Traditionally, Portugal isn’t really home to an array of vegetarian delights. When asking for a savoury vegetarian snack in a cafe, you may be asked “com fiambre e queijo?” meaning, “with ham and cheese?”. A slice of ham doesn´t really count as meat does it? Then they might offer you Caldo Verde, which yes is cabbage soup… but with pieces of choriço floating in it of course.
Luckily in Lagos, you are spoilt for choice. Here are some of my regular favourites as a vegetarian.
1. The Green Room, serving Mexican/Tex Mex.
While it may not be the most authentic Mexican you´ve tried, it could be some of the tastiest. They have a simple menu of Burritos, Quesadillas and Nachos, all of which come in hearty vegetarian options, loaded with cheese, veggies and beans. The service is friendly and its a relaxed vibe, drawing a surfy crowd.
2. Nah nah bah, International soul food
The Chefs at Nah Nah Bah are passionate guys. When they create a dish, they want it to be something you´ll be dreaming about, not just a tasty bite. For vegetarians, they have a great arancini starter, served with garlic aioli. Their hummus is also amazing. For a main meal their goats cheese salad is visually gorgeous and delicious, the combination of sweet strawberries, the flavoursome baked cheese and balsamic dressing is luscious. If you want something warm and hearty, their homemade vegetarian burger is huge, saucy and the best in town, and their juicy Nah Nah Pasta (pictured) & Cara Mia Pasta are worth coming back for.
3. Rockefellas Diner, International food
While a “Diner” might bring images to you of fried food, ribs, burgers and ketchup, Rockefellas actually has some great, fresh vegetarian meals. At lunch time don’t miss their farmers sandwich (pictured). Its served in a (huge) fresh burger bun (or wrap if you prefer) and filled with delicious grilled vegetables including peppers, pumpkin, onions, zucchini, with a round of grilled goats cheese and fresh rucola/rocket. It is truly amazing! They also have a similar salad and tasty light bites such as jalapeño poppers (cheese stuffed jalapeños) and grilled mushrooms.
4. Cafe Odeon, English, cheap & good
For breakfast and lunch, the Odeon will always keep you happy, and on a low budget. For breakfast they serve eggs with grilled mushrooms, tomatoes etc, omelettes, pancakes and breakfast wraps. For lunch and until 7pm they serve soups, a vegetarian burger and sandwiches. All priced between 1-4€.
5. Snackbar Mimar, Portuguese cafe with daily specials
For lunch Snackbar Mimar is a great choice. Each day they have different lunch specials, and there is always something vegetarian on offer. Whether it be a vegetarian quiche, stuffed peppers, tofu lasagne or stuffed crepes, its always tasty, homemade and fresh. They serve it together with salad if you wish, and the plate will cost around 4€. They also have a selection of sandwiches and toasts, each for around 2-2.50€, or homemade vegetable soup for 1.50€. They also make fresh mixed juices.
6. Croissanteria 29, filled freshly baked croissants
Even if you are not a fan of regular croissants (I´m not), you should try a Portuguese and you´ll probably be pleasantly surprised. They are more of a milky soft bread rather than a buttery pastry, and are great filled with savoury fillings. In Croissanteria 29 they bake their own croissants, so you can enjoy a warm, fluffy croissant straight from the oven. They have a selection of fillings, but I always order egg, salad and mayonnaise. If you still aren’t convinced about the croissant, they also have a variety of bread rolls. In addition, try one of their smoothies or a fresh mixed juice. Ask for Carlos´ special banana smoothie for a super delicious drink.
If you want to dine in typical Portuguese restaurants, you´ll usually be limited to an omelette, with the choice of cheese or mushroom filling. Its good for one night, but maybe not the whole week. In Restaurant Reis (Rua Antonio Barbosa Viana, 21 ) they do make a great baked vegetable dish.