Monday, May 9, 2011

DaTerra

DaTerra has been my favorite Porto area restaurant. Technically in Matosinhos, DaTerra is a fantastic vegan and vegetarian restaurant. Matosinhos is known for its accessible beaches. I recommend seeing the beach before eating at DaTerra. If you're like me you'll eat so much you couldn't fathom walking more than 100 meters. Similar views pictured below await you in Matosinhos.
DaTerra is my favorite restaurant for several reasons. One, the food is amazing and colorful. Two, it's buffet style with wide ranging options. Third, it's super affordable. Lunch is €6.50, dinner is €8.50. Drinks and dessert are extra. They offer wine, beer, fresh juice drinks, teas and more. Fourth, the space is inviting.
These tables are near the restaurant's entrance. It's a small space used effectively. They're also willing to work with large groups. These are some Porto and Lisbon dancers after the Porto Aerials Workshop. Do you see the first well lit white space on the left hand side? That area features select merchandise that I think are made by local artisans. Everything is very clean here, the staff is efficient, the colors simple.

Waitstaff will come over eventually, like the green polo shirt attired gentleman, to see if you'd like a drink. Otherwise, you can order drinks and desserts at the counter located to the right of the picture. Once you're finished eating, you will also pay at the counter.
Since the restaurant is buffet style, you can start dining once you're settled at your table.The food has been different every time I've dined. The one consistent menu item would be bread. Grab your plate, small or big, or bowl at the counter and dive in! Cold food is at this above countertop. There are olive oils, black peppercorn and a few other spices there too. Hot food is at the counter keeping warm under their coverings. They also have a daily soup option. Soup is huge here in Portugal especially caldo verde com chouri├žo. 
Just look at the food! It's tastefully arranged, colorful, and varied. You have quiches, curried tofu, rice, bread, pasta, red hummus and capers topping thinly sliced vegetables, vegetarian sushi rolls crusted with sesame, beet/carrot/mango/strawberry salad, and more. It looks so pleasing to eat. How could a person resist these delectable options?
Then you have dessert which can be ordered at the counter where they are displayed. The above selection is manga (mango) and tofu. They also regularly have a fruit pie and chocolate desserts. I've heard they have an amazing vegan flourless chocolate cake. The mango and tofu blended well together. You could really taste the fruit as the tofu didn't overpower the taste buds. The dessert cost €3.

If you visit Porto, go to DaTerra especially if you're a vegetarian or vegan.


Final note: Most of my vegetarian restaurant experience has come via the Mercury Cafe in Denver, CO. Comparisons arise as a result. If you like cheesecake, don't order the Merc's "cheese"cake. All you can taste is the soy unless it's covered in a fruit compote. DaTerra's tofu desserts taste like fruit and keep their structure. The Merc's cooked vegetables can range from mushy to hard in one dish. DaTerra's mixed vegetable dishes retain their consistency. The Merc's design seemingly revels in chaos. DaTerra features simple lines and cleanliness. The Merc's waitstaff is inefficient. You might feel ignored at times. It's not just you. DaTerra's staff is accessible and friendly even if you butcher Portuguese words.

1 comment:

  1. I was never that impressed with Merc food. Only ate it when I was starving and couldn't dance straight.

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