The Spanish may still be struggling with the definition of “vegetarian” (most veggie menus feature tuna!) but when it comes to gluten free in Madrid, the city’s restaurants, bars, and supermarkets are already ahead of the curve.
The Madrid Association of Celiacs and Gluten Sensitive People has been certifying the city’s restaurants as celiac-friendly for more than 15 years. And with more than 50 establishments on their list, there are plenty of options for diving into Spanish cuisine worry-free.
Eating gluten free in Madrid does not mean you have to miss out on the best of typical Spanish cuisine! Many of the most delicious and most traditional tapas in Madrid are naturally gluten free, such as tortilla de patatas (an egg and potato omelet-like dish) and huevos rotos con jamón (fried potatoes topped with over easy eggs and slices of cured Iberian ham).
Eating sin gluten in Madrid is totally doable if you know where to go. While many places in Madrid are celiac-friendly, it’s always a good idea to talk with the waiter before ordering to ensure your meal comes completely gluten free. Here are some of our top picks for where to eat gluten free in Madrid.
Please note: This list was accurate as of March 2014. Please double check these places are still in the same location before going!
Photo Credit: Stacy Spensley
Whether you’re in need of a mid-afternoon pick-me-up or a sweet something to start the day off right, Madrid’s bakeries are a haven of pastries, coffee and chatter. Only a handful of the city’s panaderias and pastelerias have jumped on the gluten-free bandwagon. But those that have are definitely doing it right!
- Celicioso: Perhaps the most famous (and most delicious) gluten-free place in Madrid, Celicioso (Calle Hortaleza, 3) has a display case packed with all kinds of celiac-friendly treats. Enjoy a chocolate peanut butter cupcake or a slice of carrot bread in the cafe or grab a loaf of bread to go! Everything made here is 100 percent gluten free.
- Oh Celia!: Located in the charming Antón Martín Market (the one we visit on our Huertas Neighborhood Food and Market Tour!) you’ll find the Oh Celia! bakery, selling delicious sweet and savory gluten-free pastries.
A huge part of Spanish culture, and thus of any visit to Madrid, is meeting up with friends to tomar algo or have something to eat or drink. That something, more often than not, is a nice cold beer. Gluten free eaters don’t have to miss out on this cultural experience in Madrid! Here are some great bars that serve up gluten-free beer:
- Café del Jardin: A cute little café in the Malasaña barrio, Café del Jardín (San Mateo, 13) is perfect for relaxing with a cup of tea or tasting a gluten free cerveza under the sunshine in their back garden.
- El Nerú: This cider house in the center of Madrid transports patrons to the North of Spain in the mountainous region of Asturias. At El Nerú (Calle Boradores, 5) you’ll find a variety of gluten-free ciders and two types of gluten free beer. They also have an extensive menu of tapas and raciones including gluten free options such as Hake fish in a cider-shrimp sauce and Asturian-style pork and beans.
- Cerveceria San Julián: North of the city center in the Chamberí district you’ll find Cerveceria San Julián (Calle Alberto Aguilera, 30). This neighborhood bar offers two gluten free beers, Daura Estrella Damm and Ambar.
- Evarsito Club: Two blocks from Plaza de España, Evarsito Club (Calle Marqués de Santa Ana, 11) is a place to catch a concert or a DJ set and do a bit of dancing with your gluten free beer. Typically the crowd here is a bit older.
No trip to Madrid is complete without an evening of tapas, or hopping from bar to bar and eating small plates of delectable Spanish food. You can find naturally gluten free options like the tortilla and huevos rotos mentioned above at just about every tapas bar. But if you’re looking for something specifically and certifiably gluten-free head to these places:
- Taberna La Concha: This tiny tavern is easy to miss among the bar-packed street in Madrid’s tapas land (aka the La Latina barrio). La Concha (Cava Baja, 7) has a special gluten-free menu full of traditional Spanish tapas specially crafted for celiacs!
- Bar Lambuzo: A charming Spanish family from Cadiz serves up Andalusian specialties at Bar Lambuzo (Calle de las Conchas, 9). If you indicate you are gluten free they will give you multiple options for enjoying a true evening of tapas.
- Mu Madrid: A modern tapas bar, Mu Madrid (Calle Juan Álvarez Mendízabal, 44) indicates which plates on the menu are gluten free with a helpful SG (sin gluten) label.
If you’re in the mood for a stationary dining experience pop into one of the many delicious options for gluten free restaurants in Madrid. Experience an authentic Spanish comida with a three-course lunch menu or get a taste of Madrid’s immigrant culture with crusty pizza or savory crepes.
- Pizza Sapori: This trendy pizza place is certified gluten free by the Celiac Association of Madrid. At Pizza Sapori (Calle El Camino del Cura, 10), you can build your own pizza or pasta from a variety of toppings and sauces. Lactose-free options are also available.
- La Farfalla: This hole-in-the-wall restaurant in the immigrant neighborhood of Lavapies cooks up the odd yet delicious combo of Argentinian steaks and Italian pizzas and pastas. La Farfalla (Calle Santa Maria, 17) is certified by the Celiac Association of Madrid and also serve vegetarian dishes.
- El Arrozal: If you are looking for gluten free paella in Madrid, El Arrozal (Calle Segovia, 13) is your place. They even have a separate gluten-free kitchen where they make some of the best gluten-free baguettes in town!
Almost all of Madrid’s grocery stores offer at least a few gluten-free items. Often times, though, they aren’t very clearly labeled and can be tough to spot, especially if your Spanish is shaky.
- Mercadona: For a good gluten-free-friendly large supermarket we recommend Mercadona. All of the Hacendado brand items (Mercadona’s store brand) have been specifically tested for gluten and those which are completely gluten free are marked with a sin gluten label. Mercadona has two central-Madrid locations, one at Calle Villa de Arbancón sin numero near the Embajadores metro stop and one next to Retiro Park at Plaza de los Reyes Magos, s/n.
- Herbolarios Doemi Market: The Herbolarios Doemi Market (Calle de Carranza, 3) is great for ecologically produced items. It has a large sin gluten section with everything from gluten-free pastas to gluten free versions of Madrid’s famous pastries like rosquillas (anis-flavored doughnuts).
While we definitely recommend directing your taste buds to the awesome options above, if you’re really craving some fast food, these chain restaurants in Madrid also have gluten free options and can be found all over the city:
- Telepizza (Domino’s-style pizza)
- Rodilla (sandwiches)
- VIPS (array of both Spanish and diner-style dishes)
Want an all-encompassing gluten free experience? Our food tours are completely adaptable for gluten free guests! So you can join in all the foodie fun, without the worry of not having appropriate alternatives to suit your dietary needs! We hope to see you in Madrid soon!