Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Smooth Getaway Postcard From Lisbon Portugal

Known widely for its love of meat and especially fish, Lisbon is not exactly a dream destination for the vegetarian or vegan traveler. Despite that, the city is absolutely wonderful, with agreeable weather, inspiring architecture, and lovely people. If you know where to go, Lisbon can actually be quite a paradise for vegan taste buds. Without claiming to be the ultimate guide to vegetarian dining in Portugal's capital, let me provide some useful information.

Vegetarian dishes can be difficult to find outside the city. So, if you're in a non-vegetarian restaurant, be mindful when ordering. Many of the dishes comprised of veggies are cooked with fish or chicken stock and most pastries traditionally contain lard. Still, if you tell the waiters you’re vegetarian, they'll usually go out of their way to recommend something suitable. The majority don’t speak English, so bring your dictionary with you or memorize some simple phrases. "Sao vegan/ vegetariano(a)." – I am vegan/ vegetarian. "Não como carne, galinha nem peixe." – I don’t eat meat, poultry or fish. "Não como manteiga, queijo, ovos e mel." – I don’t eat butter, cheese, eggs or honey.

In my opinion, the best vegetarian restaurant in Lisbon is Terra, where you can catch a glimpse of traditional Portuguese cuisine and taste rich Mediterranean flavour. Set in a charming 18th-century building with a private garden near Jardim do Príncipe Real, you can eat inside the cosy restaurant or al fresco in the shadow of ancient trees, sometimes with live music. For €8, you can enjoy a buffet with something for everyone: caldeirada (vegetable stew), feijoada de batata doce (stew of beans with sweet potatoes), arroz de tomate e pimentos (rice with tomatoes and peppers), salads inspired by cultures around the world, spicy curry, tempting tempura, burritos and vebabs. 

They also offer a variety of drinks including natural juices, exotic cocktails, teas, infusions, wine, whisky, coffee, and even  Brazilian caipirinha. If that doesn’t grab you, wait till you see the mouth-watering desserts: chocolate brownies, ice cream, arroz doce conventual (sweet rice with cinnamon) or classic tiramisu. I ordered the sweet apple crumble and must say it was absolutely delicious. Definitely recommend it!

Another lovely place in the heart of the city is Jardim das Cerejas, with seating for at least 30 people. The extensive buffet is also high quality and almost entirely vegan with a good selection of hot dishes (such as lasagne and tofu casserole) plus numerous cold sides, snacks, dips and soups. A bottle of house wine is about €7 and the buffet is around €10.

If you are out and about with your bike, I really encourage you to go to Velocite Café. It's the only spot in Lisbon with a café and bike shop concept. Although not as popular as in other European cities, bikes are fighting their way through the crowds and up the steep hills of Lisbon, reducing noise, pollution and unburned calories.

So, park your bike at Velocite Café and get some fuel for the rest of your ride. (Bikers get discounts!) They have great snacks (an absolutely delicious veggie burger) and drinks, plus they sell spare parts for your bike. You can also pick up some tips from local riders. While you’re there, you may want to visit the Gulbenkian Museum only 5 minutes away. Feast your eyes on provocative art and stunning views of the museum gardens. The fee is €10, but well worth it with pieces and collections from ancient Egypt to Lallique accessories.

If staying with friends or couchsurfing, my advice would be to make your own food plus snacks for road trips. The incredible local fruits and vegetables are overwhelming and really cheap too. You can find these at any supermarket, but especially the Celeiro Dieta (a natural foods chain with lunch-time dining) or Miosotis (an organic food shop in the city centre with lots of fresh produce).

All in all, Lisbon offers as many vegetarian options as any other big city. So, don’t cross it off your travel list just because of your diet. Trust me: you will miss a lot. There is no better feeling than lying down by the water with friends and savoring the stunning views of this magnificent city. Relax and enjoy your stay.

Andreea Ciucan is a vegan traveler, fashion marketer, and art lover. She began writing (mostly poetry) when she was five. This has slowly turned into a passion she shares with the world.

6 comments:

  1. not know that information of that lisbon was know for her like the meet.
    I would like to know lisbon for its people friendly but also because I love the cities where the people can ride a bike is the maximum.
    I like this postcard because I discovered the culture of lisbon.

    amayrani

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  2. Angelica Martinez MartinezMarch 14, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    I would like to go on a trip to Portugal, to prove your food especially the fish, also for their architecture, people and especially the weather is so nice.

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    1. I agree, Lisbon is a great city that has many to offer! Thank you for your comment :)

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  3. Thanks for the recommendations, Andreea!

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    1. I am really glad you liked them, William and thank you for the comment!

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