What better way to spend time with your gorgeous friends than a two night, sunny city break? A quick search on Happy Cow for Lisbon, Portugal revealed an impressive number of veggie and three fully vegan restaurants. I was excited before the plane wheels even left the tarmac! The excitement was justified as Stansted airport even do vegan hot dogs! Unfortunately it was 7am and I’d already had cake for breakfast, so I couldn’t bring myself to get one.
As we were starvin’ marvin’ by the time we arrived, proximity was the priority for our first lunch stop. The omnivorous restaurant we grace with our presence was able to provide me with tasty cooked veg and rice. However, with no protein I was hungry within half an hour (it ain’t called Chrissie’s Greedy Gob for nothing!). Still, at least they knew what a vegan was!
But that evening – to the veggie restaurant! Terra Restaurante Natural provided a colourful and healthy looking all you can eat buffet consisting of soup, pasta, rice, stews and salads. Some non-vegan items were pointed out to be my the waiter and it was all topped off with some delicious vegan wine! What a treat! The outdoor seating area had a magical jungle feel with loads of lit up trees and plants surrounding the tables.
Not wanting to miss an opportunity to eat and drink, we found a beautiful hill top cafe with an amazing view where freshly squeezed lemon juice (with plenty of sugar!) provided a zingy afternoon lift and chips filled the snack sized hole until dinner!
That evening, it was my chance to revel in fully vegan nosh! Travelling with three vegetarians and one meat eater (who isn’t precious about her meat intake) meant that all were more than happy to stuff their faces with vegan food too! We were lucky enough to pick a weekend where locals were kicking off celebrations for the festival of Saint Antonio. Streets were lined with beautiful decorations and the small streets leading to our next feasting destination were colourful and buzzing!
The Food Temple was the gem of our holiday. There was near heartbreak when it became apparent that the quaint little restaurant was fully booked. However, we were save by the the set of steps outside, which provided us with a interesting but romantic setting. We were also honored with the presence of a beautiful black cat! The set four course meal started with a spicy coconut milk soup with an extremely unique flavour, dressed with oil and roasted seeds.
The second course of tapas dishes involve okra in a spicy tomato sauce, wild rice and a crushed pea and mint dish. All from the small but colourful open kitchen.
The main course was a wonderfully creamy bean curry with lotus root and crunchy onion topping. Such rich and interesting flavours had my friends oohing and ahing the whole way through. It brought a tear to my eye!
Fulfilling my duty as a good vegan, I indulged in the chocolate and cherry brownie with ice cream; Just enough to send me into a cosy food coma by the time we got back to our appartment.
Lisbon is a friendly and historic city which needs a few more days of exploration. Although I know there are other veggie and vegan places to explore, it would be difficult not to go back and sample the exquisite food which the Food Temple has to offer. If you visit Lisbon, make sure you book yourself a table so you do not risk missing out!