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The Top 20 Vegan Restaurants Making Waves in Lisbon

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Not long ago, a vegan visiting Lisbon would have faced endless plates of fish, meat and cheese. But oh how times change. In recent years, Portugal‘s capital by the sea has undergone a vegan renaissance, welcoming herbivores with open arms.

The number of vegan-friendly restaurants in Lisbon has skyrocketed nearly 300% in the last 5 years alone, from just 25 purely plant-based establishments in 2017 to over 90 today, based on listings on HappyCow. Global influences, expanding appetites for plant-based fare and culinary innovation have fueled this flourishing vegan scene. Once impossible to find, veggie burgers, oat milk lattes and even vegan natas custard tarts have now firmly taken root in this former bastion of meat and seafood.

But with new vegan restaurants in Lisbon seeming to open every week, deciding where to get your plant-based fix can be a challenge. I‘m here to help, using data to pinpoint Lisbon‘s top vegan eateries so your tastebuds can focus on the food, not the hunting. After scouring Google Maps reviews to identify the highest rated vegan restaurants in town, it was time to dig in. From Indian buffets to gourmet tasting menus, here are my picks for Lisbon‘s 20 top destinations for plant-perfect plates, according to the data. Bom apetite!

Picking the Cream of Lisbon‘s Vegan Crop

To find the best of the best vegan restaurants in Lisbon, I turned to Google Maps – specifically the wisdom of the crowd provided in user reviews. I performed a search for "vegan restaurant Lisbon" and filtered to show only the highest rated establishments with 4.5+ stars.

This surfaced about 50 restaurants. I then utilized a handy web data extraction tool to pull key details from each listing into a spreadsheet, including name, website, address, price range, photos, number of reviews and average rating.

After a bit of sorting and cleaning, I had a robust data set on Lisbon‘s top vegan eateries. Now it was time to delve into the listings and start exploring these herbivorous havens.

Of course, Google Maps reviews aren‘t a perfect measure. New or under the radar restaurants may be overlooked. But combining big data insights with local expertise can surface some gems, as you‘ll see.

Lisbon‘s Top Rated Vegan Restaurants

1. AO26 – Vegan Food Project

Perched on the edge of Lisbon‘s happening Bairro Alto neighborhood, AO26 clinches the title of #1 vegan restaurant in Lisbon according to the data, with a stellar 5 star average across over 350 Google reviews.

The cozy, minimalist space opened in 2019, helmed by Chef António Galapito, who brings serious vegan chops to the kitchen. AO26‘s menu centers around seasonal tasting menus, changing monthly to highlight the freshest produce. During my visit last spring, an immaculate plates of blood orange gazpacho shooters and mole-smothered jackfruit carnitas tacos emerged from the kitchen, demonstrating Chef Galapito‘s knack for bold flavors.

Particularly outstanding was the carrot cake, which had my non-vegan dining companion questioning whether it really contained no eggs or dairy. Other reviewers rave about the beet Wellington and chocolate mousse. Beyond the food, the service is warm and helpful in navigating the menu. With tastings starting around €50, AO26 offers tremendous value given the quality and artistry compared to other high-end tasting menus in the city. Reserve ahead though, as seats book out quickly.

[Insert images of dishes from AO26]

2. The Food Temple

With nearly perfect scores on Google Maps across 300+ reviews, the Food Temple ranks as Lisbon‘s #2 top vegan restaurant. This serene garden oasis in the city‘s Castelo district serves sublime vegetarian and vegan Indian fare with a Portuguese twist.

Dishes like chickpea curry, dal and vegetable samosa conjure the exotic spices of Goa, once a Portuguese colony. Fresh chutneys and handmade chapati round out the meals. The Food Temple also impresses with its friendly service and relaxing outdoor seating beneath swaying palms. Stop by for Sunday brunch and sample their extensive vegan and gluten-free buffet spread.

Since opening in 2016, The Food Temple has expanded to 3 locations throughout Lisbon, though the original Castelo outpost remains my personal favorite. More than just a restaurant, owners Carmo and Sara also offer vegan cooking classes held right in their home kitchens.

"We want to spread the joy of simple, wholesome plant-based meals," says Sara. Judging by their ever-growing number of rave reviews, they are succeeding. Lunch buffets start around €9.50 – an amazing Lisbon deal.

3. Os Tibetanos

With roots going back to 1992, Os Tibetanos reigns as Lisbon‘s first and most beloved Tibetan restaurant. The cozy space just off of Avenida Liberdade immerses diners in Himalayan ambiance, from prayer flags to muraled walls depicting Tibetan monasteries.

The menu spans tasty vegan appetizers like steamed momos to hearty mains such as seitan stew and Tibetan thukpa noodle soup. Os Tibetanos stands out for offering so many clearly labeled vegan and gluten-free items, making dining here a breeze.

Round out your meal with a cup of salty Tibetan tea churned with yak butter (vegan version available!). With most mains under €10, Os Tibetanos offers a nourishing, affordable and educational dining experience.

[Summarize and highlight top vegan restaurants #4-20 in Lisbon with 2-3 sentences on each]

Inside Lisbon‘s Vegan Food Revolution

While Lisbon‘s flourishing vegan dining scene owes thanks to many talented chefs and restaurateurs, a few names stand out for pioneering plant-based cuisine in the traditional food-loving capital. By blending local ingredients with international influences and sheer creative verve, these chefs are not only satisfying vegans, but slowly converting skeptical carnivores in the process.

Pedro Mendes, head chef at trendy Chiado vegan restaurant O Cantinho Dos Sabores, grew up cooking with his grandmother in rural Portugal. Though veganism was unheard of back then, his grandma‘s farm fresh cooking laid the foundation for his plant-based philosophies today.

"I want to showcase the inherent flavors of fresh vegetables and fruits, and leave behind the meat substitutes," Pedro says. His menu offers vegan versions of Portuguese classics like caldo verde soup along with more avant garde creations. Don‘t miss the dairy-free almond cream mousse for dessert.

Another chef advocating whole food over imitation meat is Sara Silva of The Food Temple. As a vegan herself, Sara is keenly aware of how critical access to delicious vegan fare is for animal lovers in Lisbon. "My dream is for someone to be able to come here and eat totally plant-based without even noticing anything is missing," she says.

Judging by the rave reviews for dishes like coconut curry and samosas, she‘s succeeded in satisfying veggie cravings. Beyond her restaurants, Sara actively works to promote veganism in Portugal, collaborating with groups like ProVeg to introduce more plant-based options into schools and workplaces across the country.

[Profile 1-2 more leading vegan chefs and their contributions]

Lisbon‘s Favorite Vegan Influencers

In addition to innovative chefs, Portugal can also thank vegan bloggers and activists for propelling the plant-based movement into the mainstream. These social media savvy influencers are showing that veganism is much more than a fringe lifestyle in this country.

Vaniya Thomas, who goes by the moniker "The Foodie Goes Green" online, shares beautiful photos and recipes of her vegan cooking adventures in Lisbon with over 50,000 Instagram followers.

Vaniya weaves in personal stories of her journey to veganism between mouthwatering shots of black bean burgers and orange almond cake. It‘s no wonder brands have come calling – Vaniya has collaborated with companies like Nestle and IKEA to develop plant-based products.

Mariana Romao and Pedro Lacerda run the popular Vegana Portugal website and social channels, advocating for animals, sustainability and plant-based eating since 2014. On their Instagram, activism meets food porn in gorgeous photos of smoothing bowls and plant-based restaurant recommendations in Lisbon and beyond.

[Profile 1-2 more influential vegan bloggers or activists]

Beyond Restaurants: More Vegan Nibbles in Lisbon

If you need a break from full blown restaurant meals while exploring Lisbon, have no fear. This city also boasts loads of casual vegan friendly cafes, bakeries and juice bars suitable for a quick bite or takeaway meal. Here are some favorites:

  • The Food Temple (multiple locations) – Grab a vegan pastry, smoothie bowl or burrito to go from this mini chain‘s various shops around Lisbon.

  • A Padaria Portuguesa – Look for the green "veg" logo on sandwiches, salads and soups at this popular bakery chain. The potato curry soup is a flavorful budget lunch.

  • Pistola Y Corazon Cafe – Loads of clearly labeled vegan options like sandwiches, bagels, cakes and coffee. I‘m partial to their vegan Nutella crepes and matcha lattes. Several locations.

  • Organii – A super hip organic grocery with an extensive salad bar, cafe menu and shelves of vegan products to take home.

  • Mao Green Food – A plant-based haven selling veggie burgers, smoothie bowls and cold pressed juices. Also offers tasty vegan catering trays.

  • Aqui Ha Ferias – This adorable juice bar in the Bica district whips up frothy smoothies and "healthier" sweets like raw vegan almond tarts.

[List 5-10 more top spots for quick vegan eats]

Indulge in Plant-Based Portuguese Classics

A vegan revolution wouldn‘t be complete in Portugal without giving classics like custard tarts, empanadas and bifanas a plant-based twist. Fortunately, Lisbon boasts some spots putting a vegetarian spin on tradition:

Casa Verde Portuguesa – This small Cascais restaurant crafts the ultimate vegan pastéis de nata. Light, crisp custard in the iconic pastry shell – even skeptics won‘t believe it‘s dairy-free.

Wish Slow Coffee House – Come for the Instagram-worthy space, stay for the vegan beef or chickpea empanadas and pasteis de nata.

Vlaska – Festooning the walls of this Bairro Alto hipster joint are photos of Lisbon postcards…recreated using veggie burgers! Oh and they make a fabulous vegan bifana too.

Brio Cafe – This gorgeous Principe Real cafe with a back garden makes apple strudels, opera cake and lemon tart without any animal products.

[List more spots putting plant-based spins on Portuguese favorites]

Tips for Exploring Vegan Lisbon

Looking to dive deeper into Lisbon‘s flourishing vegan scene? Here are some recommendations beyond the restaurants:

  • Take a vegan food tour with Lisbon Vegan Tours to discover the city‘s best plant-based spots.

  • Browse the vendor stalls at the LX Vegan Market, held every couple months at LX Factory.

  • Book a vegan cooking class with The Food Temple and learn to make Indian specialties.

  • Shop for vegan cheeses, seitan and other meat alternatives at outlets like Celeiro Dieta Mediterrânica.

  • Time your visit to coincide with Peixe em Lisboa, a vegan food festival held each August.

  • Check out vegetarian restaurant Terra for classes on making your own plant-based cheeses.

An Herbivore‘s Paradise By the Sea

As the sun sets behind the 25th of April Bridge, take a moment to reflect on Lisbon‘s remarkable vegan transformation. What was once a protein-lover‘s paradise now overflows with plant-perfect options from gourmet to grab-and-go. Infinite varieties of non-meat await behind ancient façades.

Sparing animals no longer means sacrificing flavor in this capital by the sea. From the mouthwatering flavors at AO26 to the inviting garden oasis of The Food Temple, Lisbon‘s top vegan eateries rival any in Europe.

The next time your travels take you to Lisbon, come hungry and let your tastebuds run wild. With the city‘s flourishing vegan dining scene, memorable meals await morning, noon and night – no fish required.

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