As always, I did a bit of foodie research before my recent trip to Portugal, to see what sort of choice we would have when eating out. I found a very helpful website called Algarve Uncovered which has loads of useful information including shopping tips and useful phrases for vegetarians and vegans.
As expected, on our first evening out, we found that meat and fish featured heavily on the Portuguese menus and traditional vegetarian dishes seemed non-existent, in the bustling tourist resort of Albufeira. The ubiquitous chicken piri piri seemed to be the most popular dish - it's a shame that vegetable or mushroom piri piri weren't available!
Having said that, there were so many different cuisines on offer that vegetarians were fairly well catered for and vegans wouldn't go hungry. Vegetarian pizza and pasta seemed to be on many menus, but if you fancied something more exotic, you could find veggie options in the many Chinese, Indian, British and even Mexican restaurants in the area.
For our first meal out we thought we'd play it safe and try a restaurant with a decent veggie selection on its menu. The girls went for pizza, I ordered spaghetti with Algarve sauce (after checking that the sauce was 'safe'), and Mr O plumped for chicken piri piri, of course.
When my dish arrived, it looked decidedly meaty...yes, you guessed it, they'd put chicken in my pasta sauce! I sent it back, but was rather suspicious about the returning plate minus chicken! Needless to say we didn't leave a tip and didn't return there!
One restaurant that deserves a special mention is Eurasia, which is a mainly vegetarian/vegan buffet restaurant just off the main Albufeira strip. For E6.50 you could choose from a wide range of starters, salads, main courses and a soup of the day. The menu seems to change daily and updates are posted on their Facebook page. They also offer one meat and one fish dish each day, to attract the hardened carnivores; These dishes were kept separate and covered, so it really didn't have an impact on the veggie-vibe of the place!
The lady who runs the restaurant asked Miss Kahonie if she was vegetarian, and when she confirmed that she was, the lady told her that she would grow up to be more beautiful than the girls who eat meat! I thought that was really sweet, as the girls don't often hear positive comments about being veggie.
We definitely prefer Greece for the range of fresh vegetable-based veggie food available on almost every menu, but Albufeira, Portugal really wasn't too bad!