• Veg-options Veg-options
    ( 11 reviews )

Rua Pedro Hispano, 1190, Porto, Portugal, 4150-123

Serves meat, vegan options available. Gourmet vegetarian restaurant with non-vegetarian options. Offers vegan main course options. Open Mon-Sat 12:30pm-3:00pm, Mon-Thu 8:00pm-10:30pm.

Categories: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Ovo, Beer/Wine, Portuguese, Non-veg

11 Reviews

First Review by kandimba

good but... - Edit

I liked the menu but this is not a vegetarian resturant, vegetarian comes from the vegetable palavre and meat or milk is not vegetable, this is something used to manipulate and profit from animal suffering.

Pros: good meal

Cons: animal suffering, animal exploration

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Great, but why have any meat on the menu? - Edit

We have frequented many veg and vegan restaurants and this one is a step above. Great food and excellent service. Very professional. The entire place was reserved at 8 pm, so make a reservation. Prices were excellent, with each appetizer or desert about €4-5 and entrees €10-12. I did find it odd that they had a fish and meat section, something I have never seen on a "veg" menu. They don't need meat on the menu when food this great, and I would suggest they axe that part of their menu. As a vegan and veg family, it is hard to find a great place to eat when traveling. We loved this place (but, again, why are there 5 meat dishes on the menu)? If there was no meat on the menu, it would be 5⭐️

Pros: service , atmosphere , vegan options

Cons: meat on the menu (wtf?), meat on the menu (wtf?), meat on the menu (wtf?)

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fine food and dining - Edit

This is a very special restaurant, the interior is beautiful and it's certainly somewhere you can bring others who you want to impress. It's disappointing that they have a small selection of meat/ dead animals on the menu and the vegan options for the mains could be better, there were 2 vegan mains and 1 vegan option on the night we visited, the only omission needed for some of the meals was butter so it wouldn't be difficult to expand their vegan choices but saying that I wouldn't have changed my choice of meal even if the restaurant was fully vegan, I opted for the seitan steak in an almond sauce with potato and garlic infused spinach which was amazing, it blew me away and I ate my meal as slow as possible to make it last. The staff were very friendly and professional and I would definitely recommend.

Pros: delicious food

Cons: serves meat , few vegan mains

1 Response
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Happy Veg Man 30 Apr 2017 - Agree 100% with this review. Had the same dish. Great prose.  

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Is that a Chevy 69? - Edit

This place is rather bizarrely billed as a vegetarian restaurant with meat options. How bizarre, how bizarre. However, it has a fantastic reputation so we decided to explore this residential neighbourhood that seems to specialise in laundromats and washing machine sales. Even on a Monday night Essencia was very busy. I would say reservations are recommended. That's exactly why I emailed them a week previously. The interior is dark, plush and red, I loved it. Whilst the vegan options are not in abundance, they really know how to impress vegan diners. Give me a seitan and potato combination any time and I will be happy. Tonight I was quite speechless at the quality of the food. The seitan steak separated delicately with gentle persuasion from the fork and the sturdy roast potato and garlic mash helped absorb the delicious creamy sauce. At €11 for a main course and €8 for a bottle of house wine this is a gourmet experience that will not cripple the defence unlike Arsenal's who succumbed 3 goals to Crystal Palace the very same evening. A little out of the city centre but certainly manageable on the Porto metro and some careful negotiation of the CityMaps2Go app. Worth a visit if in Porto even just for a few days.

Pros: quality of food, lovely interior, very friendly staff

Cons: meat served

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Very tasty vegan food! - Edit

When I go to this restaurant, I always go with my parents (my father never eats vegan meals!). If this is the case, this restaurant is the best option. Very (!) good vegan main courses and delicious vegan desserts (they have a couple of). The restaurant room is very pretty and the garden very cozy.

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Nice place, food is OK - Edit

A high-end vegetarian restaurant, prices are OK. We expected more from food.
Overall OK, but will not return.

Pros: ambience

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Upscale dining - Edit

We typically seek out Vegan restaurants to ensure we have options and were looking for a little more fine dining experience. The vegan options are labeled. The entrees are limited with vegetable option, tofu option and setain option. They offer pasta dishes, but no vegan options. We found the portions in Portugal were enough to share. We split a spinach "sausage"(hazelnuts) in filo dough. Was excited to find they had created a dish using nuts as the "meat". Most dishes we had in Portugal used seitan as the "meat". Shared the avocado coconut soup. As expected it was on the sweet side. Was craving a little red pepper and should have asked. This was the first time we had found avocado on a menu. For our entree we went for the vegetable dish. Typical curry, was tasty but nothing special.

They have outdoor seating with a lovely garden surrounded by residential buildings(houses and apartments). If it's chilly for you outside, they offer brightly colored blankets.

Enjoyed the more fine dining experience compared to the more casual restaurants we had been dining in. Was a nice change.

Pros: Fine dining experience. , Outdoor seating with romantic feel. , Vegan options are identified.

Cons: No vegan pasta options.

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Overall decent experience - Edit

This restaurant has a nice atmosphere and a fancy touch to it. The décor is modern and chic. The staff is friendly, professional and the service is attentive. There is also a patio in the back where you can choose to dine if the weather allows it. The prices are reasonable; our meal consisting of two apps, two entrées, and a glass of wine set us back only €36. The apps—an avocado soup and a salad—were pretty good, but the main courses were underwhelming, which was the only thing keeping this place from a higher rating. My "tofu triangles with cardamom sauce and potatoes" was just that. The tofu slices were bland, too thin and soft. Not properly prepped. My partner's "seitan steaks and spinach with a Madeira wine sauce" wasn't any better. I've never been a big fan of seitan steaks, so it could probably be just me. These were very thin and spongy/soggy. The sauce was too mellow for my liking. We skipped dessert because all they had for vegans were fruit and sorbet. Considering five cows is the best rating for non-vegetarian restaurants, a three seems fair here.

Pros: service, décor, value

Cons: middling main dishes

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Needs more vegan options - Edit

The food is delicious but this restaurant sure needs more vegan options! It's an excellent place to bring your non-veg friends and convince them to try a vegetarian dish ;)

Pros: Decoration, Delicious

Cons: Price, Needs more vegan options

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Good Experience - Edit

I have had only one experience at Essencia, in October 2014. I decided to try it on a visit to Porto based on various online comments. I was not disappointed. From start to finish, the quality of the food was very good. We both started with the pumpkin soup which was light in texture and subtly but deliciously flavored. I had the black-eyed pea dish which was very satisfying though the rice was a bit perfunctory. My wife had a risotto which was also very good. Our accompanying wine, chosen after sampling a couple of selections, was likewise delicious. Dessert was also of a high level, my wife's "Essence of Chocolate" was one of the best deserts we have ever tasted in a restaurant. I did not find the pricing to be unfair, as another reviewer has suggested.

My only complaints are that the staff was a little cool by Portuguese standards and one of our servers apparently had a cold and proceeded to blow her nose and sneeze without washing her hands in between our courses! Also, given the excellent bean cuisine of Portugal, some feijao Catarino and/or Encarnado-based dishes should be available.

In summary, Essencia is a a very good restaurant which I can strongly recommend and I will return on my next visit to Porto.

Pros: Great food, Great wine, Attractive and comfortable space

Cons: Staff a bit aloof, Needs more bean-based entrees

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Good vegetarian food but not my first choice - Edit

The vegetarian food here is usually great and I go there a lot. Still, it isn't on my recommendations list, for two reasons:
1 - Unless you go there for the economic lunch menu (about 8€) it is really expensive.
2 - Despite being labelled as a vegetarian restaurant, it actually has more meat than veg dishes. Also, it can be hard to find vegan options.

Pros: Good food

Cons: Expensive, Non-veg

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Globuli64 20 Jan 2015 - This has really changed, lots of vegetarian choices and few non veg options! Good quality food and not expensive.  

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