Madrid: The Gluten Free Suitcase Guide

Spain has always been a great destination for anyone gluten free and the Spanish capital of Madrid is no exception. One of the first places I ever travelled as a gluten free person and the home of notorious bakery Celicioso and tapas galore, Madrid will have you spoilt for choice. Just take note that most restaurants in Madrid still take bookings, especially at peak times on weekends, so call ahead to make sure you secure your spot!

Sana Locura Gluten Free Bakery

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By far my favourite bakery in Madrid, Sana Locura boasts one of the most impressive cake, pastry and bread counters I’ve ever seen in my life. The bakery has a family business atmosphere and is always buzzing with people either buying treats to go or sitting down for breakfast and lunch. Don’t miss the opportunity to try Sana Locura’s croissants or red velvet cake. And if you’re dairy free order a delicious soy or rice milk latte and ask the staff to point you towards any dairy free sweet treats for the perfect afternoon combination. Closed on Mondays.

Where?
Calle del Gral Oraá 49
28006 Madrid

Celicioso

The original gluten free bakery in Madrid, Celicioso has branched out to four different locations across the city, and now even has branches in Malaga and Marbella. Picture anything you miss since going gluten free and I can guarantee you that Celicioso offers the gluten free version. Perfect for brunch (order the legendary avo toast!) or lunch with an epic sweet and savoury selection of goods to pack in your bag to fuel your sightseeing around Madrid, Celicioso is somewhere you will want to visit over and over again.

Where?
Calle de O’Donnell, 4
28009 Madrid

Plaza del Callao, 2, 9º planta
28013 Madrid

Calle de Hortaleza 3
28004 Madrid

Calle del Barquillo 19
28004 Madrid

Maestro Churrero

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Lo and behold – a place that has finally answered all our gluten free churro prayers! Maestro Churrero prepares its gluten free churros separately so there’s no chance of cross contamination and you can even dip them into lactose free hot chocolate. A perfect spot for in between meals or even to start your day because is there ever a bad time for churros?!

Where?
Plaza de Jacinto Benavente 2
28012 Madrid

Pasteleria La Oriental

Another winner on the gluten free bakery scene in Madrid, La Oriental is packed almost to the ceiling with gluten free cakes, cookies, tarts and pastries that will make you do a double take. Their traditional Roscon cake is something else and keeps well for a few days if you want to stash one away in your hand luggage! Better yet, La Oriental is open seven days a week!

Where?
Calle de Ferraz 47
28008 Madrid

Solo de Croquetas

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Croquettes are a special part of the Spanish food scene and sadly one that we’re rarely able to indulge in. So you will be delighted to know that Madrid is home to a 100% gluten free croquette restaurant where you can sample the whole menu and wash down your selections with an icy gluten free beer. Perfect for lunch!

Where?
Calle de Echegaray 5
28014 Madrid

Mercado de San Miguel

Well worth a visit, Mercado de San Miguel is one of Madrid’s oldest markets, with an array of food and drink stalls offering some of the freshest seafood, tapas and chilled cava I’ve ever had. Keep your eyes peeled for what’s on offer gluten free wise as the menus at various stalls can change. I hopped around sampling tortilla and fresh prawns at different stalls when I went but I have it on good authority that Tacos Margaritas y Punto is 100% gluten free and well worth a pitt stop for their outrageously delicious tacos.

Where?
Plaza de San Miguel S/N
28005 Madrid

La Tintoreria

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A traditional Spanish restaurant, La Tintoreria is a great spot for tortilla and a good platter of traditional jamon. The staff are very clued up when it comes to allergies and will take extra care when serving a gluten free customer. Booking advised, especially on Fridays and Saturdays if you want to ensure you are seated!

Where?
Calle Espoz y Mina 20
28012 Madrid

Emma y Julia

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In the market for some delicious Italian food while in Madrid? Well when it comes to the menu on offer at Emma y Julia I think it’s well worth a go! This restaurant makes almost every single item on its regular menu gluten free upon request and has some of the best pizza I’ve had in years. The portions are huge and the staff go out of their way to accomodate coeliacs and customers with dietary requirements. Another gem that is sure to set you up well for a night out on the town! Closed on Mondays.

Where?
Calle de la Cava Baja 19
28005 Madrid

Taberna La Concha

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By far my favourite tapas bar in Madrid, Taberna La Concha is small, traditional and offers an extensive gluten free menu upon request. What’s special about Taberna La Concha is the albondigas or meatballs which are so rarely gluten free and here they are huge and delicious! This restaurant is perfect for a late night dinner but be prepared to wait in line as it’s a popular spot!

Where?
Calle de la Cava Baja 7
28005 Madrid

La Gamella

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Finally, if you’re in need of a top notch brunch to start or end your time in Madrid on a high, venture to La Gamella for a gorgeous and gluten free friendly brunch. Most things on the menu can be made gluten free and can be all washed down with a mimosa with freshly squeezed orange juice and followed with an array of sweet treats to accompany a post brunch espresso. The Eggs Benedict here is incredible so don’t forget to call and reserve your table as this place gets packed during the day on weekends.

Where?
Calle de Alfonso XII 4
28014 Madrid

Burger King

Like the rest of Spain, Burger King in Madrid offers a gluten free bun for their burgers and cheeseburgers. Better yet, this option is available at the airport so in case you didn’t have enough pastries or tapas while in Madrid, you can grab a cheeseburger on your way out of the country. Check with each branch if the chips are fried separately as sometimes they are not. P.S. McDonald’s has gluten free options in Spain too!

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Barcelona: The Gluten Free Suitcase Guide

My memories from Barcelona when I was little are filled with bread, croquettes and other gluten-filled Spanish delicacies. When I took my first trip to the Catalan capital as a member of the gluten free crowd therefore, I was worried. Turns out, there was no need to worry in the slightest. Barcelona has quickly become one of my favourite global spots for not only gluten free Spanish food, but gluten free pizzas, cakes and more. Everywhere you need to visit when in Barcelona is detailed in this trusty guide that is sure to leave you craving another trip purely for the food!

Gula Sana

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A new addition to the gluten free scene in Barcelona, this 100% gluten free eatery has more of a cafe vibe, as you have to walk past the long counter filled with sweet and savoury treats to get to the seating area. In the summer, seats are available outside and a perfect location to enjoy Gula Sana’s vast ice cream selection in a gluten free cone of course! Enjoy breakfast, brunch, lunch or an early dinner here and don’t forget to try the Red Velvet cake!

Where?
Carrer de la Diputació, 361
08009 Barcelona

Amiette

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If you want the best gluten free croissant of your life, go straight to Amiette – one of Barcelona’s 100% gluten free bakeries which has really hit the nail on the head when it comes to free from pastry and bread. You have a choice of plain croissants or those filled with ham and cheese or sweet fillings like chocolate and custard. I recommend going first thing in the morning when they are fresh out the oven. This bakery is purely a take-out destination, so why not grab some treats and take them to a local park? Or eat them in the street, outside the shop as I did because I couldn’t wait! Closed on Sundays.

Where?
Carrer de Calàbria, 65
08015 Barcelona

Patisseria Jansana Gluten Free

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A gluten free staple in Barcelona, this beautiful bakery in the Eixample neighborhood has been spoiling customers for years with their stunning sweets and savoury treats. The selection is neverending, and you will never come out with just one item – it truly is impossible. Grab a sandwich to go on fresh bread of your choice, with a number of fillings, which are made on the spot or eat in, with a coffee, and enjoy some of the more delicate savoury open faced sandwiches. The croissants here are also top notch, as are the donuts, cookies, macarons and eclairs.

Where?
Carrer de Balmes, 106
08008 Barcelona

Pasticelia

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Perfect spot for breakfast or brunch, Pasticelia is another 100% gluten free haven located in the Esquerra de L’Eixample neighorhood. Like Jansana, Pasticelia will prepare you a sandwich of your choice on fresh bread to take away or eat in. The chocolate croissants here and palmeras are not to be missed, and should preferably be enjoyed on one of the bakery’s comfy chairs with a cafe con leche. Closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Where?
Carrer de Paris, 165
08036 Barcelona

Celiadictos

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This 100% gluten free gem has been open for several years now, serving locals with unbeatable freshly baked gluten free bread and cakes. Customers can pick their loaves off of a trolley which showcases all varieties of bread that Celiadictos bake each day and is constantly topped up. The cakes here were some of the prettiest I’ve seen – including the merengue pie and apple tartlette. Be sure to grab an Ensaimada – a traditional Mallorcan pastry that resembles a sausage roll – they are absolutely incredible! Closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Where?
Carrer de la Pobla de Lillet, 5
08028 Barcelona

Cal Marius 449

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Gluten free tapas are still a rarity in Barcelona so gluten free people will rejoice in knowing they can safely eat croquetas, empanadillas and more at the famous Cal Marius bar. The menu, which also prominently features pastrami on gluten free bagels or baguette, is 100% gluten free. Regular gluten bread can be ordered upon request if you are dining with a non gluten free diner. Be sure to check out Cal Marius’ impressive gluten free beer menu whilst you’re there to accompany your meal! Closed on Tuesdays.

Where?
Carrer de Mallorca, 449
08013 Barcelona

Copasetic

The perfect spot for brunch, Copasetic is a long-time favourite of mine, located in the Eixample neighbourhood. Take your pick from a numer of gluten free options on the menu from hamburgers to eggs florentine. I can never say no to a savoury crepe here however, which I usually order stuffed with ham and cheese, followed by a homemade gluten free cake – the selection of which changes daily. Closed on Mondays.

Where?
Carrer de la Diputació, 55
08015 Barcelona

Conesa Entrepans

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Sometimes what you need in a city like Barcelona is a quick place to grab a bite. Conesa Entrepans is a regular sandwich shop which offers most of its sandwiches on gluten free baguette, which are toasted on their own separate grills to avoid cross contamination. A decent option for when you’re rushing around sightseeing – their ham and cheese baguettes are incredibly moreish! Closed on Sundays.

Where?
Carrer de la Llibreteria, 1
08002 Barcelona

Viena

This Spanish fast food restaurant has more than 10 branches around the city and a coeliac-safe menu upon request. The menu features a number of grilled sandwich options which are all prepared separately and can be accompanied by gluten free friendly french fries. Sometimes all you need is gluten free junk food! For your closest restaurant, check out the company website.

M2 Gluten Free

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This 100% gluten free restaurant is a great shout for brunch when you’re in Barcelona. M2 Gluten Free makes good use of local, fresh produce to create several delicious open faced sandwiches and egg dishes. There’s no worry about cross contamination here which makes eating a breeze, and there are even vegan options. If I were you, I’d opt for the open faced turkey sandwich with tomato and avocado on delicious gluten free toast.

Where?
Avinguda Diagonal, 505
08029 Barcelona

Il Piccolo Focone

If you want real Italian food whilst you’re in Barcelona, look no further than Il Piccolo Focone. This restaurant has a gluten free menu which includes the most incredible pizzas, pastas and desserts – all of which are prepared safely. I always start with the fried artichokes before tucking into a pizza. Finishing with the gluten free tiramisu is also advisable! Closed on Sundays.

Messie Sin Gluten

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This 100% gluten free pizzeria is a great lunch or light dinner option. The bases here are thin and crispy and come with a variety of toppings, which can be accompanied by one of the delicious salads on offer. I have never seen a larger gluten free beer selection, which includes a number of international beers as well as Spanish.

Where?
Carrer de Siracusa, 15
08012 Barcelona

McDonald’s

Yes, Barcelona is another city where you can enjoy gluten free McDonald’s! All McDonald’s in the city have carefully marked gluten free menus, which include almost all beef burgers and fries with the option of a gluten free bun. If you’d rather enjoy the city’s other gluten free options during your stay in Barcelona, you can enjoy a gluten free McDonald’s in the airport on your way out.

Restaurant En Ville

Another 100% gluten free tapas restaurant, but this time with a French twist. En Ville is a gorgeous space located near Las Ramblas and is ideal for dinner. All tapas are gluten free on a menu that proudly displays a gluten free bread option on its first page. While En Ville offers a number of delicious main dishes, I was not able to get past the tapas and even ordered a second round of the croquetas de jamon which were absolutely melt in the mouth. Save room for dessert – En Ville serves up a gluten free giant cream puff which comes with hot chocolate sauce to pour over. Closed on Sunday.

Out of China

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How long has it been since you ate dim sum? Well at Out of China your gluten free dreams can come true as free from options are available for most of the dim sum selection. It’s therefore hard not to go crazy with the dumpling selection but if possible save room for some soup or a main dish. You’ll also feel safe at Out of China – as soon as you say you are gluten free or coeliac, your very own gluten free soy sauce pot will be delivered to your table.

Where?
Carrer d’Aribau, 112
08036 Barcelona

Envalira

Everyone needs to eat paella when in Spain. Whilst far from Valencia – the home of paella – no frills eatery Envalira serves up the best Spanish rice in Barcelona, with a clearly marked allergen menu presented to all diners. Take your pick from a number of fresh and grilled starters, and be sure to follow those with traditional paella and arroz negro – black rice coloured with squid’s ink – an absolute delicacy. Closed on Mondays.

Where?
Plaça del Sol, 13
08012 Barcelona

Gocce di Latte

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Your one stop shop for gelato whilst in Barcelona should be Gocce di Latte – an ice cream shop which has a 100% gluten and dairy free branch on the same street as its regular store. It’s a cross-contaminatin free zone and stays open late so is perfect for those late night sweet cravings. Cash-only.

Where?
Carrer d’Espaseria, 14
08003 Barcelona

Shopping

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Barcelona has a multitude of supermarkets which have a huge offering of gluten free products from cookies, breads and snacks to chilled pastas and frozen pizzas and tapas. The top chains for gluten free are Mercadona, Carrefour and Alcampo. Check out the company websites for your closest branches.

Kaliyoga

Since becoming gluten free, travelling has become a tall task. Exploring the world, anyone with allergies, intolerances or autoimmune diseases will know, always involves a lot of research, preparation and a significant amount of stress upon arrival to ensure that eateries will cater well and not result in illness. It is incredibly unusual therefore, that I get the chance to travel to a 100% gluten free destination. Being invited with my good friend Alice (@glutenfreealice) to experience not only the yoga on offer at Kaliyoga but the totally free from cuisine too was a huge privilege.

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Kaliyoga was founded by Rosie and Jonathon Miles back in 2002, who ventured to Spain in search of a location for a brand new yoga retreat. It was there, in the Alpujarra region in Andalucia, that they set up the first branch and 11 years later went on to establish a sister retreat in Puglia, Italy. The retreats offer a 6 day yoga experience, with cycling or walking activities too and work according to three basic principles: truth, wisdom and love. Guests are served three beautiful vegan meals a day, put together by a hard working team with guest seasonal chefs who all share one thing in common – a passion for delicious, plant-based food.

I had never followed a vegan diet before and what I was met with on day one totally exceeded my expectations. Upon arrival, we were met by the smell and sight of freshly baked gluten free bread, summer minestrone soup and beautiful, vibrant salads with mounds of crunchy seeds and herbs. “People fail to realize that there are a hundred times more vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and grains than there are animal products,” guest chef Francesca, who has a vegan catering business in her hometown of Colorado, told me in an interview. “When you realize this, you start to see cooking vegan as a limitless possibility of flavors, textures and combinations, and cooking with the natural foods the earth grows and the sun nourishes is a truly beautiful thing,” Francesca added.

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Obviously elated that everything on the menu was gluten free, I could not wait to see what other delicious concoctions Francesca had in store for us. “A fully gluten free kitchen is very important to Kaliyoga,” Francesca told me. Founders Rosie and Jonathon began to see the demand for coeliac friendly cuisine several years ago and decided to make the switch to ensure that it was a totally inclusive space. “Before coming to work for Kaliyoga, I wasn’t a fully GF chef, but working here and eating the food I’ve been making made me realize that gluten free can sometimes mean much more natural and wholesome foods that are very high in fiber and minerals,” Francesca said, listing buckwheat flour for pasta or almond or sorghum flour for use in pizza crusts as her top discoveries in the kitchen.

Francesca admitted that gluten free cooking is sometimes challenging, especially when it comes to baking. “It’s definitely a science and it takes a bit of manoeuvring but once you get to know your best flours (mine are: quinoa flour, buckwheat, brown rice, almond flour, organic corn flour, chickpea flour) then the rest is just practice,” she said.

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The food choices were always a welcome surprise, and the menus kept a secret until the moment of the meal. As someone who cooks a lot for friends and family, I was positively overwhelmed to be free from decision making in this regard for a week and presented instead with colourful, filling meals each day, which at dinnertime involved three delicious courses. I don’t think I will ever forget the taste, texture and smell of the homemade pumpkin gnocchi I was served one night, which came tossed in a spicy red pepper sauce with local asparagus on the side, or the smooth fennel and pear soup which came topped with local olive oil and crunchy seeds.

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Desserts always exceeded expectations – a course which was undoubtedly won by the raw cheesecake with berry coulis and fresh strawberries. On two days, the non vegan crowd were surprised with a selection of local cheeses and eggs to accompany brunch, which were all delectable and allowed us to sample more of the local Puglian produce.

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After just 24 hours at Kaliyoga and three yoga classes lead by the incredible Tashi Dawa, I already felt a release. My body was less tense, my mind less heavy and my stomach free of complaints. I totally embraced the opportunity to be caffeine and alcohol free for the week, which allowed me to focus on my yoga practice and nourishment – two things which I had rarely given time to back home in London.

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It is also easy to be relaxed at Kaliyoga. When you’re not taking part in a yoga class, or cycling in the countryside, the environment onsite encourages tranquility and breaks from social media or technology. When I first heard this I will admit I was nervous, as my lifestyle means I am usually glued to my phone. There was however something incredibly refreshing about removing myself from the outside world, and totally focusing on rejuvenating my mind and being kind to my body, which included spending time with the retreat dogs, Tommy and Akira and their friend – Nabuco the donkey.

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Rejuvenation also came thanks to the food I was eating. Gluten free food can often be full of sugar and unpronounceable ingredients but at Kaliyoga I was able to consume food that was only doing my body good, which is a feeling so great, I honestly can not put it down into words. Thank you, Kaliyoga for such a wonderful and refreshing experience – I am already planning my return and cannot wait for more yoga, peace and gnocchi!

For more information and to book your stay at Kaliyoga, please visit the company website