The wealthy oceanside town of Cascais is known for it’s beautiful beaches and high priced housing market, but there’s also a great restaurant in an amazing setting that serves top-notch vegetarian dishes.
House of Wonders
It’s not always easy to eat healthy when dining out in Portugal. So, when I find healthy food that is beautifully presented and delicious, I jump on board!
House of Wonders in Cascais is one of those places that hits on all those criteria. Everything they serve is vegetarian and there are also many vegan options!
Walking in, you realize you’re in for a different experience. Instead of a normal menu, a large table is set up with all the dishes on offer that day. Not pictures of the dishes, but the actual dishes. Ask as many questions are you like and the friendly staff will be happy to answer. Make your selection and the kitchen will prepare your dish on the spot.
I can’t recommend a specific dish because the menu changes daily, but the Buddha Bowl and Mushroom Crepe are both quite outstanding.
After dinner, you can select a dessert from the dessert table. Delicious!
There’s a large outdoor seating area across from the entrance at House of Wonders. It’s very nice, but I suggest you walk upstairs and sit in the intimate rooftop dining area.
After Dinner Drinks
Hotel Baia is just a 3 minute walk from House of Wonder. On the 5th floor is a sophisticated rooftop bar overlooking the beach and harbor. This is a fantastic place to enjoy a drink and chat (as long as the DJ isn’t cranking the music too loud).
Other Things to Do in Cascais
There are several beautiful beaches in Cascais, including Praia da Rainha.
There’s also a place called the Boca do Inferno (The Mouth of Hell), a rock formation on the shore of Atlantic Ocean that attracts visitors from around the world.
This part of Portugal is exposed to the full force of the Atlantic Ocean. As such, waves crash against the outcroppings and shore with erosion causing cool rock formations. Long ago, water cut into the rocks, making a sea cave. Eventually, the cave collapsed and all that is left is the opening, now a rock arch.
At high tide, the waves hit with extra force, often splashing high into the air.
Sunset is another especially good time to visit.
Be careful if you visit as rogue waves have taken people from their observation spot and dragged them to a watery demise.
You can take a bus (M27) from Cascais to Boca do Inferno. But, it’s less than a mile to walk and along the way there’s the Museu Condes de Castro Guimarães and park as well as the Santa Marta Lighthouse and museum. That’s why I prefer to walk.
Getting to Cascais
From Lisbon, Cascais is an easy trip. It takes about 45 minutes on the train which starts at the Cais do Sodre station. It’s impossible to get lost because the train route starts in Lisbon and ends in Cascais, just get off at the end of the line.
I do not recommend driving to Cascais. You’ll probably get there quicker than the train but parking is difficult, if not impossible, especially during the busy summer season.
While taking the train to Cascais is easy, I like to get off early at the Estoril station. From there it’s steps to the beach and the Estoril promenade. Strolling along the waterfront from Estoril to Cascais only takes about 25 minutes; that is unless you stop for a drink at one of the many beach bars or restaurants.
About the Author
Brent Petersen is the Editor-in-Chief of Destination Eat Drink. He currently resides in Setubal, Portugal. Brent has written the novel “Truffle Hunt” (Eckhartz Press) and the short story collection “That Bird.” He’s also written dozens of foodie travel guides to cities around the world on Destination Eat Drink, including in-depth eating and drinking guides to Lisbon, Porto, Sintra, Monsaraz, and Evora in Portugal. Brent’s podcast, also called Destination Eat Drink, is available on all podcast platforms.