On my 16 day trip abroad to Lisbon, Portugal, Athens, Greece and the Greek Islands of Mykonos and Santorini, I think I spent half of my time sightseeing and the other half searching for ‘vegan options’ on Yelp or Google. Sometimes my digging brought some treasures to the surface and sometimes not so much. I did find that I had to compromise my values as a vegan a decent amount of the time over there (mostly on the islands).
I believe in any city you have the chance to dig up some vegan gold. However as I said, the islands really posed the majority of the challenge. Of course there are classic Greek and Mediterranean dishes that are naturally vegan if they are prepared as such; such as stuffed tomatoes, eggplant, or peppers or grape leaves. If you’re anything like me and LOVE grape leaves, you’re seriously appeased when you come across a place that makes their grape leaves (aka vine leaves) without meat or other animal products. (Side note: Grape leaves are actually called Vine Leaves in Greece. They looked at me sideways when I tried to order ‘grape leaves’. Tell me: Where does that cross-cultural cuisine breakdown happen? It was also really funny when my hiking & yoga experience guide referred to the granola bars she bought us as ‘flapjacks’. lol.)
Banter aside, I came across some amaaaazing healthy, vegan + GF options over there. I searched far and wide and sough out some recommendations for these places, so I assure you they are absolutely worth the visit! (Luckily our hiking & yoga guide in Athens was vegan so we hit the jackpot there!)
There were some real vegan gems in Lisbon. It made my heart sing!
Eight- The Health Lounge in the Praça da Figueira, Lisbon
As someone who cherishes healthy, plant based, vegan friendly finds, Eight | The Health Lounge was one of those places you walk in and immediately feel that ‘at home’ vibe. In a city full of unfamiliarity, there is nothing better than feeling at home in a location and in your body.
That’s what I love about true vegan friendly/vegan places like this. The vibe is ‘vibey’ as fuck as I call it. High, feels- good- in-your cells kind of vibe. What made it even more ecstatic to find was the night before I had breakdown during dinner when an entire fish; eyeballs and all, was placed in front of me for dinner.
What I loved was how the menus showcased the food in big, bold, bright photos. It was certainly unique. It was also inviting to be able to read about the couple whom started the restaurant in the menus. The people were friendly and it was just an overall great experience with wonderful vegan food! There wasn’t any gluten free bread options to note, but I was sort of over it at that point 🙂
Tundra Panini with Whole Wheat Bread, Pesto, Smoked Tofu, Tomato, Spinach, Dried Tomato Cashew Cheese
Backyard Panini with Whole Wheat Bread, Avocado, Pesto, Zucchini, Spinach, Tomato
Ceri Berry Smoothie Bowl with Strawberry, Raspberry, Blueberry, Banana, Soy Milk
Solar Infusion Smoothie with Orange, Mango, Banana, Coconut Milk
Princesa do Castelo in the Alfalma District, Lisbon
Yet another vegan (and this time gluten/allergen free!) place that we searched far and wide for, and boy am I glad that we did. It was a cozy and quaint hidden gem that made my cells dance when we arrived. It is small with an exotic feel and has a rotating menu with a minimal selection (which I really enjoy– the less options the better sometimes!) The castle in Lisbon – Castelo de Sao Jorge is closely located to this spot; hence the name Princesa do Castelo (Princess of the Castle).
I didn’t record what we ate that day, but it was some form of gluten free/vegan noodle with a butternut squash curry and then rice with a chickpea curry of some sorts. Obviously my retroactive description does not do it justice, but hopefully the pictures do! You can learn more about Princesa do Catelo here.
Nicolau Lisboa in the Heart of Old Lisbon
We were looking for something with vegan options to grab before our flight out of Lisbon to Athens and came across this hip places called Nicolau Lisboa. Nicolau is not completely vegan, but is quite vegan friendly, has gluten free options, and offers an excellent vibe. It boasts some of the best brunch in Lisbon. PLUS they were the first place I found in Lisbon that offered Matcha Lattes, which was a huge win and pleasant surprise. Love them.
We enjoyed the vegan pancakes with oat, banana, and maple syrup, the Acai Bowl with fresh fruit and homemade granola, and my man got the Eggs Benedict.