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Eat well: Lisbon restaurants with healthy menus.



Eating healthful food is a good habit to cultivate, and there are a number of excellent Lisbon restaurants with healthy menus to choose from. Tasty vegan, vegetarian and macrobiotic fare is served at Espaço da Rosa. Seek it out in the city’s Alvalade district. At Kook Chiado the fusion of African and Japanese cuisine combines the nutritional benefits of sushi with the hot spicy flavours of Luanda, the capital city of Angola. But if the Mediterranean is more your scene then you should try the wholesome gastronomy prepared at Open Brasserie Mediterrânica. Here the emphasis is very much on environmental sustainability and the menu lists organic, gluten-free and vegetarian options alongside traditional Portuguese and southern European fare. They only use organic ingredients at In Bocca Al Lupo, but the taste is still pure Italian. Vegetarians and vegans are in for a treat at Jardim dos Sentidos. Actually, this colourful eatery attracts its fare share of non-vegetarians too. Up at Chapitô à Mesa the salads are as impressive as the views over the city. At nearby Princesa do Castelo the menu lists an array of delicious, calorie-busting vegetarian specialities. The same philosophy is upheld at Os Tibetanos. This is arguably the most famous vegetarian restaurant in Lisbon and doubles up as a school of Buddhism. One of the most unusual eateries in the city is Santa Clara dos Cogumelos where the humble and wholesome mushroom is the key ingredient. Meanwhile, another vegetarian restaurant with a well-deserved reputation is Terra – their fresh buffet option is extraordinary! 

       


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Bairro Alto/Principe Real


One of the most highly regarded vegetarian restaurants in the city, much of Terra's calorie-bashing buffet menu is vegan friendly, and with advance notice the kitchen can even cater for those whose choice of food depends on their religious beliefs. Naturally, salads in all their healthy variety are a menu mainstay, but the delicious diversity of gastronomy, based on traditional Portuguese recipes, extends to crunchy vegetable stews and rice prepared with aromatic herbs. They do some great curries, and there are also tabouli and tempura dishes adding to the exotic flavour. Diners can indulge a little by ordering home-baked apple crumble and other tempting desserts. The drinks list has been thoughtfully designed to include kosher wines among the fruit juices, tea, coffee and a bewildering assortment of infusions.

Recommended for Restaurants with Healthy Menus because: Terra's owners are enthusiastically involved in promoting a healthy lifestyle and are proactive in advancing social welfare and animal rights issues.

Paul's expert tip: The weekday lunches are exceptional value, and if it's warm and dry tables set on the inner courtyard are quickly snapped up.

Read more about Terra →


The humble mushroom is the base ingredient used at this offbeat eatery. Just about everything on the menu incorporates this healthy food source, and the variety of dishes created here is quite astonishing. The kitchen uses wild and cultivated edible mushrooms such as chestnut and Portobello to enhance delicious homemade ravioli and other pasta dishes, all packed with flavour and highly nutritious. Luigi, the restaurant's owner, naturally errs towards Italian themed recipes, but surprises like the tataky de salmão (smoked salmon with mushroom and dried tomato) further flavours the meal options. A lighter, tapas-style selection includes breaded mushrooms, a mushroom sweet and sour combination of butter with herbs and sour pickles and a scrumptious raw mushroom salad of ricotta, dried fruits, cherry tomatoes and aioli sauce – there's not a calorie in sight! An accompaniment of various Portuguese wines helps it all go down.

Read more about Santa Clara dos Cogumelos →




An enchanting establishment that's part restaurant, part school of Buddhism, Os Tibetanos has maintained an enviable reputation as one Lisbon's most popular and endearing dining venues. The kitchen lifts vegetarian-vegan cooking to subliminal heights, and even committed carnivores are impressed! Menu specialities include delicious sautéed seitan with bean sprouts, leek and potato, various pasta dishes, and free-radical busting seaweed with rice noodles. They also do a fantastic mango curry with tofu. Everything is bursting with goodness! Colourful ingredients and subtle use of fragrant herbs and spices accentuate textures and flavours. Complementing the food is an excellent selection of wines. The atmosphere is pure Zen – warm, cosy and meditative. The rear patio is the place to sit: at night tables are illuminated by flickering candlelight. Tibetan music, piped softly from hidden speakers, enhances the peaceful ambiance.

Recommended for Restaurants with Healthy Menus because: Besides tasty cuisine, this little slice of Tibet sells books, teas, incense and cultural artefacts promoting Buddhism and the country as a spiritual destination.

Paul's expert tip: Make sure you try their rose petal ice cream.

Read more about Os Tibetanos →


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Health conscious diners head up the hill towards Lisbon's castle and this popular veggie hangout where everything is homemade, with much of the food imbued with a distinctly exotic flavour (chef Nandan Bhoopalam hails from the Indian subcontinent). Despite its meat-free credentials, the "Princess of the Castle" is an equally big hit with non-vegetarians and vegans, where snacks include robust slices of quiche, an inspired veggie-version goulash soup and nibbles such as crunchy nachos with humus and olives. The Eastern theme means guests are regaled with dishes that draw on Oriental influences, an inspired example being the Thai style rice mixed with fresh vegetables and pasted with a peanut butter sauce. This is also a great juice bar with lots of fresh fruit smoothies made to order and teas brewed from wild herbs.

Read more about Princesa do Castelo →


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Castelo/Alfama


A restaurant and a circus school, this entertaining double act is one of Lisbon's more unusual dining venues. Essentially a performing arts centre, Chapitô has an eatery installed in a converted townhouse that overlooks a leafy courtyard near its studios. Perched as it is on a hill, Chapitô's restaurant tables afford fantastic views of the city below – an outside terrace accentuates the glorious panorama! The menu spotlights some truly memorable salads, huge platters of crunchy lettuce, ripe tomato and boiled sweet potato garnished with red and green pepper. Toppings feature smoked mackerel or grilled octopus, among other choices, and the whole show is seasoned with fragrant herbs and lashings of olive oil. A crisp dry white wine is an excellent accompaniment, but there are plenty of fresh fruit juice options to consider.

Recommended for Restaurants with Healthy Menus because: Cracking city views and a wholesome menu place this eatery in the top billing of Lisbon's healthy eating hangouts.

Paul's expert tip: This place is always busy during the summer months, with terrace tables at a premium on weekends. Arrive early or phone ahead.

Read more about Chapitô à Mesa →


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Bairro Alto/Principe Real


This colourful and inviting eatery with its verdant outdoor terrace forever puts paid to the myth that vegetarian food is boring and bland. In fact, this is one of the most highly regarded vegetarian restaurants in the city and enjoys an international reputation for its wholesome and creative menu, and a fair proportion of its clients are non- vegetarian. Otherwise this is Veggie Central, a veritable mecca for omnivores. Lovely soups and other fresh, healthy starters like their 'rustic-style' baked beetroot with nuts and herbs and goat cheese gratin, prime the palate for delights such as the chef's ratatouille or vegetable stroganoff with dried fruits. Many of the dishes meet vegan's special requirements (they do great Moroccan couscous) and there's even a special kids menu of mini pizza or lasagne. And if you want to indulge, an equally eclectic dessert menu features cheesecake and apple crumble, among other temptations.

Recommended for Restaurants with Healthy Menus because: A healthy dining hotspot, this multi-faceted restaurant can also arrange a wealth of massage, therapy and wellbeing options.

Paul's expert tip: Besides being a super place to eat, Jardim dos Sentidos has an onsite shop where customers can purchase a range of health products.

Read more about Jardim dos Sentidos →


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Bairro Alto/Principe Real


They only use 100% organic ingredients at this smart pizzeria, and all produce is sourced locally or direct from Italy. The menu is selective but oh so tempting – the tuna, tomato, onion and mozzarella pizza is outstanding! Vegetarians are in for a treat. You can order pizza topped with pesto and garnished with basil, garlic and Parmesan cheese, all sprinkled with olive oil, and there's even a vegan option, where tofu and tomato are the base ingredients. Prepared to order and baked in traditional stone ovens, diners can add a delicious array of extra toppings, anything from mushroom and artichoke to cherry and spicy chouriço (sausage). The wine list is decent but discerning, and the beers include some intriguing international brews. Teas from around the world plus herbal infusions further whet the appetite. Fit food yes, but in typical Italian fashion, the desserts spare no calories, with plenty of chocolate and ice cream decorating the sweets trolley.

Recommended for Restaurants with Healthy Menus because: The chef duo of Mandillo & Castro have adopted a refreshingly casual approach towards cooking and taken into consideration those with specific dietary needs.

Paul's expert tip: Try their platter of Parmesan and rocket salad - a healthful starter if ever there was one!

Read more about In Bocca Al Lupo →




Using a fabulous array of ingredients that are predominantly organic and locally sourced chef Joao Silva and his team have effectively redefined the healthy menu. Inspira Santa Marta was the first hotel in Lisbon to be awarded a Green Globe for environmental sustainability: Open's kitchen was noted for its association with fair trade outlets and its adherence to Marine Stewardship Council guidelines. Diners can enjoy Portuguese and Mediterranean influenced fare like pork shoulder confit with sweet potato and beans cassoulet or roasted triggerfish with herbs, olives, cherry tomato and olive oil bathed in sweet garlic sauce. The seasonal menu lists vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options (the pepper and spinach risotto is outstanding) and there's a kids menu of mini portions – great for families! Among the desserts is chocolate and carob cake, an intriguing marriage of cocoa and carob, an abundant crop found throughout southern Portugal, served with vanilla ice cream.

Recommended for Restaurants with Healthy Menus because: Environmental sustainability is key to Inspira's success and its restaurant is noted for its organic and locally sourced ingredients.

Paul's expert tip: Order a bottle of Inspira mineral water and you automatically donate funds towards the building and marinating fresh water pumps in African villages.

Read more about Open Brasserie Mediterrânica →




Japanese cuisine is renowned for its healthful qualities and unique flavours. But what if you add to the mix hot spicy African food and traditional Portuguese and Mediterranean gastronomy? At Kook this clever taste trinity draws on recipes from three very different parts of the world. The result is a menu that woos diners with the likes of octopus carpaccio, Muamba hotpot and a bewitching assortment of sushi and sashimi combinations and other delicacies from the land of the rising sun. The Kook concept was created in Luanda, where the restaurant has become one of the Angolan capital's favourite places to eat. Its arrival in Lisbon has seen chef David Costa uphold the idea of fusing favourite dishes from Angola with those from Japan and Portugal. The emphasis, however, is on Tokyo and exemplified by one of the restaurant's specialities, Kook maki – a healthy arrangement of crunchy rocket, sun-dried tomato and goat's cheese wrapped with lightly bruleéd salmon.

Recommended for Restaurants with Healthy Menus because: By combining African and Japanese cuisine, Kook has honoured Portugal's great era of discovery. It also enthusiastically maintains the country's own culinary heritage.

Paul's expert tip: If still undecided after reading the menu, call for the chef and he'll happily suggest a combination of plates to satisfy the taste buds.

Read more about Kook Chiado →


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Campo Grande/Campo Pequeno

The warm natural tones colouring the interior of this smart little eatery perfectly match the style of food on offer, a healthy choice of homemade vegan, vegetarian and macrobiotic dishes. The buffet spread is beautifully presented, an attractive ensemble of deliciously varied hot and cold plates. There's a wide selection of seitan-based food (try it with broccoli) and creative pasta options including penne with soya bean Bolognese. Roti stuffed with vegetables and cheese is a menu favourite. Among the desserts available is a wonderful mango mousse, though the chocolate and nut cake is equally appealing. The restaurant's proprietors run vegetarian cooking workshops for anyone interested in learning more about this style of cuisine.

Read more about Espaço da Rosa →


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Meet Paul Bernhardt

Paul Bernhardt cut his teeth as a press photographer in England before leaving the UK to settle in Portugal, where he has lived for over a decade, and where he started to focus on more...  More About Paul

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