Sunday, November 2, 2008

Terra – An earthy way to enjoy vegetarian food in Lisbon, Portugal

On a side trip to Lisbon earlier this month, I wanted to visit a good vegetarian restaurant. I read somewhere that Lisbon won the 1997 Vegetarian city of the world. That must be a true surprise to many given Lisboner’s love of meat.

A must-view tourist spot is St. George Castle, situated overlooking the Tagus river in downtown Lisbon (a separate post to come later).

I chanced upon Terra (meaning Earth) at 15 Principe Real, near a beautiful local park. I decided to do dinner at Terra and most of the fine Portugese restaurants open only at 7.30pm. A great way to get to the restaurant is to take the Belim Tram (it goes a nearly vertical incline) and walk less than a mile to the restaurant.

Once you enter the restaurant, you will be asked whether you want to sit in the garden, back or the front of the restaurant. The garden is beautiful, but was out for me because it was raining. The menu is quite simple, because the main course is all buffet. There are 20+ dishes, all vegetarian (many vegan), spanning all main vegetarian cuisines of the world. The main highlights were

- Starters were imaginative but not great tasting (some samosas, papadam, portugese pastry)
- Soup was leek onion, was quite ordinary
- Salads were divine, including vegetables that spanned the rainbow, but for someone heavily biased towards good salads I was not disappointed
- Main entrée included Thai-inspired tofu curry, Portuguese sausage, and 10+ dishes.
- Portuguese use the same plate across multiple rounds to the buffet line.

I ordered the Tourist buffet at 19 euros, included a special drink (rose-flavored drink, very sugary), buffet and desert and Portuguest coffee called bica (a cross between Turkish and Ethiopian coffee). I think this is the best value for money if you are really hungry. The servers speak English, and are very attentive and friendly.

Well worth a visit again. Next time I have to get V to come over with me to take those beautiful pictures of their garden.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I totally agree! We loved Terra, went there several times and will return next time we're in Lisbon!