Friday, May 24, 2013

Eating in London and Lisbon for Vegans & Vegetarians (& Anyone Who Wants Great Tasting Healthy Food)

Cancer sucks, but taking good care of yourself doesn't have to. If I had to give up delicious food to eat right, I wouldn't do it. Because I need to avoid hormones in my food, at home it's easy to buy organic food and cook from scratch to make the tasty meals I want to eat. Traveling is trickier. The easiest way to eat right while traveling is to seek out vegan food. Here are the great places I found on my recent trip to London and Lisbon.

Vegan London


Le Pain Quotidien: A worldwide chain of organic cafes that's springing up in more and more locations. I loved eating here when in Paris and Los Angeles last year, so I was happy to find several locations around London. This is one of those restaurants where there's so much good food on the menu that I never know what to order. They serve the usual cafe foods -- salads, soups, sandwiches, quiches, pastries -- but done brilliantly. They serve fish and meat, and the numerous vegan options are noted with a V on the menu.

Dessert at Le Pain Quotidien:
Coconut milk pudding with chia & raspberry.

Vitao: Vegan food in Soho. They've got a mostly organic buffet for lunch, a more formal dinner, and green juices all day. It's a small space, so if you're at all claustrophobic, avoid peak meal times. So delicious we braved the crowds twice.

Vitao: vegan food in Soho, London.

Drummond Street: A whole street full of vegetarian Indian restaurants, all serving the traditional thali meals with a range of dishes served on a steel tray with several small steel bowls. The street is just south of Camden, not far from the British Library.

With my Le Pain Quotidien latte
in front of the British Library.

Leon: I found this cafe chain because of their tag line "Naturally Fast Food," and ate their organic porridge for breakfast almost every day I was in London. (Yes, porridge is way tastier than it sounds!)



Holland and Barrett: A health food chain with stores throughout the UK. Good for when you want a  picnic lunch instead of restaurant food.



Vegetarian Lisbon


It was easier than I thought it would be to eat vegan in Portugal! And not just in Lisbon. My first recommendation below is a little vegan restaurant in Sintra, which is a popular day trip from Lisbon because of its castles and palaces.

Soul Food: Organic vegan food in a beautiful garden at the foot of Moorish castle ruins in Sintra, just outside of Lisbon. They make veggie juices, too, but the selection depends on the vegetables they happen to have on hand that day. The food was so good that after a full lunch and juices, we lingered for a long time over home-made herbal tea and vegan chocolate cake for dessert. (What? We were hungry after hiking through castle ruins all morning.)



The Green Room: A trendy cafe with lots of great vegan options, like a black bean burger with mango and a root vegetable salad. It's in the Cais do Sodre district, just south of the central part of Lisbon, and unlike most restaurants in Lisbon, it's open all day from noon until after midnight. Most restaurants in Portugal close after lunch and don't open again until 7:30 or 8 p.m. for dinner.



Terra: Beautiful vegetarian buffet with a wide range of Portuguese foods on a winding little road in central Lisbon. (Note of warning: If you use the Happy Cow app to find this place, don't pay attention to where it's placed on the map; it's about a block away from where it's listed.)


Os Tibetanos: Vegetarian curries with vegan options noted on the menu. It's just north of the central part of Lisbon, near the Avenida metro stop where many business hotels are located. It looks small on the outside, but inside has a secret indoor garden that's absolutely beautiful. The food is good, the atmosphere great.


Natural Food Markets: Brio and Celeiro Dieta organic supermarkets are both in central Lisbon. Lots of good options for picnic lunches, and Lisbon has great public squares for picnicing.




Thank you, Happy Cow, as always, for turning me on to many of these restaurants! Not all of the restaurants above are on Happy Cow, but it's a fantastic starting point for any trip.

I posted my Paris and Prague vegetarian recommendations here in November, 2012.

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