A Vegan Guide to Porto

As it was my boyfriend’s birthday last month, I decided to book us a three night trip to Porto, Portugal as a surprise. While I’ve been to Portugal a couple of times, this was his first time in the country – and he loved it

Porto had been recommended to me a couple of times, and I’m so so glad we finally decided to check it out. I always say this after a holiday, but it’s since become one of my favourite European cities.

And, as a vegan foodie, it was entirely to my benefit that Porto is very vegan friendly. From vegan buffets to a full vegan bar, the city is full of great options everywhere you turn. I didn’t go hungry once!

Like with most cities, I checked Happy Cow before I went for a few recommendations. Some of these were great, however my favourites were the ones we simply stumbled upon. Here were six of my favourite places:

Zeniths

Why Bristol doesn’t have an all-day brunch restaurant I’ll never know. I love brunch, and Zeniths certainly didn’t disappoint with its extensive menu of all-day breakfast foods and cocktails. It’s the perfect place to try if you’re also travelling with non-vegans as they have a wide range of options for omnis too. We ended up going twice, and both times I opted for sweet potato “toast” (thin strips of sweet potato, flavoured and grilled) topped with marinated tofu and plenty of avocado.

The restaurant itself is really fun, with two floors of seating and a lively playlist you can even follow on Spotify. The staff were all fantastic and really knew their stuff, with helpful recommendations for food and so on.

The only things to note here are that:

  • Zeniths is cash only, so don’t be caught out without enough money.
  • It’s always super busy so be aware that you may have a short wait for a table. We only waited a maximum of 20 minutes and it was really worth it for the food.
Sweet potato “toast”, avo, tofu and field mushrooms ft. Aperol Spritz

Black Mamba

Black Mamba is the first restaurant we tried and I’m a little gutted we didn’t get to go twice. It’s an all vegan burger and record shop with indoor and outdoor seating and a great menu. I initially wanted the BURGER-DOOM (mushrooms and “chicken”), but as they’d run out I opted for the BURGER-CORE (chickpeas and “chicken”). I got it with chips and a peach iced tea and enjoyed every bite.

The restaurant itself is very cool, although as it’s dark inside you may want to grab an outdoor table to enjoy the Portuguese sun. It also sells records and cool t-shirts, so my omni boyfriend was more than happy to browse while I got excited by the menu. I didn’t try any of their cakes, but they had a great looking selection by the bar.

The BURGER-CORE with the world’s best wedges

DUH Donuts

Who doesn’t love a donut? Shortly after arriving in Porto, and fresh out of Black Mamba, my boyfriend and I were strolling through the streets when I saw a sign for vegan donuts. Obviously we had to try some, so we bought two and shared them next to the pretty fountain outside the shop. We opted for one with orange icing and one for peanut butter icing, and for both of those only paid about 3 Euros altogether.

The donuts themselves were great (of course) and the stall itself was really sweet. Tucked away in a little alley, it’s right next to a very cool vintage shop my boyfriend and I loved looking in. A must visit for all donut lovers!

Orange glaze and peanut butter glaze – yummm

Da Terra

When I first read about Da Terra’s all veggie buffet, I knew I had to drag my boyfriend along as soon as possible – and I’m so, so glad I did. For less than 10 Euros, you can eat as many plates of delicious vegan and vegetarian food as you like, with a great selection of vegan cakes and drinks available at an additional price.

While I love vegan junk food, it was refreshing to have a buffet lunch centred around fresh, plant-based items. There were cous cous dishes, salads, soups, trays of well seasoned tofu, olive breads, tapenade, lettuce tacos, platters of fruit, shredded beetroot and much more. I think I had about three full plates before admitting defeat, and finished my lunch with a vegan pastel de nata.

The food here was great value for money and everything I tried was delicious, making this one of my favourite veggie spots in Porto. It’s also just a very short walk from the waterfront, so one day my boyfriend and I grabbed a tart to go and sat in the sunshine with our legs dangling over the water. Da Terra got top marks from me!

All the food ๐Ÿ˜

Apuro Bar

When I first read about Apuro, a totally vegan bar, I was so excited. After all, how many places can you go where you’re sure every beer and bottle of wine is cruelty free? We stopped by for a drink on our last night in Porto, and thought the entire premise was really cool. It was very quiet and didn’t have the same kind of vibe as some of the other bars we passed, but I think that’s because it was a little further out of the centre and perhaps not as popular.

I think we’d have had a better experience if we’d have gone during the day, as I’d like to have tried out the bar snacks. The menu looked pretty cool and offered everything you’d want from a bar, including a range of tapas dishes, wraps, sandwiches and toasties. If I ever go back to Porto (which I’m certain I will), I think I’d be inclined to come here during the day.

Em Carne Viva

For some reason, Em Carne Viva didn’t take my fancy when I was doing my initial research into Porto’s veggie food scene. However, our wonderful hotel host (we stayed at the House of Pandora) recommended it and booked us a table for two. I ended up having one of the best pasta dishes I’ve ever had, and loved everything about the restaurant. It’s very cosy with soft lighting and charming white decor, with lovely staff and a great wine selection – a great place for an intimate date or family celebration.

It’s a vegetarian restaurant but there were plenty of vegan options, and I ended up opting for the seaweed pasta. I’ve never been a fan of seafood but thankfully this didn’t taste fishy at all. The pasta noodles were coated in a delicious seaweed sauce with a couple of crunchy biscuits resembling coral. It was nice to try something completely different and, in all honesty, I was pretty sad when I finished the dish. We followed dinner by sharing an amazing chocolate pudding topped with mango sorbet – one of those desserts you end up fighting over with your spoons. The food was a bit more expensive than other restaurants we ate at, but the standard and service were noticeably higher. If you get a chance to eat at Em Carne Viva, I’d certainly recommend doing so.

“Sea” pasta with “coral” biscuits

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