In the restaurant

Most of the people in Spain knows –more or less- what coeliac disease is, but maybe not everybody knows what gluten is and where can it be found.
But what it is for sure is that all the waiters or barmen will try to help us if we explain our problem to them. So, if you decide eating out in Spain:
  1. Call up the restaurant and let them know that there is one coeliac person in the group.
  2. Take with you the gluten-free restaurant card in Spanish, it explains what we can and can not eat and the special care needed handling the products in the kitchen.
  3. Maybe you need to use any of these other expressions:
    • Enfermedad celiaca = celiac disease
    • Yo soy celiaco = I’m coeliac
    • No puedo comer productos que tengan como ingrediente: trigo, centeno, cebada o avena = I cannot eat things that contain wheat, rye, barley or oats.
    • Sin gluten = Apto para celíacos = gluten-free
    • Almidón de trigo = wheat starch
    • Esta comida contiene trigo, centeno, cebada o avena? = Does this dish contain wheat, rye, barley, or oats?
    • Sin salsa, por favor = No sauce, please!
    • ¿Lleva harina? = Does it have flour?
    • ¿Está rebozado? = Is it coated in breadcrumbs?
    • ¿Se han frito en el mismo aceite otros alimentos que puedan contener gluten? = Have this been fried in the same oil as other food that may have gluten?
    • ¿Es casero? = Is it homemade?



Typical dishes

Coeliacs Association of Madrid (ACM) has compiled the most typical Spanish gluten-free (by nature) tapas, dishes, deserts and drinks in this list:

  • Pulpo a la gallega (Octopus boiled, sliced and dressed with oil and paprika. Served with potatoes)
  • Sepia a la plancha sin mayonesa (Grilled cuttlefish without mayonnaise)
  • Calamares a la plancha (Grilled squids)
  • Aceitunas, pepinillos y cebolletas (Olives, gherkins and spring onions)
  • Anchoas en aceite (Anchovies in oil)
  • Boquerones en vinagre (Anchovies marinated in vinegar)
  • Jamón serrano (Cured Ham)
  • Queso (Cheese)
  • Espetos de sardinas (Sardines grilled at the barbecue)

  • Cordero asado (Roasted lamb)
  • Cochinillo asado (Roasted suckling pig)
  • Mariscos cocidos o la plancha (Boiled or grilled shellfish)
  • Paella: Consultar que colorante han utilizado y si también se ha añadido sazonador, no todos ellos son aptos para celíacos (Paella: ask what food colouring has been used and if it has been seasoned with stock cubes, not all of them are gluten-free)
  • Tortilla de patata (Spanish omelette with potatoes)
  • Guisantes con jamón serrano (Peas with cured ham)
  • Revuelto de huevos con champiñones, gambas, o espárragos trigueros (Scrambled eggs with mushrooms, prawns or asparagus)
  • Huevos rotos: huevos con jamón serrano y patatas (Eggs with cured ham and potatoes)
  • Marmitako: patatas, bonito, tomates, ajos, cebollas y pimientos (Potatoes with tuna, onions, peppers, tomatoes and garlics)
  • Escalivada (Roast of vegetables)
  • Pipirrana: ensalada de tomates, pimientos, cebollas, atún o bacalao (Salad of tomatoes, peppers, onions, tuna or cod)
  • Pisto manchego: tomates, cebolla, calabacín, ajo, aceite, sal y perejil (Vegetable stew with tomatoes, onions, courgettes, garlic, oil, salt and parsley)
  • Papas a lo pobre: patatas con pimientos y cebolla (Potatoes with peppers and onions)
  • Bacalao al pilpil (Cod with oil and garlic)
  • Bacalao al ajoarriero (Cod-fish with garlic and eggs)
  • Dorada o lubina a la sal (Gilt head fish or Sea Bass in Salt Crust)
  • Merluza a la gallega: merluza, patata y pimiento (Hake, potatoes and peppers)
  • Pescados y carnes a la plancha (Grilled fishes and meats)

  • Arroz con leche casero (Homemade rice pudding: rice, milk, sugar and cinnamon)
  • Natillas caseras, no de sobre (Homemade custard)
  • Flanes caseros, no de sobre (Homemade cream caramel)
  • Tocino de cielo (Toffee caramel-rich custard)
  • Frutas en almíbar (Fruit in syrup)
  • Yemas (yolks and sugar)
  • Cuajada fresca (A type of very firm yoghourt)
  • Helado en bloque o tarrina de nata y/o vainilla (Plain and / or vanilla ice cream)

  • Sangría: vino, gaseosa y fruta (Wine, lemonade and fruit)
  • Tinto de verano: vino y gaseosa (Wine and lemonade)
  • Calimocho (Wine and cola)
  • Sidra (Cider)
  • Vino (Wine)
  • Cava (Champagne)
  • Pacharán (sloe liquor)
  • Anís (anisette)




You can eat the dishes mentioned before in every restaurant of Spain. But some restaurants have an agreement with a coeliacs society or they simply know our disease and take a great deal of care over the cooking, offering gluten-free menus or dishes. You can look up them here or in the Spanish Federation of Coeliacs Associations(FACE) webpage.

There is a lot of restaurants reviews and opinions on the Internet about restaurants that are aware of gluten-free diet. I usually look up several personal webpages, which are very complete:

They are distributed by province. You can look for the restaurants whether on the map or on a list. Those with the barred spike have an agreement with any of the coeliacs society. You can see the address and web site of each restaurant and see comments of other people who have visited it.
You can also check bars, bakeries, markets, hotels and other kind of accommodation where you can find gluten-free issues.
Besides, you can download an Apple application for mobile phones.

This blog contains information about coeliac disease for people just diagnosed: diet, advises, recipes, etc. In the section Restaurantes you can find (on the map or in the regional list) a lot of restaurants where you can find gluten-free food. You can also search markets on the section Comprar Sin Gluten (Buying gluten-free). And a very interesting thing: you can find bars that serve gluten-free beer on the section ¿Nos vamos de cañas?

This website has a lot of information for coeliacs, even a blog. In the Buscar (Search) section you can look for a bar or restaurant or see it in the map. You can vote the restaurant and see the opinions of other people. You can download an Android application for mobile phones as well, to find the gluten-free restaurants nearby.

There is also a Facebook Group: 500.000 establecimientos para celíacos where you can find other celiacs recommendations. There is a file document for each Province that is being updated everyday with the group members experiences.

Finally, you can use any of the Spanish smartphones apps available for coeliacs/celiacs, with products, shops, hotels, restaurants...

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