfect start to any meal here. Be sure to save room for the pizza, though! The thick, doughy Neapolitan-style base can be very filling.
The classic pizza marinara is the thing to order at Mercantina — this is the original pizza invented in Naples and is naturally vegan, as it’s topped with just tomato sauce, garlic, oregano, olive oil and basil. Alternatively, you could ask for a pizza vegetariana with no cheese.
And if for some reason you’re not in the mood for pizza (is that even possible?), you could opt for the “quinotto” with seasonal vegetables and toasted flax, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
Calçada Nova de São Francisco 2
Monday to Wednesday 12:30pm-3:30pm and 7pm-10pm; Thursday to Saturday 12:30pm-3:30pm and 7pm-11pm, closed Sundays.
UPDATE January 2019: Organi Chiado has removed fish and other aquatic animals from its menu, so it's now completely vegan. I have therefore moved the review over to my list of the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Lisbon.
Rua de São Bento 193
It really saddens me to be writing about TOO in this article. I had planned to include it in my list of the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Lisbon. But then, this fully vegan café partnered with For the Modern Foodies and decided to add chicken flesh to the menu. Bad move.
I hesitated over including it here at all, but the fact is that it’s still a very vegan-friendly eatery, and the location remains one of my favorite secret corners of Lisbon.
TOO is set inside the former home of Lisbon’s greatest fado singer, Amália Rodrigues, which now functions as a museum. There’s a lovely garden courtyard out the back where you can relax in the peace and quiet and have a chat with Chico — Amália’s pet parrot, who has now outlived her by 18 years and counting.
But if you can’t handle watching the staff fawn over one bird while serving up the dead body of another, head around the corner to Quintal de Santo Amaro, which serves similar café fare and remains fully vegan.
Rua dos Remédios 37
Tuesday to Friday 12:30pm-3pm and 6pm-11pm, Saturday 12:30pm-11pm, closed Sundays and Mondays.
Primo Basilico is authentic Italian fast food, transplanted to Lisbon. This is a typical Roman-style pizzeria al taglio, where the pizzas are baked in huge, rectangular pans and sold by the slice.
Whereas Mercantina is an authentic Neapolitan pizzeria and a great place to sit down and enjoy a pizza as part of a nice evening out, Primo Basilico is one of the best restaurants in Lisbon for a quick, cheap and filling bite to eat in the heart of Alfama.
At first glance, it appears to be takeaway only, but there’s actually a small dining room next door.
The pizzas on offer change daily, but you’ll usually find two vegan focaccia options as well as two different kinds of vegan pizza. The latter are topped with what I believe is a tofu-based cheesy spread. It looks and tastes more like cream cheese than mozzarella, but it’s quite good.
My favorite item at Primo Basilico, though, is their calzone. Stuffed with caponata and drizzled with a Balsamic vinegar reduction, just one of these little pockets of goodness is reason enough alone to make the trip here.
9. Sun Tan
Rua de São Bento 66 A
Monday to Wednesday 12pm-4:30pm, Thursday and Friday 12pm-4:30pm and 7pm-10pm, closed Saturdays and Sundays
This tiny soup bar in the up-and-coming São Bento neighborhood is a newcomer to the Lisbon food scene. They only do one thing, but they do it extremely well. Each day they offer two soups — one with meat and one vegetarian.
The vegetarian soup can always be made vegan on request; usually it’s just a case of leaving out the egg, or possibly swapping egg noodles for rice noodles. The offerings are inspired by different international cuisines, often with an Asian twist.
The soup is served in gigantic ceramic bowls with plenty of extra toppings that you can add if you like — some of my favorites are the crushed peanuts, fried onions and chili flakes.
The only seating is at the bar, so pull up a stool and slurp away!
10. Oriental Dumpling Restaurant (东方饺子馆)
Rua Marquês Ponte de Lima 34
OK, I’m going to let you in on a secret that only the Lisbon locals know about. It’s called Oriental Dumpling, although you may also see this place referred to as Dongfang Restaurant, which is the transliteration of its Chinese name. Then again, you’re unlikely to see the name written anywhere at all.
There’s no sign out front, because this is one of Lisbon’s “chinêses clandestinos”, or illegal Chinese restaurants. They’re hidden inside apartment buildings around Martim Moniz — the epicenter of the Chinese immigrant community.
The food in these places is typically prepared and served by immigrants recently arrived from China. Unsurprisingly, the dishes are much more authentic than what you find in the usual Chinese restaurant in the West.
Stepping into Oriental Dumpling is like stepping into the backstreets of Nanjing. If you’ve spent any time in China, flip to the vegetarian section of the menu and you’ll recognize common Chinese plant-based dishes such as spicy tofu (麻辣豆腐) and stir-fried eggplant, potato and bell peppers (地三鲜).
The real highlights, though, are their famous dumplings. These are the house specialty and the dish for which the restaurant is named.
You’ll know you’re at the right building if you look up and see a red Chinese lantern shining in an upstairs window. Press the buzzer that has Chinese characters scribbled next to it, and you’ll be ushered in to one of Lisbon’s secret gems.