Happy Cow

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.

Delicious Healthy Eating in Paris and Prague for Cancer Survivors and Vegetarians

A cancer diagnosis puts life in perspective. I realized with clarity that I wanted to travel a lot more, but I also needed to take care of myself with the dietary changes necessary due to my particular type of breast cancer. With a little research, I was able to do both this fall. I even got to eat wonderfully! I might have to live off sprouted nut bars when I travel through parts of Asia, but that wasn't the case in Paris or Prague.

This is what I learned about eating tasty, healthy food on the road in Paris and Prague. Below are 10 restaurants and a few markets to keep you well fed. 

A couple of notes before I dive in: The focus of this post is vegetarian food. I'm trying to avoid hormones of all kind, meaning I'm eating only organic animal products, so eating vegetarian and vegan is an easy solution. I'm also trying to avoid as many toxins as possible, since I already got my fill of them with chemo, so I eat organic whenever I can. Therefore many of the restaurants listed here are vegetarian and organic, and all of them are vegetarian- and vegan-friendly.

All the restaurants and stores mentioned here can be found in the central part of Paris and Prague. I haven't listed addresses and opening times for the stores and restaurants, because both of those pieces of information might change (which is what we found to be the case). I hope this blog post can be a good starting point, but definitely check the web for the most current information. Two great resources we used were Happy Cow, a vegetarian and vegan online restaurant guide, and a helpful ebook from the Vegan Paris blog.

Tip: In Europe, "bio" means "organic."


Le Pain Quotidien
A chain of organic cafe-style restaurants in Paris. Not vegetarian, but lots of vegan-friendly dishes. We went to the location in the Marais. I ate a couple of their fabulous salads, but they have good hot food, too. As the name suggests, they've got lots of good bread. It's a proper bakery, too, so you can buy food at the counter to take away. Organic croissants, anyone?

Bob's Kitchen and Bob's Juice Bar
Green juice and green smoothies! If you miss your Vitamix, this is the place to go. The Kitchen location also has great hot meals. The restaurant is a bit hard to spot, with only a tiny sign, so here's a picture of what it looks like.

Rose Bakery
Organic breakfast and lunch. We went here twice for brunch, eating omelettes, oatmeal, granola, and excellent coffee. Like Bob's, this place is a bit tough to spot, since it doesn't have a sign.

Pousse Pousse "Sprout Sprout"
Lots of raw food at this organic vegan restaurant. Right now it's in a tiny restaurant, but the owner said they're looking to expand into a bigger space. This was the most expensive place we went to, but it was definitely worth it. They have a few daily options rather than a long menu, and they've got green cocktails in addition to food.

Les Cinq Saveurs D'Anada
Vegetarian food plus fish in the Left Bank.

Organic health food that's both a store and a small restaurant. Lots of raw food options.

A good place to stop by for a quick, inexpensive vegetarian bite. Vegetarian falafel joint near the Sorbonne in the Left Bank.

Organic Food Markets
Naturalia is the biggest organic food market chain, and we stumbled upon several of them just walking around. I also came across two organic markets we hadn't read about: A Touch of Bio and Boutique Bio.


Country Life - Restaurant and Market
Organic vegetarian store and restaurant chain. One of the locations is conveniently located right off Old Town Square in the center of the touristy part of the city. The restaurant is a cafeteria where you get a tray and serve yourself, and your food is weighed to determine how much you pay. It's casual, but the decor is very cool. We ate lunches here most days, and would explore new places for dinner. The cabbage salad was a favorite of mine. The entrance to the store is shown in the photo I took below, and you walk through the covered walkway to get to the restaurant entrance.

Lehka Hlava "Clear Head"
Vegetarian food in a really cute restaurant. It's praised in the Rick Steve's guidebook, so it can be crowded and they recommend reservations. We lucked into getting a table at dinner without reservations because we got there early one evening before a walk along the nearby Vltava River.

Dhaba Beas Indian Cafe
Vegetarian Indian food in a casual cafeteria atmosphere. Like Country Life, you get your own food and they weigh it to determine how much you pay. Really inexpensive, and it was crowded but we always found a seat.

I hope you have a great time eating fantastic food if you visit these cities!