It can be hard for those with celiac disease to travel to a country that eats bread for breakfast, lunch, lanche, and dinner. Fortunately, those who can’t have gluten – or simply those trying to cut down on their intake – are finally starting to find more dining out options in Portugal. One such place is Despensa N.6.
I’m lucky enough to not have dietary restrictions, but I was still curious to try Despensa N.6: a café that is both gluten and sugar-free. In all honesty, I really just wanted to see whether the sugar-free food was, well, taste-free. I also wanted to see the space (which looked really cute in pictures), and had only been open for a couple of months.
When I visited Despensa N.6, it was late morning, so the morning rush and breakfast options were over, but lunch was still being prepared. So we settled for some snacks just to sample the food: we had a mini quiche and mini lemon and poppy seed muffin, plus a coffee. I have limited experience with gluten-free, sugar-free food, but I couldn’t tell a big difference between these and the “regular” versions. I would love to go back and try their lunch salads which go for around €7, or their brunches, which range from €8.50 to €10.50, to get a better idea of their signature flavors and make a more informed decision on the quality of the food, instead of just having a taster.
In addition to eating in, you can buy loaves of bread (made from oats and tapioca) to take home, so the gluten-free gluttony doesn’t have to end when you leave Despensa N.6. Trying to cut down on your sugar intake but can’t resist a slice of cake? Take some to go with you! Those searching for healthy ingredients can also make use of the small bulk foods section: just put what you need in a bag, pay, and enjoy at home!
The actual space was simple, but very pretty with its modern-rustic decor. There isn’t a great deal of seating, so going in large groups (especially at meal times) is not recommended if you want to sit together. There are a few additional tables for two outside as well, for those good weather days we are blessed to have in Portugal.
Verdict: prices are definitely higher than your average café in Portugal – even in the capital. The coffee, for example, will set you back €0.80, compared to the typical €0.60 you get at other places. However, if you really want or need a sugar-free or gluten-free experience, this is the place for you! You certainly don’t have to worry about your food being “contaminated” by gluten or sugar from the kitchen.
Address: Avenida Sacadura Cabral nº 6A, Lisboa, Portugal 1000-274 (Please note: Despensa N.6 is closed on Mondays)