Vegan and vegetarian eating in the south west Alentejo

In which restaurants can you eat well as a vegan or vegetarian?

I have been living in the Alentejo since 2008. When we first moved here, vegan was a word that meant nothing to most people. Not eating meat, they thought that was very strange. But also no fish, no milk, no cheese, no eggs. What should you eat then?

Strange because you can get a lot of vegetables at the market here. However, almost everything is used either in soup or stews. And meat or fish is always in the leading role.

Chickpeas, kidney beans and black-eyed beans are also widely eaten. So the ingredients are there!

A lot has changed in recent years. Mainly because more tourists came, many walking tourists, a percentage of whom were vegetarian or who at least wanted to eat more vegetables.

And in recent years, Portugal has become a paradise for people who want to live in communities. And among them are many people who eat little to no animal products. And as a result, vegan products are becoming increasingly available in stores. Our natural food store (herbanaria) in Odemira, Instinto Natural, has everything you need. There are a number of vegetarian restaurants and almost all restaurants have something vegetarian or even vegan on the menu. Though this can be a simple burger. 

Most places are easy to find nowadays with the Happy Cow app. But here are a few of my personal tips in the area surrounding Portugal Nature Lodge.

At the time of writing (2024), the café in our village of Troviscais has a very tasty vegan salad and sometimes also a vegan dish of the day on the menu.

If you like to have dinner at your tent but don’t feel like cooking: Joke regularly cooks a delicious plant-based meal that is delivered to your tent.

Our breakfasts are also vegan. Except for the eggs from our own chickens if you do eat eggs..

The order below has nothing to do with quality. You can enjoy delicious food in all these restaurants.

1. First because it is completely vegan: Cantinho do Mercado in Vila Nova de Milfontes.

Unfortunately not always open, you should check it on their Instagram page. On Thursday evenings there is often a DJ and a nice atmosphere. Not only vegans come here. No choice, usually just a snack of the day, but it is always tasty and beautifully served.

Casual atmosphere, also a co-working space.

2. Secondly Yabalulu. On Furnas beach, on the opposite bank of the Mira River from V.N de Milfontes. Yabalulu is vegetarian but has several vegan options. Beautiful and tasty food.

You don’t want to miss a vegetarian beach bar that is also popular!

3. Adega 22 in Vila Nova de Milfontes

Something ‘fancy’, a beautiful restaurant with beautiful dishes. They are serious about their vegan options and really make something beautiful out of it. Sometimes ‘cheese’ made from cashew nuts, ‘steak’ made from eggplant, a stew with seitan. And always a vegan dessert.

4. ArTerra in São Luis

Hip, attractive and cozy, the balcony terrace upstairs overlooks the village. Popular for tapas, but you can also eat a tasty burger or salad here. Various vegetarian and vegan options. Cocktails and nice wines too, with atmospheric music.

5. Espaço Nativa in São Luis.

Located on the edge of the village. Somewhat alternative and a bit messy, but certainly fun to eat once. Ask if the food is vegan, it is usually vegetarian and sometimes they put cheese on things where you wouldn’t expect it. Occasionally they also serve (local) meat.

6. O Ferrador in São Luis
Restaurant in an old forge with a cozy shaded terrace opposite the São Luis daily market.
Mainly focused on meat, but for vegetarians they have a couscous dish that is beautifully prepared. Ask without feta and it’s vegan.

7. Riverside Pub in Milfontes has a vegetarian burger and falafel wrap. Without the sauce it is vegan.

Vegan Pizza in Vila Nova de Milfontes:

HS Milfontes Beach has a delicious vegan pizza.

La Bella Pizza has good vegan pizzas. They used to have a very tasty one without cheese, but since the rise of vegan ‘cheese’, this is now a thing of the past.

Pizza Domingo, a pop up pizza restaurant every Sunday in Lameiros, a few kilometers from São Luis, also has a tasty vegan pizza and a few vegetarian ones.