Review: Bake the Difference – Lisbon, Portugal

After returning from our awesome vacation to Portugal (see photos and what we did here), life has been hella busy, thus my patheticly infrequent posts of late. Hopefully I’ll find the time to get back up to speed soon!

In between life’s hecticness, I did manage to squeeze in some time to go through photos from our trip and wanted to share one of our favorite restaurants. It’s called Bake the Difference and it’s an entirely vegan restaurant in downtown Lisbon. It’s in a great location and the food is warm-in-your-tummy hometown-good.

Particularly the empanadas. They were off the hook! Not only was the filling tasty, but the best part was the crust. In all of our empanada-consuming years, we’ve only come across ones with a heavy, doughy crust and, don’t get me wrong, they too have been fantastic, but the light, melt-in-your-mouth crust of these were an awesome change. It’s not that it was thin or flaky, just light and delicious in a way that didn’t weigh you down. Alex could eat three or four of them in a sitting and still have room for another dish and a dessert!

The ones above were filled with red bell pepper, seitan, and coriander.

While this one was carrot leek. Again, all of them were delicious and at 1.50 Euros each you cannot beat the price!

Their salads were also good and a very welcome change from the desiccated, cardboard treats we’d been served by Air France the prior 24 hours. This particular salad was specially created by the owner for me. That was the other noteworthy thing about Bake the Difference is that the owner, waitstaff, and cooks, all of whom we interacted with, were such wonderful, friendly people. So wonderful, in fact, that I ended up leaving a 33% tip—they totally deserved it!

For dessert we had to try the salame de chocolate. Yes, that’s right CHOCOLATE SALAMI! It’s a traditional Portuguese dessert and is a gooey-chocolatey slab with bits of cookie crumbles mixed in, which resemble the white fat in salami. I know these photos don’t provide the best view of the entire slab, but you can kind of see the similarity, no?

I have big plans for chocolate salami and am going to try recreating it this weekend. I will definitely share how it turns out!

Bake the Difference also does amazing juices. We had a fantastic carrot-apple-ginger juice as well as fresh-squeezed orange juice.

As if the chocolate salami was not enough, we ordered more dessert—a chocolate cake with strawberry filling. And since I am dreadfully afflicted with an ice cream addiction and was dying to try the non-dairy ice creams of Portugal, I had to order a scoop of raspberry swirl on the side.

It was soy-based and had a super creamy consistency—very, very good. The cake, too, was amazing, but left Alex with an itchy mouth after discovering the frosting was topped with hazelnuts, not peanuts. D:

Vegan Portuguese Seafood Mushroom Dish

On another visit to Bake the Difference, we had this sauteed mushroom and garlic dish over rice. The owner explained that it’s based on a traditional Portuguese seafood dish, which was why we decided to give it a try even though neither of us are huge mushroom fans. The plate went back to the kitchen empty, which says a lot for a mushroom-hater (Alex) and a mushroom meh-er (me.)

On another occasion we tried the vegan hot dog, which was solid. A fairly standard veggie dog with a dazzling array of toppings.

On our last day in Lisbon I finally had my beloved plain Provamel soy yogurt. I absolutely adore this stuff—it’s tart and tangy just like plain yogurt should be and I look forward to having it every trip to Europe. It’s similar to Whole Soy Plain Unsweetened and Wildwood Plain Unsweetened found in the states as well as Plain Sojade, which is another brand found in Europe. They’re all amazing, yet slightly different.

Raspberry and French Vanilla Soy Ice Cream

Also, on our last day, I was forced to get a couple scoops of ice cream—this time French vanilla in additional to another scoop of raspberry swirl. And then I was, god forbid, forced to eat it all. Tragedy! 😛

Alex ordered a slice of carrot cake, which turned out to be a major bummer of a slice. Not because it wasn’t super delicious (because it was!), but rather because instead of making it with almonds like they usually do, that day it was made with walnuts. It took us awhile to figure out what exactly he was allergic to because, in addition to the unusual substitution of walnuts for almonds, the Portugese word for walnut (“noz”) is often used to refer to nuts in general and also appears in the word “noz-moscada” (nutmeg!), which the cake did contain. The scene somewhat resembled a Monty Python sketch! But the good thing is that his walnut allergy isn’t terribly severe and after taking a Claritin he was fine for the rest of the day.

Bake the Difference Lisbon Portugal

Here’s a shot of what it looks like when you enter. It’s such a cute little cafe and, I swear, it’s always busy—clearly a popular place in the neighborhood and, I’d imagine, a Lisbon attraction for vegan tourists like us.

Everyone at the restaurant was so apologetic about the nut mix-up. The cook, who happens to be from California, even came out of the kitchen to tell us how sorry he was (did I mention the people there are awesome? Because they are!) and that he wanted to give us a couple slices of chocolate salami for the road. And when delicious chocolate salami in a cute little to-go bag is being presented to us, how can we refuse?

Five stars all-around for the stellar food, service, atmosphere, and price at Bake the Difference!

Bake the Difference Lisbon Portugal

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14 Responses to Review: Bake the Difference – Lisbon, Portugal

  1. My mouth is WATERING! I have always wanted to go to Portugal JUST TO EAT!!! And this post is making that trip even more “urgent”! Hahaha … Bookmarking this! Thanks Christina!

  2. Dana says:

    It’s so awesome to have a vegan go-to restaurant on the road! I can’t even count the number of times I’ve ended up with plain bread and MAYBE a cucumber slice for dinner. 😦 Prague has a decent place called “Country Life”, but it’s more a pay-by-weight buffet style restaurant. Bake the Difference sounds incredible!

    • Christina says:

      I agree, Dana! And we’ve been pretty successful at finding solid vegan restaurants wherever we travel. I mostly find myself in the bread/cucumber situation you mention when I’m following non-veggie friends to an un-veggie friendly restaurant.
      Actually, in Prague we ate at a couple delicious veggie restaurants. I took photos of one of them, Lehka hlava (Clear Head), and have them loaded to Flickr here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fruitofadventure/4732319902/in/set-72157624352189238/
      Did you try this place when you were there?

      • Dana says:

        We didn’t! It looks AMAZING, though– that private dining area is unreal!

        We’ll have to make a point to get there the next time we go. We cooked a lot for ourselves in Prague and then had a pretty difficult time finding veg-friendly restaurants once we were into the smaller towns. 😦

      • Christina says:

        Bummer to hear about the unveg-friendlyness of the smaller towns. We definitely found Prague to be very veg-friendly with a number of veggie restaurants and lots of natural food stores. Do you visit there often?

      • Dana says:

        Not really. Marty grew up there but we haven’t made it back since 2006! Hopefully we’ll make it back there some time soon. 🙂

      • Christina says:

        Really cool that Marty grew up there! My grandfather was half Czech and studied dermatology at the University in Prague so I have some roots there as well. Yes, hopefully, you can make a trip back there soon!!!

  3. Robin says:

    It all sounds yummy (making me hungry!), but I can’t wait to see what you do with the chocolate salami. 🙂

    • Christina says:

      Haha! You and me both, Robin!! I’m working on it. I gave it a whirl this past weekend, but it definitely still needs some tweaks. I will definitely post about it when I get the right formula 🙂

  4. Rebecca says:

    Wow! All the food looks so amazing. Let me know when you get the chocolate salami worked out!

  5. kat says:

    hi 🙂 oh your pictures bring back all the sweet memories of bake the difference. my boyfriend and i have been to lisbon last decembre and are going there again this november because we loved it so much. and truly, one of our main reasons for returning there is this wonderful little place. *counting days till november :))
    thank you for this nice review!!

    • Christina says:

      Thanks for your lovely comment, Kat! It truly is a wonderful little place and warrants a trip to Lisbon just for that dining experience 🙂 I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed it as much as we did and I’m envious that you already have another trip lined-up to go there in November!

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