Gluten free eating is quickly becoming a popular choice for foodies, and with good reason. Those who choose to avoid gluten are able to enjoy a wide range of foods, from breads, pastas, and baked goods to meats, dairy, and seafood. The variety of options is enough to keep even the pickiest of eaters happy, which is why we’ve chosen to highlight gluten free eating in Barcelona as one of the top things to do in the city.
As you already know, eating gluten free in Barcelona is easier than most other cities in Spain. However, this doesn’t mean eating out is easy. Most restaurants in Barcelona don’t offer gluten free menus, and even if they do, that doesn’t mean that the gluten free options are great.
No matter where you go, the options for eating gluten free are limited. Barcelona is no exception. Restaurants in Spain are required to post allergen information, but it is often in a tiny print. There are some restaurants that label their food with a label and some that don’t.
In 2001, when I first visited Spain, I had no clue where to dine in Barcelona. I also had no idea how to go about in a very unfamiliar city. Despite being a Montrealer who knew French, France, where I spent the year, struck me as strange. The truth remained that this was my first trip away from Canada on my own, and even the smallest things, as well as the underlying formality among my classmates, were perplexing.
Spain was a lot more laid-back. Lunch and supper were moved, with lunch being served later and dinner being served even later. After ordering in melodic, flawless Spanish on my first of many trips to Barcelona, I started up a conversation with a guy in a café. I was astounded and inquired as to how he had learnt to talk so eloquently. It never occurred to me that I may be able to accomplish the same thing. “Nothing is going to stop you!” he said, confidently decades ahead of me. I looked at him blankly, wide-eyed and perplexed as to why eggs were kept out of the fridge. “You just make the decision to study and devote the necessary time.” “The greatest way to learn is between the sheets,” she says, leaning in conspiratorially. My cheeks were flushed. He chuckled and flung his head back, his palms rising in surrender. “OK, maybe not right now. Begin by learning via your senses of taste and smell. Everything revolves on food.”
I don’t know who he was or where he was, but that one remark from an American in Spain stayed with me. I missed quite a few courses during my year at Aix-en-Provence, arms wrapped protectively over my bag as I chose instead to take the nighttime train from Marseille to Barcelona. The clicking of lighters switching on throughout the night as the cabin filled with smoke can still be heard, till the train spat me out at the Spanish border at morning. The following part, a shorter train ride into Barcelona, was my personal favorite. As the light started to shine from behind the hills on the sides of the tracks, I would push my face against the glass.
Throughout my year in France, I was attracted to the pleasure and expressiveness, as well as an open appreciation for being alive, something I thought was lacking in Aix-en-Provence. But I didn’t return until earlier this month, when I eventually made it back to Barcelona.
Where to Eat Gluten-Free in Barcelona
I have celiac disease, as many of you are aware. While I must exercise great caution while traveling – even cooking meals in oil tainted with wheat remains makes me sick – I do not seek out eateries that specialize in gluten-free cuisine. Instead of depending on a location that claims to know what I can and cannot consume, I prefer to do as much research as possible and equip myself with knowledge.
All of the eateries listed below were a hit with my stomach. They were excellent, fairly priced, and fed me without making me ill. It’s worth emphasizing for those with celiac disease that I had to ask each time and for each dish what had flour in sauces or was dredged first; the one time I forgot to ask about a dish, it turned out to be lightly battered, so lightly that I didn’t realize it until I felt drugged and dizzy a few minutes into my meal, with sharp stomach pains following shortly after.
In a nutshell, this is a grocery list for anybody who wants to eat. At the bottom of the page, I’ve added special advice for celiacs.
Are you planning a trip to another part of Spain? Please check my Gluten-Free Travel Guide to Spain. It contains gluten-free stores, restaurants, and listings of acceptable and hazardous foods across the nation.
The Dining Rooms
Tel: 932 68 03 61 Carrer dels Agullers, 8 (Only lunch; no English menu)
Daily menu, handwritten and photocopied, with the previous day’s menu on the other page with a big “X” over it. The entrées were served on small plates, with the main courses being shared at the table. It’s worth trying the black rice if it’s on the menu. On another occasion, paella took its place, which was equally excellent and, for 4 euro per tiny dish, a perfect opportunity to sample something that normally needs a big buy for two.
The main courses were wonderfully prepared and tasted extremely fresh. If you have celiac disease, make sure the waiter or waitress knows precisely what you can’t eat. (“I’m not allowed to eat trigo harina.”) I have celiac disease and can’t consume wheat flour, therefore I’m soy celiac(o/a).) The restaurant was delighted to prepare meals using maize flour instead of wheat, but until I specifically requested it, they forgot which dishes included wheat and which did not. This is a wonderful and welcoming location to visit if you ask nicely. It’s only open for lunch, so show up after 1 p.m.
After your lunch, swing by Vila Viniteca, a fantastic wine store.
Tel: 932 956 636 Consolate del Mar, 15
This restaurant, which is obsessed with pork, focuses on all things pig, as its name suggests. The cuisine pays homage to the pig in all its splendor, from cured plates to baked items prepared in an in-house clay oven to pulled pork sandwiches on handmade bread. When I told them I had celiac disease, they were extremely accommodating, and even had gluten-free bread on hand to offer pork sandwiches to people who can’t eat the normal kind.
Try the oven-roasted pig ribs and the ear stew with beans, which is far more delectable than it sounds.
Carders, 46, 932 687 569, Fax: 932 687 569
Mosquito tapas serves steamed shrimp dumplings.
Mosquito, Mosquito, Mosquito, Mosquito, Mosquito I liked the snug nooks and friendly bartender, as well as the crowded bar and reasonably priced dim food. The rice dumplings, in particular, satisfied my increasing need for the delectable steamed delicacies I used to enjoy before being diagnosed with celiac disease.
There are lots of small plates for non-celiacs, but if you’re on a gluten-free diet and visit Mosquito, the staff will gladly mark what you can eat on their paper menus. Don’t miss the eel bao (eel soup dumplings), which taste just as I recalled them from years and years ago. Eel and pork cooked in rice instead of wheat casing – nearly impossible to get virtually everywhere else I’ve been. They were so delicious that I went back to savor them before leaving town.
The fried duck was also excellent, with a flavorful and crispy texture that went well with rice. The beginning eggplant dish provided a refreshing contrast to the hotter steamed entrees, and the chicken salad with sesame oil and veggies served as an excellent appetizer.
Those dumplings are still on my mind.
Their sibling restaurant RedAnt ($), Tiradors, 3-5, is another choice for those looking for more substantial dishes, and it’s only around the block.
932 69 06 71 Carrer del Cometa, 3 (Open everyday from 1:00 p.m. until 11:30 p.m.)
Sushiya2’s salmon sashimi platter.
It wasn’t tapas or paella that I had my first meal in Barcelona: it was sushi. I had a strong need for salmon sashimi, and nothing was going to stop me from getting it. Fortunately, SushiYa2 was close, and they offered a large sashimi dish for 10 Euros, as well as a mixed salmon and tuna version for a few extra euros. The staff was knowledgeable about celiac illness and provided gluten-free soy sauce on hand for clients. The sashimi was excellent and fresh.
The restaurant offers an excellent value lunch combination menu with bento boxes and donburi bowls for people who don’t have any dietary concerns. Miso soup, salad, and the main course are included.
Areperia La Taguara ($)
Tel: 932 681 572 Carrer Rec, 10 (Open every day from 13 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
I have an issue with arepas. I can’t get enough of them, in particular. They’re safe for celiacs and a quick, inexpensive lunch on the move since they’re made with maize flour and are substantial. This tiny areparia has a lackluster atmosphere, but it’s a decent choice if you’re in the Gothic Quarter or the Born and need a quick bite to eat in between meals. Many individuals who are used to eating supper earlier in the evening find themselves in urgent need of a snack about 6 p.m., and La Taguera can help.
If you’re searching for something new, try the plantain and cheese arepa. There’s also fresh passionfruit juice on hand to wash down the thick maize goodness.
Francesc Cambó’s Santa Caterina Avinguda Mercat 932 683 410; Fax: 932 683 410
La Torna’s patatas bravas
In contrast to the pandemonium of La Boqueria, I liked a less touristic version of market meals at the Santa Catarina market. The patatas bravas (the potatoes pictured above) at La Torna were hot and garlicky, and I liked how the sauces were kept separate so I could eat them in little bites. Most of the bravas I’d tried combined the sauces into a rosé carpet. This was a lot more enjoyable. For celiacs, the staff stated that their current menu did not include any deep-fried breaded items, thus the potatoes were gluten-free.
We also had a fantastic tripe and chickpea dish with chorizo, which was salty, spicy, and gooey. Good grilled veggies to go with the dish, and if you ask for your squid to be grilled rather than fried, you’ll get a non-breaded version that’s gluten-free. I’d return only for the tripe.
43 Rambla del Raval (Open 1pm-4pm and 8pm-11:30pm Wednesday-Sunday)
I wish I had more time to study the menu at this Carlos Abellan restaurant, which came highly recommended by a foodie buddy who advised I shouldn’t miss it if I could. The meals are attractively presented, with a focus on cooking methods that bring out the flavors of the basic components. They are split into three categories: sea, land, and a combination of the two. The grilled octopus with chickpeas (pulpo a la brasa with garbanzos sofritos) and the beans with poached egg crispy pork are two dishes not to be missed (judias con huevo y papada Iberica).
Cal Pep ($$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Tel: 933 10 79 61 Plaça de les Olles, 8 (From 7:30 p.m. until 11:30 p.m.)
Cal’s dessert for three Pep
Cal Pep is mentioned in almost every Barcelona travel book, but that doesn’t mean you should miss it. We arrived around 7:15 p.m. to get a prime spot at the head of the queue. We grabbed one of the few initial seatings for the night since the restaurant starts at 7:30 and has extremely limited sitting at the bar alone. If you’re going for dinner, aim to be there between 7 and 7:15 p.m.
The staff will do their best to offer you their “everything” menu, a 30-euro extravaganza that enables you to taste everything on the menu. We declined since I have celiac illness and we also wanted to go tapas hopping. The waiters were initially angry, but one of the waiters’ nephews also has celiac disease, and he rushed in with a grin to take our order. Everything was good until he joked that my tortilla was full of wheat, at which point he burst out laughing. (It wasn’t true, but he thought it was funny.)
Go for the full shebang if you have an unrestricted diet and a large appetite. I’d recommend the grilled squid (it’s usually served breaded and fried, but they’ll grill it for you if you ask), the tortilla (soft and firm all at once, filled with great jamón and eggs), spinach and chickpeas (sautéed quickly – simple and delicious), and the Catalan flan to those with limited time or who just want a bite to eat (enormous and gluten-free, shown above).
Carrer Montcada 2, 932 683 003, Fax: 932 683 003
Tuna tartar and croquettes with pork trotters and baby squid? Welcome to the inventive Bar de Pla, which is conveniently situated near the Santa Catalina market. The bar is long and narrow, with a large wine selection and a changing by-the-glass menu to complement it, as recommended by Legal Nomads reader Vanya. “The menu is similar in substance – bravas, anchovies, croquetas – but the items that come at the table have been reconceived, and there is a distinct Asian influence,” writes Culinary Backstreets. The Secreto Ibérico alone is worth a visit, but non-celiacs have demanded that I include the squid ink croquettes for those who can eat them.
El Xampanyet ($$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Tel: 933 19 70 03 Carrer de Montcada, 22
Another famous guidebook favorite, but it’s worth a visit just for the atmosphere. There’s plenty of beer, wine, and cava on tap, platters of cheese, jamón, and other delights abound, and it’s right in the heart of the Born. This is the one site on the list I would skip if I had to, but I believe it’s a wonderful spot to visit. The lively, upbeat atmosphere as well as the abundant tapas appealed to me. After a few glasses of wine, it’s best for groups. Seating is very limited, so be prepared to stand.
The San Josef de la Boqueira Mercat
91 La Rambla
La Boqueria, situated off La Rambla, is a market that is constantly bustling with visitors. It bustles with food, noise, and a lot of activity, and it has a rich history going back to the 1200s. I’ve mentioned two places to get a meal, but the market as a whole is worth a visit, since it’s a sensory explosion of food and entertainment.
– El Quim de la Boqueria: smack dab in the midst of it all. If you’re not gluten-free, get the fried artichokes. The pimientos de Padrón (fried small peppers) and the baby squid sautéed with egg are both very irresistible.
Pimientos de Padron are as delicious as they seem.
– Bar Pinotxo: It’s always crowded, but it’s always excellent. Breakfast was suggested by friends, and I agree. The tortilla de patatas (fluffy potato omelette) and garbanzos (chickpeas) are not to be missed, as they are topped with small morcilla sausage bits and the simple meal explodes with flavor.
Bogatell Beach, Avenida Litoral 42, Tel: 932 210 729
This restaurant, known for its paella, was suggested by a gluten-free reader, and its menu clearly states what is safe for celiacs. My suggestion would be their unique paella, which is packed of seafood and prepared with their own fish stock. They also have a substantial sea and mountain stew if paella isn’t your thing.
935 327 666 Calle Diputacio 55 (Mondays closed)
If you’ve had your fill of jamón and are looking for a more traditional brunch, go over to Copasetic. Their menu, which emphasizes fresh, organic foods, provides something for everyone, including burgers, crepes, salads, and more. Almost everything, including the crepes, can be made gluten-free. Greek yoghurt and fresh fruit are a good choice for a lighter meal.
N.A.P. (Authentic Neapolitan Pizza) ($)
686 19 26 90 Avenida Francesc Cambó, 30
Thin-crust pizza baked fresh to order in a wood-fired oven in the heart of the city. It’s a great lunch alternative; if you want to avoid a wait, arrive early, about 1pm. A pizza, a drink, and a dessert are included in their lunch special.
The meal kept my dinner partners calm and eating attentively despite the basic and austere decor. I had a salad, so there are choices for gluten-free diners. Regardless of whether you want to or not, you’ll be drooling over the pizza for the duration of the dinner.
If you’re gluten-free and craving pizza, go to:
The Little Foccone
268 Calle Dos de Maig, 934 502 452
This Italian restaurant offers a gluten-free menu that includes not just pizza but also spaghetti and risotto. Because the proprietors had celiac illness, they took the effort to make sure their menu was safe and extensive, and Il Piccolo Foccone was the only restaurant I could locate in Barcelona that produced their own gluten-friendly pizza dough. The remainder had pre-frozen dough that was not worth a try – I was gone as soon as they stated “frozen.”
Lovely family that is suitable for both celiacs and non-celiacs.
Tel: 933 151 009 Calle Mercè, 28
The cuisine at Bar La Plata is straightforward. Bar La Plata provided this image.
This small pub in the Gothic Quarter, which opened in 1945, keeps its menu basic. It only offers a few items: flour-dredged fried anchovies, grilled sausages, an olive, tomato, and onion salad, fresh tomato spread on toast, and wine. Please pay it a visit if any or all of these seem appealing to you. Simple is sometimes preferable.
Spain’s Gluten-Free Restaurant Card is custom-made for you.
I made a gluten-free translation card for Spain, as well as one in Catalan for people just visiting Barcelona and Catalunya.
Each card in the guide has been prepared using celiac-specific information, cross-contamination warnings, and double-checked translation from native speakers. The correctness of the food names and meals on the card is also double-checked with various areas in Spain.
Note: The card may be purchased via Gumroad, a reputable 3rd-party store that utilizes https to ensure that your information is secure. I am not collecting emails or personal information from those who purchase the card.
What makes this gluten-free card unique?
On my trips, I tried many different translation cards and still felt sick. I may be more sensitive than other celiacs, but even a little quantity of contaminated frying oil or wheat-thickened food sauce may make me sick for days. Not to mention the subsequent joint discomfort and inflammation.
This card differs from previous celiac cards I’ve seen in that it not only lists all of the local food names for what to eat and what to avoid, but it also mentions the risk of cross contamination. It’s also been studied by celiacs and translated by a native speaker who understands the illness and local cuisine.
I translated the card into Catalán since it is the most widely spoken language in Catalunya. The Spanish card is the greatest choice for people going abroad. Catalán may be more helpful for the Costa Brava, Costa Dorada, and Barcelona regions.
On the purchasing page, you may get an English version of the card so you know exactly what you’re getting.
Spanish gluten-free card, customized for Spanish foods:
Gluten-free Catalan card, customized for meals in Spain and Catalunya:
In Barcelona, here are some gluten-free dining and celiac disease tips:
The beauty of dining in Spain is that the fundamental components are so essential to the people who live there. The quality of the meat or cheese, as well as the freshness of the bread, all play an important part in meal suggestions. I went to a coffee shop, and the proprietor particularly suggested a bar since the proprietor “cares about the ingredients.” Even tiny restaurants are known for their attention to detail when it comes to food quality.
As a result, meals may be made from basic ingredients, which is ideal for celiacs. The majority of the meals were safe to consume, with the exception of sandwiches (bocadillos), fried squid (calamares fritos), bread (pan), and croquettes (croquetas). Many of the meals in town were safe, from grilled fish or shellfish to black rice and squid.
However, here are some pointers:
- Soy celiaca for a woman and soy celiaco for a male are the key words. If you want to know more, you may google “no puedo comer gluten” (I can’t eat gluten). I didn’t have to explain the illness any more since virtually every restaurant knew what it was.
- If the fish or seafood has been breaded in flour, be sure to inquire. A simple ‘do you have any trigo harina?’ (Does this include wheat flour?) was enough for me. Restaurants can and do substitute maize flour for wheat flour, but contamination will still be a problem if the food is fried.
- Request that your fish be grilled to avoid cross-contamination.
- Fried artichokes were always dusted with flour, giving them a delicate crispness. This was something I had to learn the hard way.
- Many of the salamis and sandwich hams included wheat or gluten, but cured jamón, which was waiting for me on a wooden stand to be sliced with care, was gluten free, as was much of the restaurant’s home-made sausage.
- Go to La Luna restaurant or M2 Gluten Free for 100% gluten-free choices in Barcelona.
Enjoy your meal!
On our recent trip to Spain, we discovered that the region of Catalonia is known for its delicious, and mostly gluten free, cuisine.. Read more about gluten free sushi near me and let us know what you think.
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