Em Carne Viva

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 40 reviews )

Avenida da Boavista, 868, Porto, Portugal, 4100-112

Elegant vegetarian restaurant in a restored old house situated in a romantic garden. Offers daily menu for lunch and dinner, re-designing traditional Portuguese dishes in vegetarian and vegan varieties. Open Mon-Sat 12:00pm-3:00pm, Mon-Thu 7:00pm-10:00pm, Fri-Sat 7:00pm-11:00pm.

Categories: Vegan-friendly, International, Western, Portuguese

40 Reviews

First Review by AndyT

Incredible Food & Wonderful Experience - Edit

What a beautiful location and amazing concept! I went with my family and we were very impressed. The mushroom starter dish is fantastic-- incredible broth. I had the spineless tofu main, which honestly wasn't great (tofu was kinda bland) but my parents were extremely very happy with their meals (dad had the vegetable risotto--the best he's ever had--and mom had the truffles). The desserts were out of this world. AMAZING. Red fruits dish and the chocolate one too. Highly recommend this place.

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Please update with opening hours - Edit

I walked all the way to the restaurant from my accommodation in Ribeira, about 3klms away, only to find it closed. The sign on the door said they were open, but the door was locked. This was at about 6.30pm on Tuesday. It would be good if ECV posted their hours on Happy Cow.

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Not worth the hype. - Edit

This restaurant has a fancy ambiance and a beautiful interior. The food is nicely presented, but does not taste that great. I ordered a vegan dish which turned out to be bland tofu with seaweed, some greens and potatoes. My partner asked for a vegan option of his dish with no egg, and it still arrived with egg.

Pros: Beautiful setting

Cons: Way overpriced

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I've seen MLG competitions less salty. - Edit

The restaurant looked lovely and the staff was kind and very helpful. However, both mine and my S/O's food were so heavily salted that we both got sick.

Pros: Beautiful place;, Great tea;, Wonderful staff.

Cons: Expensive;, Saltier than the Dead Sea.

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good - Edit

good restaurant and good fod

Pros: meal excellent

Cons: more expansive

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Best Vegetarian Restaurant in Porto - Edit

It is in deed the must try vegetarian restaurante in Porto. Delicious food with a traditional portuguese taste.

Pros: Great food, Beautifull location

Cons: Desert was good but no match to the savory plates

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1st vegan night out in Porto - Edit

Lovely ambiance, great staff, they take time to explain the dishes. Cool restroom downstairs. The food was amazing. Well recommended!

Pros: loads of vegan stuff on the menu or they could veg

Cons: good price quality

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The best vegan restaurant in Porto - Edit

It was perfect from the beginning to the end !

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In your great cities of great solitude - Edit

Oh children you've still got a lot to..........learn. Everything about this place is elegant. It's a few delightful skips from Casa da Musica and over the road from a wonderful literary themed bar where the barman confirmed Sagres is more Lisbon and Super Bock is definitely more Porto. I was fully expecting to dish out the 5 happy cows here on my birthday night but instead we left €50 lighter in spirits. The Living Flesh is a highly professional operation but the atmosphere was a trifle stifled. Once we established everything we wanted to order had to be vegan including wine we were in business. The house appetisers of bread and dips that we didn't order but came as standard were fully appreciated. The pumpkin soup was good. For main courses we had the mixed mushroom risotto which was delicious and a remarkable dish entitled 'spineless of tofu'. I can only assume it was an attempt to recreate a de-boned whole white fish in the vegan form. It was moderately tasty and quite impressive looking but very salty. The accompanying roast potatoes however were my highlight. When I come back to this deliriously beautiful and relaxed city of Porto on the banks of the River Douro I am more than prepared to return to Em Carne Viva for a second chance and perhaps sit in the lovely garden at the rear.

Pros: elegant premises, vegan options, cool location

Cons: limited vegan wines

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Fine dining, very formal, but amazing food - Edit

A startling find in a country where it can be hard to avoid meat. Fine dining vegetarian/vegan restaurant with excellent (although unsmiling) service. Great tastes and creative ideas.
Tapenade and toast, small empanadas and rolls as a cover (bread a little dry, but we asked for olive oil and it was then delicious).
Starters: Portobello mushroom stuffed with goats cheese and dusted with pistachio with a lovely basil oil and creamy drizzle. Plus baked cheese with vegetarian Portuguese 'sausage – spicy and delicious.
Mains: Unbelievable mushroom risotto with truffle oil, full of flavour and depth. Plus elegantly presented millefeuille of vegetables, which came with a parmesan crisp around a salad and great beetroot and sesame rice. The millefeuille themselves were heavy on the carrot and not much other taste, but the accompaniments were good.
Dessert: A vegan caipirinha lime cream tart. Amazing! What was that creaminess if not cream!!!
Mostly loved the food, great décor, a real surprise and fantastic to have fine dining without meat. It would have been five stars had our waitress not been offputtingly stuffy (white gloves put on to lay out cutlery, and a slight impatience along with barely a smile).
Try it. This sort of place is rare and special. €77, including a half-bottle of very good Douro wine and a coffee.

Updated from previous review on 2017-09-18

Pros: Creative, inventive food, Lovely, stylish setting

Cons: Stuffy,. unsmiling service

1 Response
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Anticopy 19 Sep 2017 - Must warn you, in a non-vegan restaurant, usually risotto and cheese are animal based, meaning they are not vegan. Thought it would be interesting information.  

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Good lunch in lovely room - Edit

I had a lovely lunch here. The menu clearly states what is vegan or can be made vegan and was delicious. This was a fine dining experience. Service was good.

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Disappointed - Edit

Em Carne Viva has a beautiful interior, no expense has been spared and it is very unique. I was impressed with the vegan choice, all of the mains were labelled as vegan or as a vegan option.

We were visiting the restaurant for a special occasion and were looking forward to sharing a bottle of wine with our meal, there is a nice selection of wine bottles on display behind the counter so wine seemed the logical choice in such special surroundings. Unfortunately there is only one wine labelled vegan on the menu and we were informed that they didn't have any in stock because people tend not to choose it- go figure!!

They are obviously very vegan aware and surely we aren't the only vegans who like wine (they would have had some bottles left if this was the case).

Moving on to the food. We both had soup to start which was ok. I opted for the mushroom risotto for my main which was quite tasty and well presented. My partner was disappointed with his fish style tofu which was genuinely tasteless. The vegan caipirinha pie was tempting for dessert but we were too full to try it.

Our overall impression was disappointing, we had such great expectations and for us it felt too reserved, maybe it's just a matter of taste but we like places that have more atmosphere. I wouldn't say the staff were unfriendly but they weren't approachable and lacked warmth. It's also very expensive, particularly considering the quality of food and service on our visit.

I would like to try the restaurant again to give it another chance and being a wine lover I hope they have at least one vegan option available next time.

Pros: good vegan meal options , elegant interior

Cons: too serious, no vegan wine, very expensive

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Amazing - Edit

We almost didn't try out this restaurant during our trip to Porto because of some of the bad reviews from vegans here, and it being a bit far from our hotel. I am so happy we decided to try it after all. It was amazing. We had the vegan version of the Portuguese tasting menu. Everything was flavorful and beautiful. The staff were friendly and helpful. The building and decor were charming. Everything about this restaurant was perfect. Porto is a lovely city, but it would have been worth the trip from London just for this restaurant alone.

Pros: Excellent food, Attention to detail, Friendliness

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Really wonderful meal - Edit

Very nice decor, amazing glass work (my five year old loved the fish tank sink pump in the bathroom), and even better food! Worth the visit, and very helpful staff and attentive service. We had the asparagus appetizer and the mushroom ceviche, both great, the francesinha (I liked that it was not a faithful adaptation, the original is not such amazing cuisine...) and the "sem espinhas", which was a very creative nod to bacalhau, delicious in its own right. The options were mostly vegan, or easily adapted. My non-vegetarian father had no complaints (this is very high praise, my father complains a lot). The wine recommendation was good, and the caipirinha pie was divine.

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disappointing experience - Edit

My expectations were high for this one. The location and decor of the place are absolutely charming, so is the menu where almost every single item has "vegan option" as a side note. It's great to see variety and to feel like the kitchen is willing to adapt the dishes to fit your preferences.

However, that didn't seem to be the case. We ordered the vegan version of two dishes, and they both came "non-vegan" — mine with a poached egg, my mother's with cheese and cream. While we were waiting, we were also served an entree, courtesy of the chef, which had cheese in it. Now, we could simply just refuse it or send it back, but the problem here is that the staff assumed we ate cheese, even though we had just ordered the vegan option — which clearly flew over their heads. (Nothing that could justify that, it was a very slow day at lunch time.)

I was so disappointed by then that I didn't have the courage to rectify the waitress. I pushed the egg aside and went on eating. While the dish was pleasant, the flavours were trying too hard. Too saturated, far from the freshness you expect to taste in a dish that is mostly composed by vegetables. They used peppers everywhere, which was fairly uncreative and off-putting after a bit since peppers leave such a strong after-taste. Couldn't finish.

We tried the Caipirinha Pie for dessert and that won the whole lunch. It was lovely, nothing to point out.

Overall, I think they should be more careful about not crossing the vegan/vegetarian border. It also seems like they try too hard with some dishes but then fail with others, as I was reading other reviews about "bland tofu". Tofu is only tasteless if you have no idea what to do with it. And honestly, for how much they charge, they should.

Pros: charming place, a lot of variety, good portions

Cons: too expensive, got the order wrong, over-saturated flavours

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amazing vegetarian/vegan lunch buffet - Edit

For not much more than the standard vegan/veg lunch buffet prices in Porto (€24 including a coffee) we got amazing food on par with restaurants in NYC where we've paid four times as much. A starter pumpkin soup was super flavorful without any cream, the main was a grilled kebab with couscous (no sauce for the vegan version), and a raspberry cheesecake/vegan raspberry mousse. The service was kind and the waitress (who was vegan) was proactive in pointing how how a dish had been adapted.

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Esta bien pero muy caro - Edit

Se come bien pero no es para el precio que tiene.

Pros: tiene muchas opciones veganas.

Cons: es caro.

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classy restaurant in beautiful garden - Edit

This restaurant serves vegetarian versions of traditional Portuguese dishes. Quite fancy, also higher prices than you'd pay in the average vegetarian restaurant. But the service is good, the food tastes great and the garden is a peaceful place to sit :)

Pros: original Portuguese food made veggie, garden, classy

Cons: more expensive, outside the city center

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Nice lunch - Edit

We had lunch here and it was really nice. As I'm eating only fruits and vegetables at the moment for a detox, we asked them to make a salad for me which was not a problem at all and turned out really nice. The house is beautifully decorated and renovated and it has a beautiful garden. It's maybe a bit expensive but the food is really good. My boyfriend had the vegetable risotto and he really liked it as well. A nice restaurant in Porto!!!

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Expensive and not so tasty. - Edit

I went there for a Francesinha. It was not vegan as it came with an egg. I don't know if the error was mine for not asking...

The flavour is nothing special. For sure you would find much better vegetarian food in Porto.

Prices are quite expensive.

The location and decoration is very nice, but that's it.

Pros: location, decoration

Cons: price, not vegan

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Upscale Veggie Place - Edit

This place is quite fancy and the prices reflect that too.

I ordered the Francesinha which didn't look exactly as I expected it to with lettuce instead of vegan cheese and courgette and tofu instead of sausage. Overall, it was tasty and well-presented. My sister ordered the spineless tofu (which first of all, what is with that name? Everyone knows tofu doesn't have a spine and comparing it to fish is off-putting and not appealing) which was a bit strange. Again, it was very well-presented with petals and salad but unfortunately it tasted weird. I'm guessing they included some sort of fishy taste like nori but it really was just plain tofu cooked in the most simple way.

Still, I'd recommend this place if you've got extra euros and don't mind splashing out for a fancy lunch/dinner, but in my personal opinion, they shouldn't be charging that much for what I would describe as tasting half way between tasty and mediocre.

Pros: nice atmosphere/vibe, well-presented food (perfect for insta)

Cons: Taste was a bit meh., Expensive

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Not amazing anymore! - Edit

It used to be my favorite vegetarian restaurant in Porto. I live here so I usually eat there once in a while, both lunch and dinner.
The food was amazing with a concept that I liked (traditional portuguese food but vegetarian). I think with time they lost this concept (risotto isn't portuguese) and the prices are high now if we compare with the beginning and with food quality. The last 3 times I went there they also took really long to serve me and the place wasn't even full.
The place is amazing (no doubt about that), but I think they wanted to change to an elite restaurant and they forgot the rest.
There are some vegan options, but I would recommend for sure the francesinha (you have to ask the vegan option).

Pros: Beautiful Place

Cons: Price

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Vegetarian based - Edit

I went here because everything my Veggie friends told me about the place. The place is really beautiful and worth checking out on sunny days/weather to enjoy the garden.

As for the food, not that well as I expected.
The Vegan selection is a bit scarce, and not worthy desserts to have there too.
I've tried the "Francesinha" and was a poor one, with only Tofu and some grilled veggies in there. Not their strongest plate.

I've promised I will go there for a second time to check another plate.

Pros: Outdoor Garden, Nice place, Cousy and romantic

Cons: Expensive, Not that Vegan-Friendly as expected, Staff is a bit reserved

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Splendid - Edit

Definitely worth of visiting: the staff, atmosphere, surrounding, food as well - just excellent. The waitresses were absolutely terrific.

If you feel like having a different veg experience, go for Em Carne Viva. Vegan options were all good and next time I'll have the portion with seitan (Tasted it and it was unbeliveable!)

Will visit again.

Pros: Friendly staff, Great food for a good value, Cozy

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Em Carne Viva - You'll Be Sad To Leave Here - Edit

The restaurant garden area is totally lovely and relaxed; like you're getting to visit someone's tastefully kept home. The inside looked just as good, if it wasn't nice enough to sit out.

Service was exceptional. The food was well cooked, well presented and imaginative. We visited for the lunch menu which we found surprisingly excellent value.

Stepping into the restaurant from the busy Boulevard outside feels like entering a calm oasis. Highly recommended - we were sad to leave when the meal was over! What a great place.

Pros: Environment, Fresh interesting food, Top quality service

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Vegetariano de luxo - Edit

Adorei. Terminei a minha última noite do ano num local que me conquistou. Tudo aqui foi perfeito: o local, o conceito, o atendimento e a comida divinal.

Os donos do local são pessoas preocupadas e atenciosos pelo que estavam sempre a ver se estava tudo perfeito.E de facto foi.

Mesmo para um não vegetariano este é um espaço que eu recomendo porque é uma experiência para todos os sentidos e mais alguns. Espero voltar um dia, fora de uma época festiva, de maneira a que possa provar outros pratos.

Os pratos são luxuosos, preparados e confeccionados um a um com todo o rigor e qualidade.

Pros: Qualidade, Espaço, Atendimento

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Beautiful restaurant but disappointing food - Edit

Firstly I think the menus have been updated since previous reviewers visited, as vegan options are now labelled and the menu is in English.

The restaurant itself is beautifully decorated (although make sure you're looking for it on Avenida da Boavista rather than Rua da Boavista like we were...). The garden also looked really nice.

However, the food I felt unfortunately didn't quite live up to the expectations set by the surroundings. For starter I ordered 'Bulhao pato' mushrooms, which turned out to be mushrooms in a butter very garlicky which was OK but not amazing. To give you an idea of how garlicky apparently I still stank of mushrooms from several feet away hours later ): ): ):

For main I had the 'spineless tofu' (still have no idea what that is..) which I think also had a lot of garlic in it, but the tofu was cooked without any flavourings whatsoever. On a plus note though, the roast potatoes that came with it were great)

Some of the puddings sounded interesting, I would have loved to have tried the caprihana pie, however it wasn't vegan. The only vegan options were sliced fruit and fruit with yoghurt, which was really disappointing and felt really lazy in comparison to the non vegan options.

I was also disappointed to see
find out that there was only a single vegan wine on the menu which was a rose. At least one red and white option would have been appreciated.

However I should note that there was lots of choice among the staters and mains for vegans though.

Overall I don't think I would visit again

Pros: beautiful restaurant

Cons: disappointing wine and pudding options, weird bathroom arrangement , too much garlic

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