Look for vegetarian restaurants in Porto and you will be amazed by the result. According to Happycow there are no less than 72 vega (vegetarian and / or vegan) friendly restaurants in Porto! Popular is the fully vegetarian (now vegan?) buffet restaurant daTerra, which opened a second branch in Porto in September 2017. And we are Lucky that one of them (DaTerra Baixa) is a stone’s throw away from our apartment at Rua Mourinho da Silveira.
DaTerra serves a lunch buffet for € 7.50* per person between 3:30 and 7:00 pm. From 7:00 to 11:00 pm the dinner buffet costs € 9,50* pp. Note: these are all you can eat prices (excluding drinks and pastries)! Every time we leave our apartment, we walk past the restaurant. The weather is nice so the door is open and the fully glazed façade makes it easy to look inside. We see light wooden tables and chairs in a quiet, light ambiance. Plants are not on the ground or on the tables, but are artistically suspended along the windows. The buffet is right in front of the entrance. It is not crowded on the day, a few people sit on the small terrace in front of the façade and a few people sit inside by the window. It doesn’t look like we have to make a reservation for tonight, even though we have read that the restaurant is very popular.
After our city walk we are back at the restaurant around 7:15 pm. It is significantly busier but not yet full. A row of people has formed at the buffet. If we say that we have not made a reservation, the employee looks questionable but just as quickly leads us to an available table. The ‘menu’ that we get presented only contains the countless possibilities for mainly healthy drinks. Name any combination of fruit and vegetables and some powershot, and it’s presented as a smoothie with a suitable name.
If we’re not mistaken, daTerra now serves completely vegan. The buffet is different every day. There are two types of soup, homemade bread with a spread, and cold and hot dishes and snacks that are neatly arranged on colourful plates. Something special has been made of simple ingredients. Because of the different flavours, there’re even shot glasses with a spicy mix to neutralize the taste. It is clear that flavours and dishes have been thought about and that the demands are high.
We want to try everything that is served, from simple salad to savory pie, polenta bites and creamy fried rice. Even the lentil salad that normally does not appeal to me, makes me curious. We only leave the bread. At times we have to ‘fight’ for the last piece. Some combinations of savory with fresh flavours are striking; other dishes were obviously hard to make tastful. But just trying it, the variety, the colours and the originality make up for so much that we have dinner here twice in our four days stay in Porto.
The restaurant is run by a group of enthusiastic young men and women. If they are not busy with the drinks and the checkout, they are constantly busy with removing and refilling, since the plates are made so neat and never too full. The kitchen is probably above the restaurant, because all dishes are delivered via a kitchen lift.
DaTerra has long outgrown the (as we call it) “goat wool sock” image. As far as we are concerned, it may be called a culinary buffet restaurant, which attracts visitors of all ages and nationalities. We are so surprised by Portugal as a vega friendly country; after Olives Restaurant in Funchal on Madeira we have another hit with daTerra. Mandatory for every vegetarian or vegan in Porto!
(*) Price october 2017