Thursday, April 12, 2012

Eating in Protugal

I don't speak the language. Add to that that the general assumption in the guide books is that this is not a veggie friendly country, and well, you will understand that I was fully prepared to live on bread alone.
(NOT a bad thing in my book, BTW).
I am here to tell you that there are a good number of veggie and veggie friendly restaurants.
In Lisbon, we dinned at Terra on the first day. Their website is awesome too. Lisbon is a hilly city, and although it looked to be a short walk from the city center, there were lots of stairs and step climbs. All the better to get one ready to chow down!
It's buffet with indoor and outdoor seating. It was a warm and star studded night, and we had some really great food while seated on the patio. Attentive and friendly staff rounds out this lovely place. 
Porto in the north is a very different vibe from Lisbon. We had a very nice dinner at Nakite. We were early, by Portuguese standarts, but the food was very good, and the chef quite talented.
Let's skip over the sandwiches and the steamed vegetable plats that made up the rest of the trip and jump straight to our last true veggie meal, and what a winner it was.
Our last full day was in Sintra. Full of windy narrow roads, mansions and above all castles, this place is amazingly beautiful.
We stopped for lunch at Almaca Restaurante Vegetariano. We arrived minutes before closing, but the gracious and warm folks behind the counter assured us it was all right. We got to see and understand what the lunch plates were, placed our order, and sat down to soak in the cool mellow vibe of this place.

First, there was a surprise : garlic bread. Bursting with loads of fresh garlic on toasted whole meal bread, it was really good.
Then came the entrees. There was SO much food, we could have shared.
The partner had the mini potato pies, and there was a side of grain, salad and cooked vegetable. I had a bit, it was wonderful.
I had the tofu on a bed of cooked red cabbage and a side of roasted potatoes.
No kidding, this was the best tofu ever. There were capers and the taste was out of this world good.
We chatted some with the person who turned out to be the owner, and she was so happy we found her restaurant on Happycow!
The restaurant itself is very cute, open, and well appointed.
This meal and experience have to be the best ever, or at least top three, vegetarian dinning I've ever had.
As if there was not enough reason to go visit Sintra, now there is one more.
When in Portugal, do not miss eating here!

We did visit the health food store, which has a number of outlets throughout the country, Celeiro Dieta. There was a fair number of prepared yummy looking food. The branch in Lisbon's city center has a restaurant, but we did not make it there, as they are lunch only.

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