As a resident of Lisbon, I guess I’m not supposed to like Porto. There’s a big rivalry between the two cities, which seems to have more to do with soccer than anything else. But the truth is, I love Porto.
It’s a beautiful city full of azulejos, street art, sweeping vistas and … vegan food! Yes, that’s right. Despite the prevalence of animal products in Portuguese cuisine, Porto has become a great destination for vegan travel.
While I’d visited Porto several times before, I recently spent a couple of weeks there to really get to know the city better and to taste all the different vegan options on offer.
After all that (ahem) research under my belt, here’s my guide to vegan dining in Porto, starting with the best of the fully vegan Porto restaurants.
Vegan Restaurants in Porto
This local chain of vegan restaurants got its start here in Porto and has since expanded to Lisbon. DaTerra began as a vegetarian restaurant but has now gone fully vegan.
All its locations offer a wonderful buffet with a good range of hot and cold dishes. Not included in the buffet, but definitely worth splurging on, are the delicious desserts, including banoffee pie and vegan pastéis de nata (Portuguese egg tarts).
The location in the Bom Sucesso market is smaller than the more central one at Rua Mouzinho da Silveira, and the prices are a little cheaper. That one doesn’t carry the pastéis de nata, but you get the experience of eating in a local food market that only the locals know about.
Lupin Restaurante Vegetariano
This is another vegan Porto restaurant that started out as vegetarian but is now fully vegan. It’s one of the oldest veg restaurants in the city and has earned quite a reputation over the years.
Lupin is a classy place and is perfect for a date night. The prices are perhaps slightly higher than average for Porto, at between 8 and 11 euros for a main dish.
This is to be expected, though, given the high quality of the ingredients, which are all organic and locally sourced. Gluten-free and raw options are also available.
The place is run by a friendly vegan couple who serve up creative, healthy dishes. The menu includes a few veganized Portuguese classics such as francesinha and pastel de nata, in addition to more innovative offerings.
Fun fact: Lupin is named after a yellow legume that is commonly eaten as a bar snack in Portugal, where it’s known as a tremoço. Lupins are now being used as a meat substitute in some innovative plant-based products
Apuro Vegan Bar
A relative newcomer on the vegan Porto scene, Apuro has a pleasant atmosphere and is a good place to go for a drink. In addition to beer, wine and spirits, they also serve simple pub food such as sandwiches and burgers. The resident cat can often be seen lounging around the cushions.
On my first visit I ordered the fries after I heard the couple at the next table rave about them, but to be honest I didn’t think they were anything special. Still, my sandwich was good enough that it had me coming back again later to try one of their burgers.
Black Mamba Porto Burgers and Records
This is a long-standing favorite and was one of the first fully vegan restaurants to open in Porto. Except that it’s not a restaurant.
As the staff go out of their way to point out, Black Mamba is a record store that also happens to sell vegan burgers. It does seem that most of their business comes from the burger side of things, but if they want to call themselves a record store that’s fine by me.
Just let it be known for the record that they also make very good vegan burgers.
When Black Mamba first opened it was a vegan island surrounded by bacalhao and other standard Portuguese fare. Now, though, a couple of other vegan joints have popped up in the same neighborhood.
One of these is O Burrito, an American-run Tex-Mex place that serves a variety of burritos, including both hot and cold ones. Quesadillas and other Mexican favorites are also on the menu.
Their prices are extremely reasonable and attract a young, international mix of students and tourists. The interior is also quite funky, although the low lighting is not very conducive to food photography.
I didn’t manage to snap a decent pic of my burrito, so above you can see one from their Instagram account instead.
Duh Vegan Donuts
First, it was vegan burgers, then came the vegan burritos, and now vegan doughnuts, all within a one-minute walk of each other! This fully vegan doughnut stand offers two or three flavors of doughnuts, which change each week.
I opted for a cinnamon-flavored doughnut topped with goji berries. It was pretty good, though not mind-blowing. But the woman behind the counter was very friendly, and the doughnut was good enough that I did come back to try a different flavor during my stay in Porto.
Árvore do Mundo
This very popular vegan restaurant is open for lunch Wednesday to Saturday and dinner on Fridays and Saturdays. The three-course daily lunch special offers the best value and changes every day.
When I visited, it was a vegan version of a popular local dish called tripas à moda do Porto. And yes, “tripas” does mean “tripe”, but this plant-based version was made with mushrooms. The colorful interior is very cozy and welcoming.
Just beware that it’s a small place and fills up quickly. The owner is not a trained chef but is passionate about cooking and about spreading the vegan message. Expect to find a relaxed atmosphere with fun music and staff ready for a sing-along.
Vegana by Tentugal
This small café is located inside a fully vegan shop. I ordered the burger after spying someone at the next table eating it, and I was not disappointed.
It was so big I could barely fit it in my mouth! The flavor was great too, and the prices very reasonable.
Be sure to have a look around the shop while you’re here. They sell vegan products that I haven’t come across anywhere elsewhere in Portugal, such as vegan mac’n’cheese.
O Porto dos Gatos
My visit to O Porto dos Gatos was my first experience at a cat café, and I was very impressed with both the food and the way the cats are treated. I’m aware that not all cat cafés are ethical, but I have no doubt that the owners of O Porto dos Gatos have the cats’ best interests at heart.
The area where the cats hang out is separate from the dining area, and anyone who enters the cats’ domain has to agree to a whole list of rules.
These rules include no flash photography, no making loud noises or sudden movements, and no picking up the cats. If they decide to come to you, that’s fine, but you have to let them make the first move.
As for the food, everything I tasted was delicious! The daily lunch special is great value at about eight euros. Watercolor paintings of cats hang on the walls, to continue with the theme.
Vegetarian Restaurants in Porto
Casa da Horta
This is technically not a restaurant, but rather a cultural association run by volunteers from all over Europe. It has kind of an underground cave-like setting, which is cozier than it sounds. You won’t get phone reception down here, but there’s free WiFi.
Casa da Horta is listed as vegetarian on HappyCow, but everything is vegan apart from a few drinks that are made with honey. They offer lots of different kinds of herbal teas, many of which are made from herbs collected by the volunteers.
As for the food, there’s just one dish served daily for lunch and dinner, which always changes, and they also offer cakes and sandwiches outside of mealtimes. Prices are extremely affordable; a soup, main dish and drink cost just 5.50 euros.
The quality of the food was good when I visited, but I’ve heard it can vary, since the kitchen staff are not professionals. Various events take place here, such as language exchanges and movie nights.
Check their website for the current calendar of activities, or contact them at the following email address: email@example.com.
Rés da Rua
Rés da Rua is another cultural association that serves meals. Whereas Casa da Horta feels like a café, when you arrive at Rés da Rua you’ll think you’re in the wrong place. Ring the bell anyway, and someone will let you in, provided you’re there at the right time.
Communal dinners are served on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights from 7 to 11pm. From the outside it looks like a wealthy residence, but inside it has a very progressive, left-wing hippy kind of atmosphere.
Meals are donation-based; you pay what you want. You also serve yourself from a communal pot and wash your own dishes afterward.
The night I visited, most of the other people were locals and seemed to know each other already. As for the food, it was a very basic but healthy rice and vegetable dish.
I’ve seen photos of other meals here that looked tastier, though, so I guess it’s hit or miss. Come for the experience rather than the food. Check their Facebook page for the latest updates.
Cultura dos Sabores
At this all-you-can-eat buffet, about 90 percent of the food on offer is vegan, and the rest is lacto-ovo vegetarian. While the dishes are pretty good, if I wanted a buffet meal I would probably choose DaTerra over this place.
For me, the main draw of Cultura dos Sabores is the chance to sit in a swing while eating your dinner. So much fun!
Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Porto
With so many full vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Porto now, you might be tempted to limit yourself to just those. But you’d be missing out on so many great vegan dishes served up at omni restaurants!
Many of these restaurants have changed their menu to make it more vegan-friendly thanks to efforts by Aliança Animal, a local animal rights organization in Porto. Kudos to these places for adding vegan options to their menus!
The letters BB&L stand for Burger, Beef and Lobster, so you wouldn’t expect this place to have much for vegans. And yet, they do have several marked vegan options, including a mushroom burger and a tofu and spinach burger.
I was in a healthy mood, so I chose the tofu and spinach burger, which did satisfy my craving for a healthy yet hearty burger. As a warning, the spinach does give the patty a bright green color. This burger might taste a little too healthy, if it weren’t for the slice of vegan cheese.
The burgers are served with salad and homemade potato chips. Staff are friendly and even come around with a basket for you to choose a quote from. You know, the type of quote or saying that you would find inside a fortune cookie. This was mine:
“You won’t always get what you want, but as long as you are helping others you will find the resources you need”. -- Chico Xavier
Francesinhas al Forno da Baixa
This place specializes in francesinhas, Porto’s most famous local dish. If you’re not familiar with the francesinha, it’s a sandwich filled with lots of different types of meat and smothered in a beer and tomato sauce. Here, they offer four different vegan versions of a francesinha. You can order yours made with tofu, seitan, tempeh or curry.
But the francesinhas aren’t the only vegan items on the menu. In fact, a whole page of the menu is devoted to vegan dishes and includes starters, hot dogs, steaks and desserts.
Since I had already tried their francesinha on a previous visit, this time I ordered the bife malandro. It’s a type of seitan steak that comes smothered in francesinha sauce and surrounded by French fries. Basically, it’s like a francesinha without the bread.
If you’re a health-conscious eater this is probably not for you, but it’s a good place to come for veganized traditional Porto cuisine. Read the front of the menu to brush up on your local Porto slang.
This local café is conveniently located if you are arriving at or departing from the Campanhã train station in Porto. While they’re most famous for their vegan sweets and pastries, they also have a whole page of the menu devoted to vegan savory dishes.
And some of these are traditional Portuguese dishes that are not often available in vegan versions. For example, pataniscas are fritters normally made with codfish, but here they are made with vegetables instead.
Again, it’s not one for healthy eaters, but this fried, fatty food is very typical of authentic Portuguese fare. For something a bit healthier, try the couscous, risotto or pasta with vegetables.
And don’t leave without dessert! Helena the owner has honed her skills making eggless, dairy-free versions of traditional Portuguese pastries, such as cavacas de Resende and pão de Deus. In contrast to the pataniscas, these pastries are more on the healthy side and are not overly sweet.
You’re unlikely to find vegan versions of these sweets anywhere else in Portugal, so don’t miss this chance!
Café do Comércio
This cozy, vegan-friendly café is located in the very central Ribeira district. Harry Potter fans, take note that it’s just a two-minute walk from the Escovaria de Belomonte broom shop.
If you’re looking for breakfast or brunch, this is a great choice. Vegan options include pancakes, granola with yogurt, toasted sandwiches and a variety of cakes.
The two young women who run the place are very friendly, and the café is nicely decorated and conveniently located for sightseeing.
This very local eatery serves what is generally considered by Porto locals to be the best vegan francesinha in the whole city. If the weather is nice, you can sit outside on the terrace in the back.
The francesinha is certainly good if you’re into lots of plant-based meats, but I have to admit that francesinhas in general are not really my cup of tea.
But it’s something that you kind of have to try at least once when you’re in Porto, and this is a great place to do it. The sauce is yummy, and they will bring more of it if you ask so you can dip your fries in it.
Sabores do Sebouh
This Middle Eastern restaurant is run by a Syrian chef and his Portuguese wife. There are plenty of vegan options among the starters and mains, and there’s even a vegan dessert in the form of a semolina cake.
Plant-based starters include samosas, falafel, hummus and muhammara. As for mains, I recommend the mujadara, which is a hot dish of lentils, rice, fried onions and salad. You could also try killis ichi -- a warm salad of bulghur wheat, onion, tomato, parsley and olive oil.
The owner is very friendly and talkative, and the food is delicious and authentic.
This casual eatery serves gua bao, a type of street food that is popular in Taiwan and in the Fujian province of China. A gua bao is a steamed bun that’s sliced in half and stuffed with a filling, traditionally pork.
Here, though, there are two vegan bao options -- the tofu bao and the jackfruit bao. The tofu is quite sweet and is probably my favorite of the two.
Mandioca chips with Cajun spices were a bit of a disappointment, as they turned out to be potato chips (“crisps” in British English) rather than French fries. This is a neverending translation problem in Portugal, as the Portuguese language makes no distinction between the two.
In any case, Bao’s is a fun place to try something new if and different you’re tired of all the francesinhas in Porto.
Duas de Letra
And finally, there’s Duas de Letra. I’m including this place more for the atmosphere and location than the food, since I visited between mealtimes, when options were limited.
If you come during lunch or dinner hours, they offer an economical daily menu that always includes a vegetarian/vegan option. Outside of mealtimes, they have soups, vegan burgers and toast with mushrooms or other toppings.
Just be clear about what you do and don’t eat, and they are happy to accommodate. You have the choice of sitting at the outdoor terrace in the back or in the upstairs room with views over the Jardim de São Lázaro park. Both are very pleasant.
Map of Vegan Porto
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