Just like in Lisbon, I found eating gluten-free and vegan in Porto a little bit of a struggle. It wasn’t terrible but it did take that extra bit of research and walking to discover somewhere I could happily eat. That’s probably the key thing here: happily. I’m pretty picky and would rather keep walking than stop somewhere I don’t like the look of. This does drive my partner a little crazy sometimes, but when I have limited time in a city I want to make sure I’m discovering the best places and not constantly compromising on what and where I eat. That’s why I do all this research. That’s how I started doing Minka Guides.
However, it doesn’t always work and my first morning in Porto was a tough one as some places weren’t open and all the nice-looking cafes didn’t do anything gluten-free. I got hungry and a little upset, but it made me research more that afternoon and I ended up finding some great options for the rest of my trip. To be fair, most bog-standard breakfast places appeared to do omelettes and I’m told by a local that most meat dishes are served with rice here, so it is probably possible to go to a typical restaurant and speak with the staff (don’t forget to take a gluten-free restaurant card). But I much prefer to visit a city armed with a selection of places to eat that I know will understand my needs. So here you go!
I also used to be vegan for a few years and there’s a lot of similarities here in the struggle to find places to eat when travelling. I often look for vegan-friendly places as their menus (and staff) are usually very mindful of gluten-free options. Add to that the fact that my partner is vegetarian and you see why my travel maps pick out loads of gluten-free and veggie options! So I’ve included my vegan finds on this list too. I hope this helps you have a delicious time in Porto and if you have any recommendations, please do comment below so I can check them out next time! 👇
Black Mamba was recommended to me by my non-vegan friend Tom, so I figured if a meat-eater liked this place, it must be good! The restaurant is a little bit of a walk out of the touristy medieval area but seeing how small Porto is, that isn’t far. It’s is also a record store with that hardcore/straight edge/vegan chic look about it… which basically means all the interiors were black and minimalist. The staff were friendly and went through the whole menu with me to ensure I was clear what was and wasn’t gluten-free, which I really appreciated. It wasn’t very busy but it was a Thursday night in January so I don’t think anywhere would be that busy.
The menu is largely classic burgers and fries; all options are vegan and a couple are gluten-free, including the spicy 666 which I had. The gluten-free buns were really soft, the burger was delicious and I would definitely come back here!
Total cost for burger + gluten-free bun + fries + small sparkling water = €9.
I stumbled across this veggie buffet restaurant when I was walking around the central area on my first full day. A buffet restaurant doesn’t normally excite me but DaTerra looked so nice inside I immediately went back to my hostel and Googled if it was gluten-free friendly. Turns out, it is and I had the best meal of my entire trip here! When I arrived, the restaurant was pretty full with some tables reserved (definitely worth doing in peak season I would say) but I managed to find a little table just for me. I asked one of the staff members if they could show me which dishes were gluten-free and she disappeared for 5 minutes only to return with a full list from the kitchen and talked me through everything in the buffet. The staff were extraordinarily helpful so if you have multiple allergies, this is somewhere I would feel very safe to eat.
I ended up eating SO MUCH that I had to cancel all my party plans for that night as all I could do was waddle back to my hostel. The food was that tasty I actually had closed eyes ‘mmmm’ moment when I tasted one of the dishes. I went back to the buffet twice and had soup, which I thought was great for about €10 (at lunch it’s around €8). Plus, the restaurant’s interiors are so lovely I would definitely come back here for a nice meal, share a bottle of wine (and stuff myself silly).
Total cost for buffet + dessert + tea + large sparkling water = €18.
I discovered this place by using the #glutenfreeporto tag on Instagram. The lovely @Samidm13 recommended it and I was super keen to eat some crepes after seeing her picture. The best thing about this place was that not only were the savoury crepes gluten-free (which is pretty standard as they traditionally use buckwheat flour for these) but the sweet ones were too! So guess what that meant: I headed here for dinner one evening, and then came back for breakfast the following morning!
Whilst this is a takeaway spot, there is enough room for 3-4 people to eat in. Plus they have free wifi so you can map out your next move whilst grabbing a quick (and budget-friendly) eat. None of the pizza is gluten-free but they do have vegan cheese as an option for pizza, so this is a great place for veggies too. The best thing about this place is that it’s open 7 days, so if you get stuck on a Sunday when everything is shut, head here for a feed. Plus they’re open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays so you can get a late-night fix too.
Portugal is renowned for having the best chocolate cake in the world so it’s tough to visit here and not get to try some bolo de chocolate. If you’re venturing out to see the Casa de la Musica then make a beeline for the cute Casinha Boutique Cafe a block or two along Avenida da Boavista.
Whilst it doesn’t have many gluten-free options, it does have ‘bolo sem gluten’ – so I felt I had to try some with my breakfast. Aside from salads, the only other gluten-free option they were serving that morning was an acai berry bowl (fruit, yoghurt and an acai berry sorbet) that usually comes with granola, which was delicious. Unfortunately, the savoury crepes do contain gluten and whilst this healthy cafe has a number of vegetarian options, I couldn’t see anything I thought was potentially vegan aside from the lactose-free frappes and milkshakes. However, the cafe itself is lovely with a small amount of seating in the front and a very charming, sun-light parlour at the back (which was perfect on a wintery day) which leads out onto a garden that must be fantastic in the summer. This cafe is far away from the touristy area so is mainly filled with locals, which is a big selling point for me.
So I only discovered this restaurant after I had left Porto (isn’t it always the way?). Like Casinha above, Lupin is a little way out of the touristy medieval area but it definitely looks like it’s worth the walk. I found this on Vegan Miam‘s article about vegan restaurants in Porto and was impressed that pretty much everything on their menu is ‘sem gluten’ too! I’ll definitely be making a beeline to eat here next time I visit. Hopefully, it won’t be too long!