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Essencia

  • Veg-friendly
    ( 7 reviews )
Contact 351228301813
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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.

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

Reviews (7)

First Review by kandimba

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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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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