This was another solo trip I took last year, for a few days, in order to discover a city that I had never visited before – to be honest, I had never been anywhere in Spain. In Europe, I’ve always been attracted by Scandinavian countries… but this time I wanted to try something different and see how it felt.
I chose Barcelona, “capital city” of Catalunya, for its cultural and architectural abundance – and I ended up falling in love with Gaudì: he’s an absolute genius! But that is a different story…
In order to talk about gluten free Barcelona, I will split the restaurants based on their location in the city, so that it’s easier for you to be oriented.
As I already did in the past, even this time I suggest you to get ready before leaving: get a map (or a Google map) and put place holders so that you can easily find places where to have lunches or dinners on the go, based on where you are.
Are you ready to embark on this trip to discover the gluten free side of Barcelona? Make yourself comfortable: I found quite a lot of gluten free restaurants…
Gluten free Barcelona: old town (historic center)
Rasoterra is a vegetarian and vegan restaurant that also offers gluten free dishes (marked on the menu). It’s also the place that I would probably suggest you more warmly if you asked me where to eat gluten free in Barcelona.
They use organic, zero-mileage products and many of them are also marked by Slow Food. I absolutely share their philosophy: we are what we eat… so we couldn’t get along better.
At lunch, you’ll find a fixed-price menu: 11€ for two courses, 13€ for three (starter, main and dessert), including one drink and bread – that’s also gluten free, served in the Catalan way with tomato and, in this case, salt flakes with seaweed.
The dishes I tasted were a mixed salad with chickpeas and an orange-ginger vinaigrette, a soft-boiled egg with mashed potatoes, olives, baked veggies and a Catalan-style roasted artichoke and, as dessert, a smoothie with yoghurt, banana and strawberry. All of them were simple but very good!
The dinner menu offers more refined tapas, but unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to go and try them. You can do it, though, and then let me know how the experience was!
Bun Bo Vietnam
Another restaurant in Barcelona that I loved was the cute Bun Bo Vietnam, where you can eat Vietnamese food with a touch of South America.
On the menu you’ll find plenty of naturally gluten free dishes: I chose a chicken curry with coconut milk and ginger, served with plain rice. An explosion of flavors that I could eat forever!
The prices are cheap, the service is cheerful and the decorations are amazing. I absolutely suggest you to visit this lovely place!
Where can you eat gluten free in Barcelona if you’re looking for something quick and easy? At Conesa, for example!
This chain is a real benchmark in town: they make sandwiches (bocadillos), warm or cold, with typical cold cuts and cheese, vegetarian, classic or more creative… all of them (well, almost) are available in the gluten free version.
Conesa is perfect for a quick and cheap lunch – I spent a bit more than 5€ for a gluten free sandwich with raw ham, cheese and grilled pepper – but with the possibility to try something typical. The bocadillo is big enough even though not super filled (mine wasn’t, at least) and really tasty: a perfect street food, even though you can also sit inside.
Wok to Walk
Wok to Walk is a franchising with different locations in the old town – and it’s going to be your thing if you’re looking for quick meals on a budget.
The menu consists of “make your own” Asian dishes: you can choose a base (the gluten free ones are rice noodles, white rice and brown rice, all of which are served with mixed veggies and egg), then you can add more ingredients (chicken, shrimps, more veggies…), a dressing (make sure you choose a gluten free one) and, if you want, a topping.
The base is around 5€ and it’s already a quite complete and satisfying meal – I had that only, without any addition.
Tasty, fast, and even in this case you can take your food away or sit in the small eatery.
Just remember to pay attention to cross contamination: I saw how they “washed” the woks and I’m afraid it’s not very safe from that point of view… this said, if you are not celiac but only gluten sensitive and you love Asian food, I still think you should try it!
Café Granja Viader
The only day I headed out for breakfast I chose Café Granja Viader. It’s an historic café of Barcelona: it was founded around 150 years ago and it’s a place you should defiitely visit once.
It will be full of tourists, but there are also well-hidden locals that, after breakfast, stop at the counter and buy kilos of whipped cream and cheese to take home. The peculiarity of this place is in fact that of being not only a café but also a deli where they sell typical cold cuts and dairy products. The latter are their specialty – above all whipped cream, flavoured milk and all kinds of possible cheesecakes.
You understand that it’s not the best place for someone who shouldn’t eat dairy products (like me)… that’s why I ordered strawberries with no whipped cream, regretting it immediately.
In order to have a (kind of) complete breakfast, I added ladyfingers – a big, soft and light kind of cookies in their gluten free version – and horchata – a non-dairy milk made of a nut called chufa. I’d never heard of it before, but I have to say I was positively surprised!
The gluten free goodies are marked on the menu, but I have the impression that even some of the amazing cheesecakes in the counter were actually gluten free even though not marked – so I’d suggest you to ask the waiters.
My breakfast, in the end, cost me 7.50€ so… it’s definitely a place to visit, very typical, but a bit too pricey from my point of view.
Where can you eat gluten free in Barcelona, if you’re looking for an elegant and celiac safe restaurant? At En Ville, of course! This gluten free restaurant is suitable for romantic dinners or Sunday lunches (like the one I had), or simply if you want to treat yourself when you’re on holiday.
They offer a 100% gluten free menu, so I guess there’s no cross-contamination issue but… there’s a but! Pay attention to the bread that they bring to the table: just to be extremely sure, I asked if that was also gluten free. They said no and got me the gluten free bread. It was warm and good, for sure, but I had to pay for it separately. Now the question is: why in a fixed-price menu of a 100% gluten free restaurant they include “normal” bread – while the gluten free one has to be requested and paid separately?! That doesn’t make much sense…
But let’s move on: at lunch there’s the typical fixed-price formula with starter + main dish + dessert, beverages (and bread) not included. I paid around 25€, total, which is not bad.
My starter was a salad with rocket, pistachio oil and a red sauce that I didn’t really understand. The main dish was baked cod with aioli sauce on a bed of spinach, raisins and pine nuts – this was definitely the best dish and pretty filling too. I ended my lunch with crema catalana (a kind of crème brulée), that I really wanted to try since I was in Catalunya! But then, I have to say I prefer the one I make myself…
In conclusion, I was expecting more from this restaurant and I was a bit disappointed… but maybe I’m too demanding? You can try and let me know what you think!
Boqueria is the most famous food market in Barcelona: you can’t miss it, whether you are a tourist or a local who’s looking for quality products!
On the stalls you’ll find any kind of fruit and vegetables, you’ll eat fruit salads or drink fresh smoothies, you’ll buy fish (even precious ones, like percebes), meat, eggs, cold cuts, spices…
The locals suggest to skip the first stalls and head to those on the back, which should be more authentic… I didn’t really notice a huge difference at a first glance, if not for the price (lower on the back).
For gluten intolerant or celiac people, there are different options there: fruit of course, but also typical nougat – very good and 100% gluten free, perfect even as a souvenir – and Creps Barcelona (a restaurant I will talk about later on). I was very happy not only to visit this place but also to enjoy some food there! You’ll maybe find Boqueria a bit touristic, but I still think you can’t miss it…
Gluten free Barcelona: Gracia
I know, paella is not typical from Catalunya. But it’s typical of other areas in Spain, so it’s better to eat it in Barcelona than in Italy… right?
Even more because Arrosseria Xativa (that has more than one location in town) offers the typical paellas from Valencia and uses traditional ingredients like “bomb rice”.
Almost all kinds of paella are gluten free, but even some starters are (for example the fried cod, that I really wanted to try but I didn’t have the chance) and desserts too (I regret not trying their crema catalana!).
I chose a seafood paella: I have to say there was quite a lot of fish in it and the flavor was delicious!
The price of paella is the average you get in Barcelona, but I have the feeling that quality is definitely above average here. The waiters are super nice and the location in Gracia is perfect if you want to enjoy the lively nightlife of the neighborhood after dinner. Absolutely suggested!
Creps Barcelona is another restaurant with more than one location in Barcelona (among which the one at Boqueria, as I said). I went to the one in Gracia, located in one of the most lively streets of the area.
Crèpes are an international food nowadays, but here they offer them in the typical Breton style. There’s a “glutinous” version and a gluten free one: the galette. All of them are available in dozens of variations, both savory and sweet. I tried the one with baby spinach, goat cheese and honey: it was very tasty, even though there was a bit too much honey (for someone like me who doesn’t usually eat sugar). It was so sweet that I didn’t get dessert after it: I ordered a salad instead!
The place is quite cheap, suitable for dinner if you want to sit down and enjoy your well deserved meal but you’re on a budget.
A bit out of the center of Gracia, Tra-Bal is the perfect place for a complete gluten free meal in Barcelona. It’s in fact one of those places that offer a fixed-price menu (12€) that includes even beverages and bread (gluten free, with tomato in the Catalan style).
The range of dishes you can choose from is wide and includes even typical ones like gazpacho with ham and boiled egg that I picked as a starter – and that I really liked. I wasn’t as lucky with m y main dish: tuna carpaccio, 4 slices of definitely too thin fish with some rocket and seasoning. The dessert was a cheese flan, good but not breathtaking.
The service was super fast but with a big problem (maybe because the restaurant is out of the main tourist areas): the waiters can’t speak English and the gluten free menu is only available in Catalan! Not even Spanish, just Catalan… I had to use a translator to be able to understand something. For the dessert I ordered randomly – maybe if I understood what I was getting I would have made a different choice.
Whatever, for sure it was a way to dive into the real Barcelona, surrounded by workers on their lunch break instead of hungry tourists!
Gluten free Barcelona: Plaza Espanya
El Mussol is another franchising of restaurants with different locations in Barcelona – I tried the one at Las Arenas, in Plaza Espanya. If you’re looking for a place where to eat before the Magic Fountains show in Montjuic, then this might be the answer.
The gluten free menu, separated from the regular one, offers quite a lot of options, from starters to mains and desserts, but even small bites and sides. The price range is wide too, so it’s suitable for everyone.
After ordering your gluten free food, you will get new cutlery and seasonings – the first are protected by plastic foil, while the latter are single-dose. Even the dishes are brought to the table covered by a cloche in order to avoid cross contamination. This is very appreciated, but there’s a “tiny” problem… the quality of food.
I had the grilled free range chicken with “Mussol spices”, but it was not very flavorful and above all it was basically raw! It came with a baked potato and some veggies – I had to ask for them more than once because they got lost, and in the end they were flavorless too. In conclusion, I was definitely expecting more. Disappointing!
At Las Arenas, on the ground floor, you can find another gluten free restaurant that I didn’t have the chance to try: Pura Brasa (it has two more locations).
In the same area, I found (but not tried) Copasetic.
Gluten free in Barcelona: Barceloneta
From a lousy chicken to a superb one: the one I had at Chicken Bar, right in front of the Olympic harbor of Barcelona. The location is super nice: it’s very pleasant to sit on the sofas outside and relax after a long walk on the seafront.
This eatery saved me when I was almost giving up to the idea of having lunch at McDonald’s. They don’t have a gluten free menu, but if you ask they will tell you what you can eat: not much, to be honest, but enough to be satisfied.
Their chicken is definitely good: they slow-roast it, moistening it with oil and spices, which makes it super soft and flavorful. I got a quarter, that is served with roasted potatoes. I asked to add a bowl of salad, but pay attention: remember to point out that you don’t want croutons on it! Mine had them and I had to take them off… you can imagine the contamination levels.
Prices are cheap, and the location is also nice for an aperitif (they have olives and packed chips) if you’re with friends!
Dino Ice Cream
After the chicken and after walking back along the seafront, don’t you want to eat a yummy gluten free ice cream?
Dino has several locations spread around Barcelona – you can recognize them because there’s almost always a line outside… and not without a reason!
They have a lot of flavors, most of which gluten free and some even vegan. They also have gluten free cones and the prices are not crazy (despite being higher than in Italy).
The quality is high, it’s worth the wait. I had the vegan dark chocolate and dulce de leche – I think I couldn’t choose better! Absolutely suggested.
Gluten free in Barcelona: Sagrada
This area of Barcelona isn’t touristic at all, if you don’t consider the surroundings of the Sagrada Familia (that you need to visit, by the way: it’s breathtaking!).
In this neighborhood there was Paella Takeaway by Voramar: you still find it online but it’s actually closed. What’s open, instead, is Cal Marius Pastrami, a simple eatery where you can find gluten free snacks, sandwiches and street food. Unfortunately, it was closed when I went there and I couldn’t try it… that’s a pity!
More ideas on where to eat gluten free in Barcelona, that I didn’t get the chance to try myself, are:
Out of China
Jansana (bakery that I discovered after I went back home!)
Teresa Carles Healthy Foods (pricey, but healthy food lovers will adore it)
*in general, there are quite a loto f ice cream places that are 100% or partially gluten free… peak into those that inspire you and don’t be afraid to ask the staff!*
The most difficult part about eating gluten free in Barcelona, for me, was breakfast. I solved the problem having breakfast at my Airbnb, partly with products I brought from home and partly with those I bought at the local supermarkets – which usually have a small gluten free department. I heard that the chain El Corte Ingles is well supplied for gluten free, but I didn’t check out in person.
I bought rice cakes covered in dark chocolate, digestive-style cookies to eat on the train that would take me to the airport at sunrise, fruit and smoothies.
In general, the feeling I got after this trip to Barcelona is that it’s pretty similar to Italy when it comes to eating gluten free… if I fell in love with Copenhagen for the incredibly high quality of its food, here I was disappointed more than once – but I also found some good options.
I hope you find this post useful – and if you have any question feel free to drop them in the comments section!