Allergy-Friendly Restaurant Review: Nando’s (Swords)

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Peri-Peri Meets Friendly-Friendly

By Kathleen O’Hagan

Time certainly flies. I can’t believe this is my first allergy-friendly restaurant review since moving to Ireland back in May. I blame a combination of allergy menus that have turned out to be a bit of a let-down (more on that in a future post!) and a pre-schooler whose age and energy levels make it very, very tough to eat out.

But then I heard good things about an allergy-aware restaurant in a local allergy support group and my curiosity was piqued. A few days later, we found out it was the little boy next door’s favourite restaurant. (Our son’s first friend here in Dublin.) Allergy-friendly and kid-friendly? We’re in! 🙂

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The restaurant’s name is Nando’s, and its claim to fame is a fast-food version of Portuguese “peri-peri” chicken. Their prices aren’t bad, they have a great kids’ menu (“nandinos”), and a comprehensive (read: eye-bogglingly huge) allergy binder.

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Not only that, but when you mention allergies, a manager comes out to speak with you, checks individual menu items to see if they’re safe for your allergies, and when you are eventually served, your plate has an adorable little flag on it that reads “allergy plate.”

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Possibly the best part? The binder includes so much detail that our manager was able to tell us if a certain item’s ingredient was made in a factory that contained one of our allergens (peanut, egg, sesame, sunflower seeds). As an editor and allergy mom, that sort of attention to detail is exactly what I’m looking for when eating out.

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For a chain restaurant, I was pretty happy with the food. My spicy chicken thighs were tender and full of flavour, and I loved my fries sprinkled in a peri-peri powder. The rice, on the other hand, was pretty meh, and the wine certainly didn’t live up to my expectations.

(Having recently returned from a trip to Portugal, I was excited to see some Portuguese wines listed on the menu, but sadly, the red I ordered didn’t even come close to the delicious wines I fell in love with during my travels).

Still, it was a good experience overall, and I would definitely return to such an allergy-friendly spot again. (Read this super welcoming message to those with allergies to see what I mean.)

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I just hope that next time our son actually eats more than 1/20th of the food on his plate. (Probably my fault for offering him a fajita sambo while he was impatiently waiting for the food to arrive.) At least he enjoyed his (safe) dessert: a black currant & apple ice lolly!

One day, it’ll be easier to eat out with our son. But for now, I’ll just keep seeking out allergy-safe spaces so that we have a nice collection to refer to when that time comes.

Stay tuned for my next allergy-friendly review of Hard Rock Cafe (Lisbon)!


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This post was written by AllergyBites founder, Kathleen O’Hagan. Kathleen is a writer, a foodie, and the mom of a toddler with multiple food allergies. Want to help make a difference? Contact Kathleen about volunteering for the Top 10 Challenge fundraiser.


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