Sunday, July 21, 2019

Barcelona Gluten Free

Stop number three on our European summer vacation, after Disneyland Paris and Paris, was Barcelona. We spent four nights at an Airbnb in the Eixample neighborhood with my parents, my aunt and uncle, and my brother's family.


As I mentioned in my Paris post, I do a lot of research before traveling to Europe, or on any vacation. I always use the Find Me Gluten Free app, and reviews from fellow bloggers, if they are available. For Barcelona, my favorite posts were written by Becky Excell and The Gluten Free Suitcase. I also like to read restaurant reviews on TripAdvisor once I decide where I might like to dine, and Instagram can come in handy too. I follow a lot of 100% gluten free restaurants, and bloggers who travel internationally. The Find Me Gluten Free app has a great filter for dedicated gluten free restaurants, and it is useful for finding restaurants that are nearby when we are out sightseeing. I could have eaten at all 100% gluten free restaurants in Barcelona, but when traveling with a group of 12 people, and you are the only one that needs to eat gluten free, that can be difficult.


Barcelona is a beautiful city that I hope to visit again soon. It was one of the most gluten-free friendly cities I have ever been too, and there are so many amazing things to see and do.


I am a huge Gaudi fan, so I loved visiting Palau Guell, Park Guell, Casa Mila (La Pedrera), and La Sagrada Familia. I also highly recommend taking a tour of the Palace of Catalan Music.


As far as food goes, our first night in Barcelona, I had dinner at The Fish & Chips Shop, which was a short walk from our Airbnb.


The Fish & Chips Shop has more than one location in Barcelona, but only one of their shops is 100% gluten free.


I decided to order a small portion of fish & chips. The fish and chips were both super crispy, and I enjoyed the seasoning that was on them, and the side of mango chutney I was given. I was also offered tartar sauce, but I declined, because I can't even look at it without being grossed out. The only downside to my meal was that everything was a little salty. Keep in mind that I love salt, but as I ate my fries, I tried to scrape off as much as I could.


After I finished my fish & chips, my family dined at Gaudim Restaurant, which they found on TripAdvisor. It was also a short walk from our Airbnb, so it was easy to go to both restaurants together.


I was worried about just walking into a restaurant I was unfamiliar with and asking about gluten free options, which is why I dined at The Fish & Chips Shop. I could not find any gluten free reviews of Gaudim online, and I did not want to take any chances.



It turned out that major allergens were clearly marked on their menu, and I spoke to their owner/chef about gluten free options after my family finished eating.


My family loved their paella so much, we decided to dine at Gaudim twice, and I was confident I could have a safe meal after talking to the chef.


The paella is not naturally gluten free, as stated on the menu, because they add fried onions that are coated in a little bit of flour to it, but the chef made me a safe version without the fried onions when we returned two nights later.


My husband and I shared an order of lamb and chicken paella. It really was the best paella I have ever had. I wish the lamb had been seasoned a bit more, but the rest of it was perfection. I seriously could not stop eating it, even when I was full.


Several family members had the Caprese salad on both visits, and loved it.


Another favorite restaurant of ours was Out of China, which was also a short walk from our Airbnb. My parents missed our first two nights in Barcelona, because their flight out of Charlotte was canceled, but they dined at both Gaudim and Out of China with us, because we went to both of them twice.


Gluten free options were clearly noted on Out of China's menu, which you can view in its entirety on their website here.


Out of China is accredited by the Celiac Association of Catalonia. Their website does not have an option for English, but I was able to translate it using Google Chrome on my Chromebook.


As soon as I told our server that I have celiac disease, she brought me my own soy sauce, and put a post-it note next to me that signified that I was gluten free. I do not like soy sauce, because it is not sweet, and it is usually very salty, but the "soy sauce" at Out of China was sweet, and not salty at all. It tasted more like coconut aminos or teriyaki sauce than soy sauce.


I was really excited to dine at Out of China, because they have gluten free Dim Sum, something I had not eaten since before my celiac diagnosis 11 years ago. The steamed Hargau filled with shrimp were so amazing, I ordered them on both visits. On their own, they were very good, but dipped in my gluten free soy sauce, they were Dim Sum perfection. They were a celiac's dream come true for me, like so many gluten free sweet and savory dishes I have eaten on our summer trips to Europe.


My husband and I also shared an order of steamed pork and chive dumplings. They were good, but I preferred the Hargau.


The gluten free version of the pork spareribs with sweet soy sauce were so delicious, I ordered them both times we visited Out of China for dinner.


I also recommend the fried bread, which reminded me of the fried pizza dough I had in Italy last summer. I only ordered it on our second visit, and ate it with pieces of meat from my pork spareribs.


Out of China's entire dessert menu is gluten free, and they have some fun desserts to choose from.


The pancake with banana ice cream, dark chocolate, and candied walnuts was heavenly. The pancake reminded me of a crepe, with a little more chew, if that makes sense. 


Out of China's carrot cake with cinnamon ice cream was pretty amazing too. My daughters and nieces loved both desserts, but were evenly split on which one was their favorite. My mom let me taste her hazelnut mochi. She also ordered a passion fruit mochi, which was her favorite. It was good, but not what I expected, because I am used to eating mochi ice cream in the United States.


My gluten-eating daughters and nieces loved the mini BBQ pork buns so much, they begged us to go back to Out of China our last night in Barcelona. The adults in our party were happy to oblige, because we enjoyed our first meal there so much.


After doing the Rick Steves Barri Gotic walk from my Barcelona tour book, and visiting the Cathedral of Barcelona, we had lunch at En Ville, another restaurant certified by the Celiac Association of Catalonia. According to En Ville's website, all of their dishes are safe for people with celiac, and their food is a blend of Catalonian and French cuisine. A review on the Find Me Gluten Free app mentioned that they do have gluten-filled bread if you request it, and it is on their online menu, but everything else is gluten free.


The only menu we were given was a price fixed menu that included a drink, a starter, a main course, and dessert. I did notice other people in the restaurant being served large plates of Spanish ham, so I am not sure if our server presented us with all available options. My brother was told he could not order individual items when he asked. I thought the price was reasonable, but my daughters and nieces had a hard time eating all the courses they were given.


We ordered two plates of gluten free bread, and rubbed it with garlic and tomato. I thought the bread was excellent, and my gluten-eating family enjoyed it.


For my starter, I chose the watermelon gazpacho, which was the perfect light and refreshing soup to begin a meal with on a hot summer day in Barcelona.


My nieces and my sister-in-law enjoyed their pasta with goat cheese and walnuts, and the portion was big enough to make a meal of it.


My uncle chose the octopus salad, which was also a pretty large portion for a starter. He said it was very good, but more potatoes than anything else.


For my main course, I chose the sea bass with arugula and sweet potato chips. No one at our table expected the sea bass to be breaded, but everyone who ordered it enjoyed it.


My daughters and nieces were happy with their pulled pork with fried yuca. The presentation was beautiful, and I liked the bite I tried.


For dessert, I chose the apple pastry. It was good, but I wish they had not warmed it up before serving it.


My daughter Katie was the only one that ordered creme brulee at En Ville, and it was delicious.


My aunt, who almost never eats anything with sugar, chose the melon, which she said was some of the best she has ever had.


Overall, we had a good meal at En Ville, the food was reasonably priced, and the restaurant was beautiful.


After lunch, we walked around La Boqueria Market, where my brother bought me a no sugar added juice with kiwi, apple, ginger, and lemon. I also bought some fruit there later in the trip.


While in Barcelona, I visited three 100% gluten free bakeries. All were within walking distance of our Airbnb. Jansana was closest, and it was my favorite.


Our first night in Barcelona, I stopped at Jansana to have some dessert while my family ordered, and had appetizers at Gaudim. There were so many beautiful pastries to choose from, I had a hard time making a decision. I ended up picking the tartaleta de fruita, because I love fruit, and I miss these kinds of pastries from my gluten-eating days. It was just as delicious as it looked.


I also bought two barretes to go, and a bag of almond cookies, that my aunt and mom devoured later in the trip when I was out sightseeing. The barrettes were some of the best gluten free bread I have ever had, and I am glad I sampled one fresh with some butter when we got back to our Airbnb.


The almond cookies were crunchy, and not too sweet. They were good, but I had hoped that they would be soft inside, and have a more intense almond flavor.


Our last full day in Barcelona, I had lunch at Jansana with my husband. Looking back on these photos, I am wondering why I did not try one of those amazing looking donuts displayed in the window!


Compared to the first evening when I stopped in near closing, there were many more pastries to choose from, which made it even harder to decide what I wanted.


I had to have something savory, and not just stuff my face with pastries, so I chose a mini quiche with spinach, cheese, and what appeared to be ham. It was quite good, but I wish Jansana offered a few sandwiches on their amazing bread.


I asked which pastries were local to Barcelona, because I love to try local dishes when we travel.


The first one I chose tasted like puff pastry with sugar, and I am pretty sure it had almonds on it. The other local pastry I tried was like a sweet bread with powdered sugar. Both of them were delicious.


I had to buy some bread after trying it earlier in the week. The bread that looks like ciabatta was really good. I so wish I could buy bread like this in the United States!


I also bought a palmera without chocolate to eat later. The pastry itself was amazingly flaky, but the butter taste was a little off for me, making me wonder if it was dairy free.


During one of our afternoon breaks at our Airbnb, my aunt and I walked to Pasticelia, another 100% gluten free bakery in Barcelona.


While you are there, you can pick up some gluten free dry pasta. I purchased this brand during our trip to Italy last year at the Rome airport before we flew home.


Like Jansana, there were so many beautiful pastries, I had a hard time choosing what I wanted to have for dessert later.


Their bread looked great too, but there is only so much food one person can eat!


In the end, I decided to buy a nutella stuffed madelaine, and a pastry with apple filling.


My daughters and I thought the madelaine was really good, and the pastry with apples was amazing. The crust was so delicious, I wanted to keep it all to myself, but when my girls are around, they want to sample all of my food.


While in Barcelona, I also stopped at Amiette Gluten Free Bakery to pick up lunch to go on one of the days my family was buying meat, cheese, and gluten-filled bread to eat at our Airbnb.


For savory dishes, I could choose panini or empanadas.


There were plenty of beautiful bread options, and in hindsight, I wish I had bought some.


Like the other bakeries I visited, I thought the prices at Amiette were quite reasonable compared to gluten free bakeries in the United States.


I had plenty of pastries to choose from, but again, I decided to buy a palmera, which I regretted. The palmier (elephant ear) I had in Paris was so good, but the two palmera I ate in Barcelona both tasted strange to me, because they tasted like margarine instead of butter. I loved butter so much when I was a little girl, my family called me the butter queen, and I still love it as an adult.


I really enjoyed the spinach empanada I bought at Amiette for lunch.


My mini chocolate croissant was great too.


The final pastry I chose tasted a little odd to me, like the palmera, so I only ate a couple of bites.


Our last full day in Barcelona, my husband and I had coffee with a friend of his at Galeria Cosmo. My decaf cafe con leche was so good! I rarely drink coffee when we are out in the United States, because I usually don't enjoy it, but I had amazing coffee in Europe.


We visited Barcelona this summer, because our 10-night Mediterranean cruise on the Disney Magic started and ended in Barcelona.


The morning we had to leave for the port, my husband bought some pastries for me from Jansana while I packed. The two with powdered sugar were amazing, but I was not a fan of the one dipped in chocolate, because of the weird butter taste. The pastry on the left had a delicious chocolate filling I really enjoyed, and the one on the right was a favorite that I first tried at lunch earlier in the week.


Up to this point, I had been eating fresh fruit, and Nana Joes ocean beach granola bars I brought from home for breakfast every day in Disneyland Paris, Paris, and Barcelona. Finding quick and easy gluten free breakfast options can be a challenge on vacation, plus I like to start my day with a healthy meal, and I worry about gaining too much weight on long vacations. I don't believe in dieting, so I try not to go too crazy with what I eat on vacation, and I am constantly sharing my food with my family.


I was sad to say goodbye to Barcelona, because there were so many more restaurants and sites I wanted to visit, but that just means that we will have to return again soon. The next time we are in Barcelona, I hope to dine at Ristorante Pizzeria Il Piccolo Focone, which I have heard makes amazing gluten free pizza in a separate space from their gluten-filled pizza. I would also like visit Gula Sana, Ciliadictos, Cal Marius 449, and Copasetic.

What are your favorite restaurants and bakeries for gluten free dining in Barcelona?

On a side note, I do not speak any Spanish, but my husband speaks enough for us to get by, and everyone I encountered in Barcelona spoke English well, except for the woman who helped me at Amiette Gluten Free Bakery.

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