Baci D’Angelo Patisserie
Food sensitivity is on the rise, with over 14 million people in Spain suffering from a food allergy. Four thousand people are diagnosed nationally each year, and for those intolerant to gluten, nuts, lactose, egg, fish and shellfish, eating out in the city is often a stressful, complicated or near-impossible experience. There’s reason to be optimistic, however, as more and more eateries are adapting to special dietary needs. To point you in the right direction, we have compiled a guide to eating out in the city for gluten-free (GF) and other allergy-friendly diets.
CAFES AND BAKERIES
1 of 3
Patisseria Jansana Gluten Free
2 of 3
3 of 3
Founded in 1930, Patisseria Jansana decided to dedicate itself solely to gluten-free baking and cooking three years ago, with the majority of its products also being lactose-free. Their quaint cafe in Eixample, complete with free WiFi, offers a cosy space to enjoy an array of pastries, cakes, sweet and savoury croissants. Balmes 106.
This family-run business provides a catering service around Spain (with free delivery in Barcelona) for those with intolerances to gluten, lactose, egg and nuts, promising “to customise every order to suit the needs of each client”. Whether it’s for a birthday, wedding or any other celebration, Baci D’Angelo whips up such delectable cakes that even your tolerant friends and family won’t be able to tell they’re allergy-friendly bakes. València 656.
Approximately one percent of the Spanish population suffer from Coeliac Disease, according to the Federación de Asociaciones de Celíacos de España (FACE), and around 10 percent of the country’s population are sensitive to gluten. Coeliac Disease is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to wrongly react to gluten. A coeliac’s body, therefore, reacts to gluten and attacks it when ingested, causing damage to the bowel and digestive system.
A sign asking the question ‘Qui necessita gluten?’ (Who needs gluten?) hangs proudly on the wall of this cafe. The baked artisan goods produced here certainly don’t, as they are at least as good as their gluten-containing counterparts in moistness and texture. The Pan de Sant Jordi is a standout, but they also sell GF craft beer Espiga, as well as GF breakfast oats, crisps and pasta, among other useful kitchen cupboard staples. París 165.
Just off the bustling Rambla lies a bakery that’s a trove of hidden GF and dairy-free delights. Although not advertised as a specialist bakery, at the back of the shop you’ll find a wooden table laden with a selection of breads, biscuits and cakes that are gluten, nut, egg and lactose-free, all sealed for freshness and to avoid contamination. Xuclà 23.
FANCY A BEER?
Most beer is made from gluten-containing grains, barley and wheat, but many beer companies and craft brewers create GF beer made from millet, rice or sorghum. Beers are also classed as ‘gluten-free’ if their gluten levels are 20 ppm (parts per million) or lower. Here are some great places to enjoy a gluten free beer in the city:
MonDoré. Floridablanca 3.
Mikkeller Bar Barcelona. València 202.
Bar Nostalgic BCN. Viladomat 38.
Bar Oviso. Arai 5.
Sugarbar Barcelona. Rauric 21.
Part of the Slow Food Movement, El Filete Ruso is also certified by the Federación de Asociaciones de Celíacos de España (FACE). They offer 13 different types of hamburger, all of which can be served with GF buns. Owner Claudio Hoyos said that the restaurant aims to “dignify the burger” and, as part of the ‘km 0’ (Kilometre Zero) club, they have swapped the cheap burger meat unsuitable for allergy sufferers for organic, locally-sourced products. All staff are meticulously trained to meet any diner’s dietary requirements. Enric Granados 95.
1 of 2
El Filete Ruso
2 of 2
Messie Sin Gluten
For gluten or lactose intolerant people, the mention of Italian cuisine can often induce a cold sweat—all that bread, all that cheese. Don’t sweat, though, because Eric Luthringer’s pizzeria in Gràcia serves gluten, lactose and nut-free pizzas, pastas, salads and even 20 GF beers. Luthringer’s aim was to open a restaurant “where allergy sufferers could bring their non-allergy-suffering friends and all could dine together and enjoy the same great food, without there being different menus or even the risk of contamination.” Siracusa 15.
INTOLERENCE ON THE RISE
With many celebrities, including Miley Cyrus and Gwyneth Paltrow, advocating a GF diet, it’s sometimes considered just a dieting fad. However, the boom in gluten intolerance over the past 20 years could be related to a leap forward in research, and the fact that testing for Coeliac Disease no longer requires an invasive procedure, but a simple blood test. Where sufferers were previously diagnosed with the umbrella disease of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), medical advancements have enabled us to pinpoint gluten as the cause of many digestive problems. Perhaps the biggest single reason is that today, people are talking more openly about ‘invisible illnesses’ than they did in the past. Just as mental health is gaining more awareness, digestive problems are no longer a taboo topic of conversation and people feel more able to discuss them, which may have prompted more diagnoses than ever before.
Many Mexican restaurants use wheat flour as a cheap alternative to cornflour, which rules Mexican food out for coeliacs. Tlaxcal allays such fears as its menu clearly indicates which type of flour is used and which allergens—fish, wheat, lactose and egg—are present in each dish. From the guacamole with tortilla chips and the cheesy enchiladas to the pastel de elote (corn flour-based cake), for those with a food allergy or intolerance, there are plenty of options on the menu at this Born eatery. Comerç 27.
WHAT IS GLUTEN?
Gluten is a protein found in a number of grains, the main three being wheat, barley and rye. Deriving from the Latin term that translates as ‘glue’, gluten gives an adhesive quality to foods that contain it, binding ingredients together in pasta, bread and cakes to give a slightly chewy texture.
At Matsuri, not only do they provide GF soy sauce (a rarity in many sushi restaurants), but the staff inform you of which dishes could be contaminated by gluten, wheat or fish in the kitchen. Their scrupulous attitude towards allergens, however, still leaves you plenty of delicious Japanese and Thai options, and the kitchen staff will happily alter many of their sushi dishes and platos principales to suit your dietary needs. Plaça del Regomir 1.
1 of 2
2 of 2
An unpretentiously cool restaurant at the foot of the W Hotel, Gallito is ideal for families, friends and even first dates. Their coded menu explains the full list of allergens present in every dish. With its California beach vibe, this restaurant offers Catalan cuisine with international influences. The roasted spring chicken with yucca au gratin is a delight that exemplifies how allergy-friendly dishes can still be rich in diversity and flavour. Passeig del Mare Nostrum 19-21.
- Allergy Chef. To book an online restaurant reservation, simply specify what allergy or intolerance you have, and this website tells you which restaurants are suitable for you.
- Federación de Asociaciones de Celíacos de España.
- Asociacion de Celíacos de Catalunya.
- Coeliac Society UK.
- Canal Salut.
- Asociación Española de Personas con Alergia a Alimentos y Látex.
- Asociación Española de Afectados de Síndrome de Intestino Irritable.