I was quite curious about how easy would be to find vegetarian food in Portugal. I know the Portuguese culinary is quite rich and it includes vegan/vegetarian food to the list of creative and tasty dishes as well.
And I have been to vegetarian restaurants in Porto, but my picks weren’t exceptionally good, to be honest.
So, I heard about Espinho, a city located a few miles from Porto (more or less 30 minutes from Porto by train), that is a popular beach resort and it has famous outdoor food market as well. A perfect city to explore because we were staying nearby it.
It’s easy to understand why tourists enjoy Espinho so much. It’s a gorgeous seaside resort, with stunning beaches that is apparently good for surfing. Actually, it’s a quite popular sport locally.
And it’s famous for it’s fresh fish, of course. I imagine eating seafood at this city is a must.
It’s privileged location indeed, its traditional Portuguese “colourful tilled” buildings, typical churches and a bit of modern as well. A mini version of what bigger cities like Porto can offers.
We decided to take the train from Miramar on a Monday morning to have a look at the Feira de Espinho that is held once a week there. Yes, fresh food every single Monday. This is life!
It’s not only one of the biggest outdoor food markets in Portugal, but it’s also where you can find fresh and more affordable food in the region too. This market is impressive indeed.
I didn’t take some photos of the market itself because I was overwhelmed with the quality of fruit, vegetables and even clothes, they sell in that place. You can practically find everything you need.
If I could stay more days in Miramar, I would certainly go back to this market at least twice. We probably spent less than 10 euros bringing back home lots of homemade bread, and fine cheese too.
But to be honest, what impressed me most in Espinho was its quantity of vegan restaurants, being and all of them with good reviews on trip adviser as well.
It seems silly but planning where I can go for a meal is always a plus when I am visiting a new city. Vegetarians will certainly understand what I mean! 😉 It’s quite amusing to check that Espinho had at least four vegetarian restaurants.
After mooching around in the market, we decided to visit Grao de Soja. This wasn’t our first option, but we picked the first one with a table available.
I have to say, these are reasonable cheap places to eat, but I imagine the popularity comes together with the quality of food as well.
Eating in Grao do Soja is quite simple. As I understood, they have a different menu every day.
You just need to choose what is on the board for a fixed price (5 euros per person, if I am not wrong), and add drinks and dessert to the bill. No joking, my husband and I spent only 13 euros having lunch at this restaurant. Meal and drinks included.
And yes, food was delicious. I had a generous portion of courgette lasagne and parmesan cheese. I have also chosen some salad with feta cheese and a kind of croquette that I don’t remember the name, but it was also gorgeous.
But there were also other creative dishes such as mushroom stroganoff and the famous “Caldo Verde”, a traditional Portuguese soup that is made with sausage, but I imagine at Grao de Soja they would be a bit more creative. Of course!
That was the cheapest meal I had in Portugal. It was also one of the most tasteful ones. I just loved the vibe of this restaurant it seems to cater for locals and tourists as well.
The service is excellent. Everyone has a smile on their faces, and they’re happy to help if you don’t speak Portuguese.
We were saving ourselves to find dessert somewhere else near the beach, so I just had a nice lemonade. I was happy to know they serve kombucha and there is also a shop with vegan products as well.
If you’re a vegan, or vegetarian (like moi) heading to that part of the world, Grao de Soja is a must restaurant to visit. It’s a cosy and welcoming place that serves creative, healthy and tasteful plant-based food.
We ended up having a refreshing ice cream by the beach because it was 17 degrees Celsius in Espinho that Monday afternoon, and that was too good to be true for the usual colder European winter.