Traveling to Lisbon with Food Allergies

A city known for its coastal locale, stunning tiles and panoramic views, Lisbon is an absolutely must. The first time I traveled there was to attend an education conference. It was a quick three-day trip. I found that traveling to Lisbon with food allergies was a bit challenging, especially with a fish and shellfish allergy. At the time, I was living and teaching fourth grade at an international school in Italy.  Although back for another conference this time,  I remained optimistic that I would have the chance to explore more of the city and find some safer dining options, and I did.  I experienced some new areas and I was able to eat more easily this time around.

How to Get There:

I flew from Boston to Lisbon on TAP Portugal. It was an easy and unremarkable flight. I ate ahead and the flight was only six and half hours, so I slept through most of it. Before boarding I asked if they were passing out bags of nuts and they said no, so I was comfortable with that. I occasionally ask to pre-board if it is an end-of-day flight but that is pretty much the only accommodation I ever ask for.

Side Note:

To read more about how I fly safely and the need for consistent policies, take a look at this post.

Where to Stay:

Typically I would stay in an AirBnb, but because of the way this conference was structured and its location, we had more difficulty finding a good apartment option. Therefore, we ended up at two different hotels.

  • Tivoli Oriente Lisboa Hotel – This hotel is located in the Parque das Nações neighborhood of Lisbon and by the Lisbon Exhibition and Congress Centre on Rua do Bojador, Parque das Nacoes. It is about 30 minutes outside of the city center. There is a large shopping mall with a grocery store right across the street. A walking/biking path runs along the Taugus River and also has a number of restaurants and bars running along it.
  • Eurostars Museum Hotel – This hotel is beautifully decorated and in an ideal area of the city to explore. It’s housed in an old historic building that has an archeological exhibition as well. The staff at the front desk were wonderful with recommending restaurants that they thought would accommodate my allergies. I would definitely return here for my next stay in Lisbon.

Where to Eat & Drink:

Grocery Store:

When I was staying in the Parque das Nações neighborhood, I went to the grocery store that is located in the lower level of the shopping mall. To see a video of what I found, go to my Instagram highlights here.

Restaurants

  • Capricciosa– An Italian restaurant along the Taugus River. The food was okay and they were able to work with my food allergies. If you are in the
    Parque das Nações area, it is a decent choice.
  • Cantina Ze Avillez – One of the restaurants owned and run by celebrity chef, Jose Avillez. Chef Carlotta was wonderful and took my allergies seriously. She made my food safe and delicious. When I was looking this up to link, it says it is permanently closed which is both disappointing and surprising since it was busy when I was there. My suggestion however would be to try to go to one of Chef Jose Avillez’s other restaurants. There are multiple ones throughout the city. I would expect that they would also have a similar knowledge and understanding of food allergies.
  • Palacio Chiado – This palace (yes, palace… go read their history) turned restaurant has seven different dining concepts. There is something for everyone. I was able to safely eat a risotto that was delicious.

Drinks

  • Sky bar Oriente is at the Tivoli Hotel where I stayed in Parque das Nacoes. There is a beautiful view from the Sky Bar of the river and it is a scene. We went for drinks there before going out to dinner and it was filling up with young groups of friends dressed up and ready for a night out.
  • Rio Maravilha, Sala de Convivo, LX Factory – This bar is in an area known for nights out in Lisbon. Besides it having a never ending drink line, it is a lot of fun if you are there with a group of friends.

What To See & Do in Lisbon:

Taking public transportation is easy and accessible in Lisbon. Many areas are also quite walk-able. I would suggest roaming around and checking out some of the following plus much more:

  • Hieronymites Monastery– Beautiful former monastery
  • The Almafa neighborhood– Views of gorgeous red tiled rooftops
  • Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara– Awesome panoramic view of the city
  • The Praça do Comércio– Main square with cafes and shops
  • Castle of Sao Jorge– Historical Moorish castle
  • Bairro Alto– Hilly, cobbeled streets also known for nightlife

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