Vegan food guide to Porto
Portugal might not be the most vegetarian friendly country in the world. So what will we find up there?
It actually can be very frustrating to find plant based foods in this wonderful country, specially in the north, where meat dishes are present in every restaurant as the only thing to eat.
But Porto was a surprise! There are in fact, incredible vegetarian and vegan restaurants and even vegan options within regular restaurants.
VEGAN AND VEGETARIAN GUIDE TO PORTO
I started my day, everyday, with a delicious breakfast that consisted of homemade Humus, fresh bread, juice, tomatoes with olive oil. My hosts at the Porta Azul guest house, made sure they accommodated me and told me they’re more than happy to welcome vegans and vegetarians in their restored mansion, now turned into a cozy guest house.
So if you’re up to an exquisite experience (how many times do we have the chance to stay at a 150 year old mansion?) and a vegan breakfast, you know where to stay.
AT EVERY RESTAURANT AROUND TOWN
Wherever you go within Portugal, you’ll find that 90% of our soups are vegan. These are super cheap (they cost between 1.15€ – 1.25€), delicious, home made and easy to find option.
We Portuguese are very proud of our soups, and I have to confess I couldn’t live without them!
You can find them at any restaurant and café. Just ask for a “sopa de legumes” and you’ll be fine. Make sure you avoid “caldo verde” and “sopa da pedra” which are the only soups which usually have meat in them.
I loved this place. An alternative social and cultural association, with a beautiful back yard and a super laid back and friendly vibe. If you come here for a vegan meal (and you should!!) you will feel at home and will be welcomed with a smile.
Here, food is prepared with love and everybody follows the philosophy of no waste. You pay for the meal and serve yourself. You can repeat if you want and you might, because the food is delicious!
The girls who were cooking lunch, were so friendly, I stayed in for a chat after food. I totally recommend Espaço compasso and if I lived in Porto, I would come here often for food and a couple of new friends.
What an incredible restaurant, serving 90% vegan food! This restaurant serves buffet style food. The food is delicious, nutritious and varied.
Everything I tasted was to die for and I ended up leaving with a full belly.
I’ve had some vegan sushi, which I didn’t like in other places, but here was very well done. A soup, baked potatoes, brown rice, a mix of veggies and a bean salad.
Here you can eat by the window and seat at the swings while you enjoy your meal and live going by. Not the cheapest place in town, but certainly a must, for every vegetarian and vegan passing by!
THE FAMOUS FRANCESINHA
As embarrassing as this might be, I didn’t really know what a Francesinha was. I had a vague idea it was a dish from Porto which had nothing but tons of saturated fat, meat and cheese all over.
Yes, I wasn’t wrong. The Francesinha is a staple food from Porto, and no wonder I knew very little about it!
Funny thing is that I found a few places that offer a vegetarian Francesinha, that can be veganized, avoiding the cheese on top. My friend from Porto – Duarte who was showing me the best Oporto locations – laughed and told me, it was almost offensive to call that “tofu bread” a Francesinha.
I agree that it is in fact, very different from a real Francesinha, but you get the point. I suggest you try one, just for the fun of it. The steak of my francesinha was replaced by tofu, in between 2 slices of white bread and a sort of tomato sauce.
The tofu had no flavor and I wouldn’t go for a second one, but I’m happy to finally try a mutation of our famous Francesinha.
Cris bar actually offers a whole “meat free” “vegetarian menu”. This is a regular restaurant and I’m glad they understand we vegans and vegetarians eat more than carrots.