We recently returned from a trip to Barcelona and overall the food didn’t disappoint. I thought I would share the places we ate and give you my honest opinion on each… where I recommend (or don’t), especially if you are coeliac / gluten free.
This was a casual little lunch spot that did fantastic gluten free burgers (with GF bun!) and fries. I had the brie and caramelised onion burger and it was lovely… it was also very large without it being at all pricey. I would say the setting is a little less authentic, as it is more ‘fast foodie’ and only had 2 very small tables outside, but it is right next to the Sagrada Família so it is in a great location if you want to combine your lunch with some sightseeing. The prices were great too however the system for ordering food was not quite clear at first (as they didn’t speak much English!), they provide a paper menu and a pen and you have to tick what you want – there is a gluten free bread box you have to tick, which was not clear until we asked so I just specified I was gluten free when I ordered and they were helpful enough. They also did a selection of cold pressed juices that looked good too.
For a finer dining experience, I would highly recommend 4 Gats. My parents had recommended this place to us and told us all about its history. The restaurant became popular as a meeting place for famous artists throughout the modernist period in Catalonia and it was where Picasso had his first commission, which was the menu cover (and it is still that same menu cover today). It has a beautiful little balcony inside all around the top of the room, with tables that only seat two people. It is such a unique experience, you can really sense the history… and the chairs are a little wobbly in places, but it all adds to its charm. It features white tablecloths, a man on a piano and a menu to die for. When it came to gluten free, they listened well and replaced ingredients I couldn’t have with ones I could. I had the slow cooked shoulder of lamb on a bed of greens and it was fantastic. It is definitely more expensive than other options, but if you are looking for somewhere really special and authentic, this spot is for you.
We happened to stumble across this restaurant wandering down the beach, we were still in our beach gear and flip flops but it didn’t matter. The setting was beautiful, we were right on the beachfront as the sun was going down and the decor was modern and clean. Gluten free items were clearly marked on the menu, which made the whole dining experience a lot more relaxing. After a day on the beach it was just what we needed. We were both on the hunt for a paella and this was the only place we had seen that served individual paellas. Dave was after prawns, fish and squid and as usual, I was not. I am not a seafood eater, and this restaurant happened to specialise in seafood. However, I got my own gluten free roll… it was warm and delicious, what a treat! We then shared a tuna salad to start, which was more than enough fish for me, so I ended up having a delicious veggie paella for my main, with squash, carrot, broccoli, cauliflower etc. It was not your standard tomato based paella, but had a kind of deep rich flavour – which was lovely, but in its own unique way. I wouldn’t say this was a traditional paella if that is what you are looking for.
This was a café we stopped at for lunch, a great location and so close to the port, which we had just been visiting. I saw paella and a range of salads / meats on the menu so thought I would definitely be able to get something. When I asked about gluten free, they didn’t seem to know much about it and said I could only have salad. I ordered a caprese salad and when it arrived it had croutons on the top so I had to send it back. When it returned it was simply mozzarella balls rocket and a few small tomatoes, which was fine but an oil garnish or some dressing etc would have been nice. This was probably the least aware / helpful place we went. The food looked really good if you COULD eat gluten and the prices were good too, however as a coeliac I was disappointed, so will not be returning.
This had everything from meats, cheeses, nuts, fresh fruit and vegetables and selections of juices. It was quite stunning! The hustle and bustle of the market created a great atmosphere and was lovely to just wander in and out the stalls admiring all the wonderful food! As majority was raw, fresh produce, gluten free was a given in many parts of the market. The prices were great too, such good value for money. We ended up getting a bag of fresh cherries and I just snacked on those as we mooched around. Yum.
This bakery was great! There was a dedicated gluten free table with a bunch of gluten free goodies, from breads to cakes and cookies. They were all packaged separately with a clear ‘sin gluten’ and ‘celíacs’ label on them. I picked up some little jam tarts, there was 8 in one pack and they were delicious, a little dry at first but the jam held it all together! There are two locations for this bakery both right off La Rambla.
- I also have to give a shout out to the olives. As you now know I am not a big seafood person, but the anchovy olives the Spanish do are simply my favourite. So much flavour and they really compliment a nice glass of wine!! We had them as a snack nearly every night ha!
I used an app whilst I was away called ‘GF Card’ see HERE. This app translates the explanation of ‘coeliac’ and ‘gluten free’ into any language, describing the harmful ingredients & cross contamination in any language you wish, and you can just show it to the waiter. I find it very useful every time I go away.
After our Barcelona trip we did head on to Sarlat-Le-Caneda which was a beautiful place but not so great for gluten free, so not worthy of its own post unfortunately. I ended up having a lot of grilled meats and vegetables more than anything else, we also BBQ’ed / cooked in quite a lot.
I hope this gives you some idea of what to expect if you are heading to Barcelona (gluten free or not) , and maybe a couple of restaurant names to add to your hit list. If you want to see more detail on both our adventures, Barcelona & France (Sarlat), then look out for a holiday vlog I will be posting in the not too distant future.