Eating is more than just feeding our bodies, eating is also about creating social connections. After all, it is around the table that families get together, couples meet for the first time, and deals close. But in the meantime, people find it difficult to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet when they need to eat out.

Inês Nunes and Bruno Rafael realised that when they decided to become vegetarian years ago on a year-long trip around the world. “When we started our trip, we decided to follow a vegetarian diet and we enjoyed it a lot. However, it was not always easy to get a vegetarian meal in some countries we visited”, they said.

For that reason, a year later, when they returned, the couple left their corporate and busy life behind and started a new chapter of their lives away from Lisbon and decided to set up a new vegetarian and vegan restaurant in Portimão – The Balance Café.

Mouthwatering vegetarian and vegan meals!

At Balance Café, you can start your day with a healthy breakfast such as a yogurt bowl with granola and fruit or perhaps banana pancakes or having a perfect lunch (vegan or vegetarian) as we had the luck to relish.

To begin with, our vegetarian meal, we’ve tasted a delicious goats cheese baked with apple, honey and walnuts as a starter, which we loved as this mix creates an interesting harmony of flavours. Inês prepares all the dishes with love, her creative and well-prepared dishes are the delight of all customers.

Then we tried a vegetarian wrap with goats cheese and pesto and Mexican quesadillas (there is also a vegan option without the cheese), which we accompanied with healthy juices. All with a presentation that will make your eyes sparkle.

The main course was followed by a vegan version of Portuguese Serradura (sawdust pudding). It was so similar to the traditional one that it's almost hard to believe that it didn't have eggs or milk.

It’s not just about food

Eating vegetarian or vegan food is not just about the food itself, it's also about sustainable lifestyle. Anyone can come in to have a tasty and healthy meal, but also to enjoy the space and stay there for a while reading a book, working or just playing with the lovely cats that live there.

When you come in, you can find some vegetables for sale, which they use in the kitchen to prepare the meals. Ugly indeed, like all truly organic vegetables from sustainable and local agriculture, but 100 percent healthy.

Plant-based food

Inês Nunes and Bruno Rafael really want to prove that eating vegetarian or vegan can be flavoursome. “Our goal is to be a gateway for those who are not vegetarians. A lot of people immediately think, ‘oh no, this is vegetarian or vegan, so I don't like it’. But then, there are clients that change their mind after trying it.”

“Our dishes are all made from daily ingredients that people already usually eat, our diet is all plant-based, because we want to show that we can eat without including that part of animal protein. We've shied away from all different things such as tofu, seitan, etc, and the feedback we get is that everyone is enjoying it a lot”.

The Balance Café is currently open from Monday to Sunday, 9:30 am to 4:00 pm, but over November the hours will be extended for dinner.

Find all their delicious meals on their Instagram at


Paula Martins is a fully qualified journalist, who finds writing a means of self-expression. She studied Journalism and Communication at University of Coimbra and recently Law in the Algarve. Press card: 8252

Paula Martins