A beautiful Portuguese city, I have visited Porto twice now and on both occasions found the gluten free Porto scene totally manageable. Cross contamination risk is the main issue for coeliacs visiting Porto, as some places offering “gluten free” do not necessarily have good processes in place. Don’t fret though as I have done all the research and check lots of places out so that you don’t have to! With this gluten free Porto guide you can get on and enjoy your holiday without having to stress about where your next safe gluten free meal is coming from.
Porto really is a wonderful place to explore. The city is set on the river but also has beaches a short tram ride away. You can while away hours exploring the small cobbled streets on one side of the river then the grand roads flanked by tile-clad towered houses on the other. Our favourite area in Porto has always been down by the river. It is so pretty and is the perfect place to sit and grab a drink while you watch the world go by, then cross over to hike up the steep streets to some port houses.
Gluten Free Porto
I have broken my gluten free Porto guide down into sections for easy reference. You’ll find: some fully gluten free spots; Portuguese Coeliac Society (APC) accredited venues; very coeliac friendly ones; some that were recommended to me by coeliacs but that I did not try myself; and finally a couple that are gluten free but not for coeliacs. I’ve also added a note at the end about a couple of drinking spots we really liked, call it a bonus recommendation :).
Fully Gluten Free Porto
There is only one gluten free bakery in Porto at the moment, Com Cuore, but it is right in the centre of town and is a really reliable spot to grab some lunch or an afternoon treat. The cafe is tucked away just off one of the main streets in a courtyard. EVERYTHING is gluten free so it is perfect for nervous coeliacs not wanting to risk an mixed facility restaurants. You can either dine in or grab food to take away.
We tried their gluten free waffles (delicious), pancakes (huge, but the batter was quite thick so it was extremely filling), cakes and pastel de nata. You must try the latter as it is a classic Portuguese treat. A light pastry shell filled with set custard.
The food at Beiju is fully gluten free as they specialise in sweet and savoury tapioca crepes, which are naturally gluten free. It’s grab n go type food and makes for a perfect quick lunch. We had a nutella filled tapioca crepe and it was yummy!
This is not in Porto but is located in neighbouring town Braga, hence I am adding it here in case you are exploring the Douro valley or surrounding area by car during your trip. We did not have time to visit this fully gluten free bakery but it has recently opened and one of my followers who lives locally said it is amazing. She reckons it is actually even worth a trip all the way from Porto just to get your mitts on some of their tasty gluten free treats!
APC Accredited Gluten Free Porto
The APC is the Portuguese coeliac society and their accreditation of restaurants marks them as safe for coeliacs. There are a couple of restaurants in Porto that are certified by the APC (at the time of writing, March 2019) and we went to check them out.
A traditional Portuguese food restaurant to give you an authentic taste of Portugal. We didn’t try it but as it is coeliac society accredited we can assume it is a safe bet.
This is such a brilliant Italian restaurant located in North Porto. The incredibly friendly Italian owner showed me how they make gluten free pizza and pasta in their dedicated kitchen. The pizzas are there cooked in a mixed oven but on dedicated trays and on a net to ensure no cross contamination. Processes are very thorough and they are coeliac society accredited. Dine at this restaurant itself or grab a takeaway gluten free pizza and sit on the beach watching the waves.
The Gluten Free Store
A gluten free shop selling all sorts of gluten free products. It tends to look closed from the outside but ring the bell and someone will appear and let you in!
Coeliac Friendly Restaurants, Cafes & Takeaways in Porto
The following restaurants were able to cater for coeliacs when we visited. Please always do you own checks when you arrive in case processes have changed and do send me an email if you have a bad experience at any of these places so I can update the list.
Located quite centrally, this restaurant offers extensive gluten free choices and they are marked clearly on their menu. Book ahead if you want to try the gluten free version of Porto’s famous Francesinha dish (a huge sandwich filled with meat, topped with sauce, an egg and chips). They also have gluten free beer.
This was a random find but brilliant as my saving grace the day I was struggling to find a safe coeliac option near the Lello Library. They serve traditional pastel de bacalhau, a sort of cheese filled fishcake made with salt cod. It’s the only thing they make here so they are fully gluten free with a dedicated fryer. The guy at the till was very helpful and told me that to be extra careful they would make me one without the rice wafer on top (he said there was A very very small risk of cross contam during the manufacturing elsewhere of the wafers.
I had mine as a takeaway, you can also pair with Port or stay and sit in their library room upstairs (not pictured – the library pic below is the famous Lello Library).
The first time we visited Porto, my husband took me here for my birthday dinner and they were wonderful. Our visit was a few years ago but if you a looking for a special meal place then I recommend giving them a call. Be sure to book well in advance as it is one of Porto’s top restaurants.
A cool cafe/bike shop with gluten free options including gluten free bread. Staff were clued up about coeliac disease and said they could ensure prep was fully separate when informed.
We stumbled across this gluten free friendly spot by chance. They have loads of gluten free choices at this cafe focused on healthy food. Choices include tapioca crepes, gluten free pasta and even a gluten free kids menu with a few different lunch choices.
A coeliac friendly coffee shop/cafe with lots of gluten free options – lunch and cakes. They have a terrace out front and a cute garden out back. Very nice, modern, stylish interior. Also has some sugar free, vegan, dairy free options.
Contemporary Portuguese food. Quite sleek and nice looking. We didn’t try it but they do have various gluten free options and said they could cater for coeliacs.
This chain of burger restaurants was recommended to me as coeliac friendly but various Portuguese followers of my Instagram account. You will find them serving burgers in in loads of shopping centres across Portugal, including Porto.
The great news is that Portugal McDonald’s offers gluten free burger buns that are fully coeliac safe. This includes Big Macs! Their fries are also coeliac safe, as are some other items – use one of the large screens in-store to order and you can add a filter to show you which products are gluten free. They have strict processes to avoid cross contamination.
Shops & Supermarkets Offering Gluten Free Choices
This general supermarket offers a good variety of gluten free products, although mainly scattered around the store so it took me a while to find things. I think the large branches have a dedicated section.
Lots and lots of gluten free choice here. I found gluten free croissant, little Schar sweet brioche buns and all the usual gluten free groceries you might need for a self catering holiday.
A great city supermarket chain for picking up gluten free products. They also have a hot and takeaway food counter with loads of gluten free options. HOWEVER, coeliacs beware as every gluten free takeaway food item has a “not suitable for coeliacs” warning. I think they are simply being overly-cautious but I did not risk trying. A shame as the food looks good – hot lunchboxes with chicken and rice, chia pudding and rich chocolate mousse. Up to you to decide whether you want to try it or not.
A health food chain with lots of gluten free products found all over Portugal. There are a couple of these stores in Porto.
Some Other Gluten Free Options to Explore
Some additional places that were recommended to me by coeliac followers but that I was not able to check out for myself (as they were closed or out of our way):
A traditional Portuguese restaurant that offers some gluten free options. It was recommended to me by a follower but we did not get the chance to try it.
A vegan restaurant with gluten free options.
Restaurante Pedro Limao
A quaint but lovely-looking restaurant off the main tourist trail that offers gluten free choices. There’s also a very cool coffee shop next door to it called Combi Coffee.
A coeliac follower recommended this restaurant to me but it was closed as we could only pop by during the daytime. It looked pretty on the outside though :).
The same coeliac follower also recommended Boa-Bao. Pan-Asian cuisine and they have a chunky allergens menu, which is helpful to be able to refer too. A couple of dishes were naturally gluten free but I understand they can adapt some others to widen the choice.
A hip Mexican spot that is open from 8pm for dinner. Looks very cool and was recommended to me as coeliac friendly.
A little restaurant down a side street to the right hand side of the main station. I was told they offer amazing gluten free food and as it is so central it might be worth investigating. I missed this one by mistake!
Gluten Free But NOT Suitable for Coeliacs
A vegan buffet restaurant chain. They do offer various gluten free choices, including pancakes, but they state that their food is not suitable for coeliacs due to cross contamination.
This place looks so promising on the outside, with big “gluten free” writing in the window but DO NOT BE DECEIVED. I was not at all happy when we visited as the guy was quite rude and patronising about coeliacs – telling me there might be gluten in the air etc. Please avoid are their crepes, although gluten free, are not suitable for coeliacs according to Mr Rude.
A Couple of Drinking Recommendations
Taylors Port House
Obviously there are loads of wonderful Port houses to be explored but the Taylor’s one has a lovely outdoor terrace and garden (with peacocks) perched up on the hillside. Perfect for a relaxing sunny afternoon.
Cookery at back of Workshops Popup
And if it rains…like it did on us for two days…I loved this hipster drinking spot. They have absolutely no gluten free food but it’s a very cool concept store with a bar and cafe at the back. We had some deliciously chilled sparkling wine while waiting for a rainstorm to pass. The building is an old converted metalworks and staff there are so friendly and welcoming.
If you found this gluten free Porto guide useful then be sure to check out some of my other coeliac travel guides:
Safe travels! x