Spain is the most popular foreign destination for British tourists so finding places to eat here is possibly more important than anywhere else! These tips and suggestions should really help you when you visit the country.
Click on one of the more popular locations or search for where you want to go or what you want to eat. Alternatively, use our Map to find all Gluten Free locations near you!
Playa de las Americas, Tenerife View On Map
I'm usually weary of asian restaurants as I find they often are unaware or confused about what I mean when I talk about celiac disease/gluten allergy. Not at Thai Botanico. Like its sister restaurant, Bianco Ristorante, the greeter knew exactly what I was talking about and quickly assured me that I could have ANYTHING on the menu - if something had flour, they would simply make it with a gluten free alternative. I had satay, curry, pad thai and there was so much more to choose from. Also, if you are irritated by those pushy greeters that are so common to touristy areas in the Southern European countries, you do not have to dread it at these restaurants. They are very pleasant. Highly highly highly recommended!
Recommended By: Brittany On: 2012-12-22
We chose starters so that I would be able to try both. For the main course we deliberately chose a gluten and a gluten free pizza margarita so that Mr G could do taste comparison. Plus it is interesting to see how pizzas which have the same topping are presented. This is what we ordered: GF Nachos, GF Chicken salad with apple and pesto, GF Margharita pizza, Gluten Margharita pizza.
I'm not sure what the difference is between the gluten free nachos and normal nachos is. Essentially they look the same. None the less it does show that sometimes even the most obvious things can be unsuitable for us. When the pizzas came they looked the same, presented on wicker plates (mine was white) with paper doillies. The gluten free pizza came with a little "sin gluten" flag, so it was obvious which was which. On first inspection they looked exactly the same and according to Mr G they tasted pretty similar. The only obvious distinction we could find was that the gluten free pizza was slightly brittle on the underside. Also after I had finished eating mine I had lots of crumbs on my plate where as Mr G's pizza held together and he had no crumbs. Would I go back? Absolutely.
Hotel Reina Petronila
Well breakfast was a surprise. They had a whole section labelled sin gluten! I was utterly shocked and little hyper at the prospect of all the things that I could get a sugar rush off! If we are being brutally honest, the whole joy of a hotel breakfast is having a choice of things to try and I have to say the Hotel Reina Petronila delivered! Not only did I have bread, I had muffins, cakes, biscuits absolutely lots to choose from. It was amazing. I only wish more hotels could be like this. Most importantly the bakery products, although kept open, were kept on the other side of the room from the gluten bakery breads. There was a very minimal chance of cross contamination because of the level of segregation.
I don't know why but one of my strangest habits when going to hotels is looking at their room service menu. I have no idea what I expect to find but I just like looking at the things I wouldn't choose even if I were not a coeliac. If nothing else I think it would be fun one day to compare a standard room service menu item from various hotels around the world just to see how much local tastes would influence it. But, I digress. I was more than surprised to note that in the Hotel Reina Petronila they had a note on the last line of the menu which stated that: gluten free bread was available as well as gluten free beer. I have to say I was very impressed with this as I have never ever seen gluten free bread available on a room service menu. I don't drink so I wasn't interested in the beer, but I still thought wow!
Another night, we went to the hotel bar (which is also a very popular cafe) to watch the football and once again were surprised to see that they offered gf bread and gf beer. The gf bread was a baguette style bread that had previously been frozen. Sadly I had left my camera in my room so no photo. However the bread, was crunchy on the outside and very soft on the inside.
Looking around it was like being in a coeliac dream world, every ice cream was labelled with a crossed grain symbol to indicate its suitability for coeliacs; the ones that were unlabelled were the type that I would avoid anyway: cookies and cream, doughnut etc. Honestly, there was so much to choose from. Then MrG pointed up at the board (I was still too busy trying to decide what ice cream I would have) "Look" he said "barquillos sin gluten!" Well I don't think I can remember the last time I had an ice cream in a cone, it must have before coeliac disease.
When it was our turn, we mentioned the ice cream we wanted with the barquillo sin gluten, now here is the amazing bit. The woman nodded her head, picked up the ice cream scoop and a spatula went and washed them and her hands. Then she cleared the first bit of the ice cream we wanted with the spatula, and then scooped the ice cream. Wow. I wish more places could be so cross contamination aware. Normally when you even suggest to places that maybe they'd like to clean the ice cream scooper they think you mean a dip in the communal bucket thing. I'm pretty gun-ho when it comes to ice cream but if anything this experience made me realise how open to cross contamination ice cream is and if anything that I should be more careful! Top marks to Heladeria Tortosa. The ice cream cones were kept wrapped up and apart from the normal cones and they are the ones that can be bought in El Corte Ingles.
The ice cream was fantastic. Not only was it obviously cooling (remember it was 40 degrees at the time), it tasted amazing. The flavours really came through and it reminded me that good ice cream can be so much nicer than cake. Naturally we went back more than once, all in the name of research. I can confirm that each time we went back we were served by different people and each time each member of staff went through the same precautions before serving up the gluten free cone. How wonderful is that?
When you go in there is a list of fillings on the wall, and again so outward signage of gluten free anything, so we went through asking and they replied with a loud "of course" and then went off and brought back the "menu para celiacos" and then another menu in English and then explained on the English menu what could be made gluten free. Frankly we could not have got a warmer welcome.
I chose to have the strangest sandwich filling ever here: lettuce, tomato, white asparagus, hard boiled egg and anchovie. I could imagine it in a salad for what ever reason I felt and to an extent still do feel that it is a strange sandwich combination BUT I'll put my hands up and say it works. In fact I'd go far as to say it tastes really nice. The bread was a good baguette. I find it quite strange that the Spanish seem to have mastered the art of making good gluten free baguettes and yet the UK seems so far behind..meh! Anyway I enjoyed my bocadillo. Again another strange experience of walking in off the street and ordering a gluten free sandwich without phoning ahead and without any drama!
The menu for gluten free sandwiches was smaller than the normal list of sandwiches but there was still quite a bit to choose from. I opted for a pollo y manzana (chicken and apple) sandwich and had no idea of what it would be like. The kitchen at Frutolandia was open plan and it was great to see the staff member wash her hands, get separate equipment out before making my sandwich. My sandwich arrived, a totally different shape of bread from MrG's gluten sandwich. Both breads had been toasted, but his looked as if it had been toasted in a panni maker whereas mine looked as if it had been toasted on a different maker or in a pan. My sandwich held together while eating and tasted good. It was filling and the combination worked. If I hadn't had such a long list of places to try in Zaragoza I would have happily gone back for another sandwich.
The other must have in Frutolandia is their smoothies. Forget fresh smoothies in the UK made from frozen or unripe fruit. The fruit quality in Spain is amazing and as such it means that the fresh smoothies are fantastic. We did go back more than once for the smoothies.
Mario's Steak House and Restaurant
La Veccia Roma
One of my most favourite experiences while in Bilbao was randomly walking down a street and finding a branch of Telepizza. Excited doesn't even begin to describe my reaction. Now what was not apparent on the menu (in fact it was not listed anywhere in the shop) but Telepizza does gluten free pizza. A conversation followed with a 15 year old and more of my very limited Spanish and we were able to gather that they had 4 types of gluten free pizza (4 cheese, cheese and bacon, barbeque and carbonara) and it would take them ten minutes to cook them, but most importantly they were available! As we had just had lunch, we went back in the evening and then were faced with another 15 year old server who did not bat an eyelid when we asked for the gluten free pizza. The best bit the pizza cost exactly the same as the gluten pizza and it was part of a buy one get one free meal. Fantastic.
The pizza arrived in a silver container, it was pretty much the same size as the gluten containing pizza maybe a couple of millimetres smaller. Mine had not been cut but who has objections to cutting your own pizza if it cuts out cross contamination? The base was slightly thinner than the normal pizza but it tasted so good. It was stretchy and soft. It just tasted so good and so real. The toppings were generous and that's all there is to say it was the best gluten free pizza that I've had.
In advance of our trip, I'd contacted the hotel about gluten free dining options. They confirmed they would have gluten free food available at breakfast for me. When I arrived at breakfast I spoke to waitress and she brought me a gluten free baguette, freshly warmed. It tasted absolutely amazing with its crispy outside and light bread texture inside. It was especially delicious with some jamon serrano. So good in fact it was hard to believe it really was gluten free. Perhaps I wasn't the first to wonder this since I was presented the gluten free bread in its packaging!
I was provided with the menu which focuses on Basque specialties and the waiter explained which dishes could be made gluten free. The tasting menu looked very exciting but I thought this would be challenge too far to make the adjustments for the dishes to be gluten free and the options on the main menu all looked very appetising. This was approximately half of the starters and he said all of the main course fish and meat could be prepared gluten free. Of course, the waiter said, the alterations might mean you can't have the sauce or perhaps an ingredient should be omitted but I was to let him know what I'd like to eat and he'd discuss it with the chef and advise what the substitutions would be. The waiter said any fish would be grilled or baked (not fried) for me. The service throughout the meal was attentive and our waiter spoke excellent English which helped when discussing the ingredients in each of the dishes and the adjustments to make them gluten free. The waiter brought me this gluten free bread. I can honestly say this bread was amazing. Whilst the middle didn't have the same light as a feather texture of a French baguette, the outside was crunchy and just like the regular, gluten filled version.