Eating vegetarian or coeliac / gluten free / wheat free in Lanzarote
On this page you will find:
- Intro with why Lanzarote and why we have shared our finds
- Shops to go buy food from to prepare yourself
- Restaurant reviews from all over the island
Introduction – why? why? why?
See also list of places we recommend you see while in Lanzarote. I never thought I’d keep going to the same place for a holiday but when we went to Lanzarote we fell in love with it. Why?
- No over-development as carefully managed
- The amazing works, houses and tourist sites from the artist Cesar Manrique
- The winter sunshine and cooling breeze but choose your time to come carefully as in summer you’d roast
- The amazing landscapes that are out of this world and the party tricks from the magma in Timanfaya National Park
- The beaches on all sides of the island and how you can drive everywhere easily on quiet roads
- Finding a very pleasant resort without drunken louts and with lovely seafront walks in Costa Teguise
- Inexpensive places to stay – first time we paid only £200 each for flights from Bournemouth and week’s self catering!
- Finding it easy to eat as a vegetarian, a growing understanding of coeliac catering plus all larger supermarkets having gluten free sections now.
If Andrew can’t find anything to eat or is faced with omelette and salad (negotiating that fish on salad is not vegetarian) every day as the only option, he gets rather narked and it is a terrible holiday. It’s not so much the gluten free but being vegetarian. We can vouch that vegetarians will be happy eating out. Now with gluten free on top it is getting tougher so as we’ve well and truly mastered eating well on holiday in Lanzarote (we’ve been three times in 12 months one year!) we felt we should share this so others can go enjoy its splendours too.
Lanzarote shops for gluten free / wheat free and vegetarian supplies
Most medium to large supermarkets now stock gluten free alternatives generally so you should be able to find something fairly easily and don’t forget some airlines like RyanAir let you bring over GF stuff for free too but that’s only worthwhile if you are allergic to something in most gluten free foods like nuts or soya or corn or rice. Out of town EuroSpars have a large selection of Schar products which includes GF pizzaz and biscuits as well as bread and breakfast cereals – look for a column of yellow items. Hiperdinos have Beiker products (green packaging and banners with the words ‘sin gluten’) which we find less alluring.
Heinz baked beans seem to be only ones that are gluten free (we have found a Spanish brand without wheat too) so be careful where you breakfast and to buy a tin they can be very expensive (0.85 Euros at EuroSpar though but can be 2 Euros a tin!). Cheapest are at Gangas shop outside Tias I am told – “It’s a place that imports British furniture, some dried and tinned and frozen foods and other bits and pieces called Gangas – it’s at the top of Tias, near to the bypass road, Calle Libertadas, 61″. Note I read that although they now have Linda McCartney’s veggie stuff in the aforementioned freezers when it sells out they will be getting rid of the freezers sadly.
By the way the nicest bottle water we found was the Lanjaron brand as rest tasted salty and can ruin a cuppa tea or coffee. Fuentealta is okay too.
And if you like red wine Andrew would recommend Castillo di Liria which Hiperdinos stock for only 2.39 Euros a bottle and very drinkable too at that bargain price. Now has an award too. We found Daura gluten free beer at the EuroSpar on outskirts of Costa Teguise.
All the shops listed below had wheat / gluten free bread, pasta, crackers, biscuits, etc. in ‘sin gluten'(without gluten) marked sections. ‘Sin trigo’ is without wheat. Also had tofu, tempeh and seitan plus macrobiotic goodies like pickles and gomasio seasoning.
Tias – large selection
Tienda Verde on a street just off a roundabout on the main street in the centre. On the corner opposite right by the roundabout itself we found a fantastic green grocers. Tienda Verde also sells fruit and veg. It’s also the best for fridge stock of veggie burgers and we found one with ‘Tempe, Mijo y Zanahoria’ which seemed most gluten free with only some ‘copos de avena’ in the list of ingredients to cause us concern. We also noted for veggies looking for supplements to ensure they got essential oils in their diets etc. that they had the equivalent of Udo’s Choice oil and Spirulina tablets. Really liked the quinoa cereal from here and it is also great source of protein too if you are veggie.
Playa Honda’s Deiland shopping centre – medium selection
A small shop on the top floor where the food court is but looking down on to the Hiperdino and opposite Playa Honda’s answer to Dixons electrical store.
Costa Teguise – small selection
A herbalaria called Herbarium just up from Alessio’s restaurant in Avda Islas Canarias which serves gluten free pizza/pasta, on the same side has quite a few gluten free options. It’s at the end of a large car park with the tourist office at one end and a large Hiperdino (best choice we found for supermarkets in CT) opposite Alessio’s. The Spar in the centre of town now has gluten free goods although very small choice but at the Eurospar supermarket on the outskirts of Costa Teguise at C.C. Teguise Green you will be spoilt for choice and it is so much cheaper than in town Spars. Plerotus mushrooms for example were 2.10 Euros in town centre but only 0.89 at the out of town large store!
Teguise (old town in centre of island) – good selection but more expensive
Attached to Hesperides Macrobiotic Cafe/Casa Leon on Calle Leon y Castillo 3 is a shop selling a whole selection of stuff plus a wide range of teas. Their special salads had Marta feeling like a beacon of happiness so suggest you try here for a dose of macrobiotic goodness. They’re open Monday and Tuesday 10-17, Wednesday to Saturday 10-22 and Sunday (famous huge market day in Teguise) 9-16. Their customer service can be pretty dreadful and unprofessional though.
Eating out gluten free vegetarian in Lanzarote – restaurant reviews:
Note that we did not concern ourselves with cross contamination as it was hard work getting fed as it is, so if a little gluten makes you feel bad this is unlikely to be fully helpful to you. Stars attributed are for the veggie gluten free option
Puerto Del Carmen
So many places to eat in Puerto del Carmen, it got its own blog page.
Another place someone else recommended online was Las Margaritas in Puerto Calero and Hotel Hesperides in Puerto Calero has a celiac menu in fact.
*** Las Margaritas. We’ve found the best Mexican on Lanzarote. We went over to Puerto Calero, a small upmarket bolt hole with a marina full of fancy yachts, with more restaurants than you can shake a stick at. Open every evening from 6.30pm except Sundays is Las Margaritas which is upstairs and over to the left if you’ve come down the hill into the marina past the museum on your left. Owned by possibly the nicest man in the world called Arturo.
He himself cannot eat garlic or eggs and someone in his family cannot tolerate gluten so he is very sympathetic to the whole food intolerances and allergies dilemma. I’d read a review of a coeliac lady who had eaten there and had wanted to go for a while.
At the bottom of the stairs the delightful Arturo gave us his sales patter, not realizing we’d come to eat there anyway, and we were very impressed with his understanding and that he made his own corn tortillas. They are Mexican and make everything fresh from scratch.
He kept apologising for the corn tortillas being harder given they were corn but I enjoyed my chicken fajita meal thoroughly. Excellent guacamole. Andrew is hard to please food wise so it is high praise indeed that he said it was the best Mexican he’d ever had and he’s had a fair few in his time. That of course easily makes it the best on the island and we have had three there. Even their cocktails are made with fresh fruit. Highly recommend this place and if you don’t have a car, it is a short taxi ride away from Carmen’s old town.
Teguise (old town)
Now if gluten free is not an issue and you are veggie Cafe Cejas is a wonderful place to have lunch. Just looks like a bar at the front but in the rear have a lovely patio and very cheap too. Avoid on market day as mad busy. If you are gluten free you’ll be on chips, spanish omelette and salad yet again.
*** La Cantina restaurant on Calle Leon Y Castillo 3 is heaving on a Sunday so save it to another time. Note they are closed on Mondays. Beautifully decked out and full of character including the limbo under a low ceiling you have to do to get to the toilets or secret cinema. Zoe, one of the owners, is gluten free herself so understands perfectly but the lunchtime staff we had to guide as they didn’t share Zoe’s knowledge and even came out to ask if rice was okay but we appreciate them checking and the care they took. The food is amazing. Andrew had a Thai curry with vegetables and tofu. I had salmon coated in black and white sesame seeds lightly cooked so almost raw (special on that day) with typical Canarian salted roasted potatoes and salad. Vietnamese rolls in rice paper are another gluten free veggie option. This food was the 2nd best of the bunch – well a tie with Restaurant Verde Mar in La Santa. First is Lilium in Arrecife on first visit.
Second and further visits: consistent. Our next visit in Feb 2012 we were disappointed as the menu had changed but I had the best burger I have eaten in a long time minus the burger bread and Andrew had a delicious cheesy aubergine bake so quality right up there still. On next visit aubergine bake is no longer gluten free. Why??????!!! They mark veggie and gluten free stuff on their menu but it’s nothing alluring now if wanting both. However two GF desserts are on offer so come for dessert perhaps.
** Hesperides Macrobiotic Cafe/Casa Leon on Calle Leon y Castillo 3 did a kick ass macrobiotic salad and also the Hesperides salad was superb too. Great food if you want to feel like you are flying on good energy but small portions. Andrew was not so hungry and had the pumpkin soup which was a tiny portion and pretty tasteless. They need to go to Surf Corner Veggie Cafe in Costa Teguise as that’s what we call a pumpkin soup! Second and further visits: consistent – go for their salads! We went back a second time and Andrew had the risotto with smoked tofu, shitake mushrooms and seaweeds which was filling and tasted okay – risotto is not Andrew’s favourite by a long stretch.
It was the most nutritious of risotto choices we’ve seen for a veggie. I had Makrobiotik salad again and the vegan rice pudding which didn’t hit my spot because I think cardamom or something was added which I don’t like. Also it was tiny fancy portion turned out of a cookie cutter whereas I had a bowl of rice pudding in my mind when ordering!
Costa Teguise centre
*** Alessio’s – OUR FAVOURITE ALL ROUND (closed Tuesdays, otherwise open for lunch and dinner) in Avda Islas Canarias (tel.928 825 05) at far end of parking (opposite Hiperdino supermarket and is the big parking by the tourist office) does GF pasta options and a lovely gluten free pizza made on the premises using rice flour etc. Alessio arrived at this option because his sister is celiac. Also have GF breadcrumbs.
The vegetarian pizza is the most expensive because of the island vegetables are most costly than meat! The veggie option with less options (mushrooms, artichokes, onion and peppers) and cheaper is actually the nicer pizza. Their pizzas are huge and probably the best pizza in Costa Teguise, gluten free or not. Marta had fish and another day steak and then chicken milanese (which Alessio will do gluten free too) as part of the Menu Del Dia (set menu of the day) and that was good, especially for 9 Euros. You pay 2 Euros more for a gluten free pizza and it’s a good one handmade on the premises. This was the best of all the veggie celiac dishes Andrew had, as not only did he come away with the rare feeling of being full but had some slices to take home wrapped in foil, to enjoy later too. Second and further visits: consistent. Pizza or dishes from menu del dia always great. Home cooking that tastes fresh and full of flavour unlike so many others cooking, freezing and microwaving.
* Repikada Kerman (big red K sign to left) two doors to the right of Alessio’s is a tapas bar super popular with the Spanish much later. Much bigger version of it on opposite side of the road further towards town square. You only have to go inside and peruse the tapas laid out for you to choose from to see why. This is Spanish food at it’s best. Andrew had nice salads but wasn’t enough to fill him – mixed salad, greek salad and beansprout salad. I had the most amazing lentaje (lentils with chunks of meat for flavour) and a stew with potatoes, vegetables and tasty Spanish sausage. A small portion of each tapa is 3 Euros and this seemed very good value compared to other tapas type offerings.
Browns Deli (in street opposite Tourist Office, open 9 to 3 except Sunday) looks good for veggies but rubbish for celiacs and the gormless guy who wandered out of the kitchen just made fun of us when we explained we were looking for something veggie and gluten free, before suggesting a sausage roll. He gets an A+ for being unhelpful and should not be allowed to have customer contact. If you are a veggie without being gluten free it may widen your options. UPDATE: now occasionally have orange polenta cake! 🙂
*** El Patio in the main square is a friendly restaurant with a kind chef who after some head scratching came up with Aubergine baked in Pargiani cheese, mash potatoes and vegetables. Andrew said it was delicious. I went for lamb chops, got plenty (some restaurants wherever they are in the world only give you 3 chops) and they were delicious too. BUT THEN we came back next year and no kind chef, after the whole gluten free conversation they served the aubergine with a slice of bread in each corner, then brought it back with them just taken out so had to ask them to re-make it and explain cross contamination and my lamb chop were so tough I could not eat them and used my Spanish to explain you’d have to have the teeth of a tiger to do so. Avoid.
* El Maestro on Calle Las Olas 2 (the pedestrianised street leading towards Cucharas Beach) did Andrew a wild mushroom risotto but Andrew was not wild about it. They didn’t give him the parmesan promised on the menu and although it was a pretty glass plate it also was complicit in providing a tiny weeny portion and it was not risotto rice either which would have made it more filling. I however liked my mixed kebab and enjoyed having a baked potato for a change.
Surf Corner Vegetarian Cafe – lovely foodies from Germany. Open lunch and afternoons. We have been to this place right on Las Cucharas beach (far right next to dive shop) on each of the two holidays before which were before Andrew knew he was a celiac. Then their vegetarian food has been fab (TripAdvisor review for Surf Corner) like the mixed platter and pumpkin soup. Only downside is everything is made fresh and can take a while to prepare some days so don’t go when you are starving hungry.
Feb 2012 we managed to try them out with gluten free baggage in tow and they did Andrew a veggie wok. They are not that up on gluten free so need guidance and we stupidly forgot about soy sauce element of the wok so Andrew suffered a bit that night. July 2012 we came back and were careful to avoid anything with soy sauce and so good we ate there twice during our stay. Second and further visits: consistent quality but be careful with soy sauce.
Costa Teguise – on the coastal road toward Arrecife
*** Food Express cafe in front of the Thomson Coronas Playas hotel does Heinz baked beans and gluten free hash browns so are a good celiac option and a brilliant value option too. Let them know your requirements and they will prepare appropriately washing down surfaces if needed. Very flexible friendly staff who are more than happy to accommodate you. They normally use one of the deep fryers just for chips (we checked the ingredients and no nasties in their for celiacs) so did the hash browns in there. Lots of veggie choices including mushrooms that are not out of a tin and the tomatoes were delicious. 3.50 Euros for yummy generous size full English breakfast including a drink so this reflects that truly British products are being used. Less than 3.50 Euros for British imports and pigs might fly. Open 9am to 3am. Modest looking (read greasy spoon with football shirts aplenty) and last place you’d expect to find Heinz when there are a host of British places boasting British produce that don’t have Heinz. While I looked at jewellery in Teguise town Sunday market, Andrew was laughing at the British stall boasting how it imports British products (even milk for your PG Tips) and was so proud to do so but every table had Spanish ketchup and mustard on it. Second and further visits: consistent greasy spoon.
** Oscars is a pleasant restaurant set back from the road opposite Navarros (recommended to us but never tried) and will do cheesy potatoes with either vegetables or salad. This nicely filled a gap for Andrew and was adequate in terms of taste. He enjoyed his trio of starters greatly – brocolli soup, goat’s cheese and mushroom. I loved my dates and walnuts wrapped in bacon starter followed by ribs. Their general food is really good. Oscars is closed Thursdays. Only open for dinners. from 7pm.
* Nina’s is Polish run and has a vegetarian ghoulash made with wine and cream. The trouble is although it is a great deal cheaper than Bodeco’s and was not overly rich meeting the mark perfectly for balance of cream, it was a portion more fit for a starter. I had the duck with fruits of the forest sauce – the duck itself was excellent. The fruit I would have liked to have been more tart in taste but with pepper it would be a dish I’d have again. The portion sizes definitely lent themselves to helping to sell the desserts but I had a starving hungry disappointed husband on my hands not willing to be disappointed again. This is why I’m not vegetarian when eating out and therefore get to enjoy the experience if I put Andrew’s torment aside. Finding good veggie options even before being a celiac on top was bad enough. Closed Sundays or was it Saturdays?
Las Caletas is a small village next to the power station adjacent to Costa Teguise. Casa Thomas does lovely food and is so on the sea front that sometimes the waves splash through the windows. Not been there with gluten free hat on yet – nice healthy stroll from CT centre for those who like a good walk. Hug the sea and go round the king’s palace to get there. Recommended very highly to us by a local, on the main road through Caletas opposite a small car park near the roundabout where you turn left from Arrecife/Ikea to drive in CT is Fondadero, a traditional Spanish bar apparently serving delicious food at great prices.
*** Restaurant Verde Mar (closed Sundays – find it behind the Pro Bike shop near the sea) is a real find and we are sorry it is on the other side of the island from where we’d be staying ideally. We were renting a cottage in Tiagua (would not recommend it) and as we were in the vicinity decided to try it especially as had heard they cater for celiacs. La Santa town itself is on a rocky outcrop and has a crappy feel to it. Further down the road is the famous La Santa resort for sports addicts. It does have impressive surf but you’d be best off enjoying it from somewhere prettier like Famara beach. If I had my way I’d move this restaurant over nearer to Costa Teguise or persuade Debbie to open a second branch – at least to Teguise so it is not so far to travel to but at least once in any holiday on Lanzarote it is well worth the drive over. And if you are vegetarian and/or celiac / wheat free it is obligatory if you have a hire car. If we were staying close by we’d definitely be eating here 3 times a week as they are so flexible and so accommodating.
First visit I had out of this world tuna steak which I could happily eat every day it was so good, Andrew had aubergine baked with cheeses starter and we shared their gluten free chocolate pudding which was a trip to heaven. Sticky, hot and covered in dark chocolate sauce. Debbie said they can cook anything we want and that her chefs love being creative rather than sticking to a set menu. Veggies and celiacs will find menu items they can eat but if you tell them you are coming they will conjure up something especially for you. Second visit we booked in and waiting for us was a starter/main course size choice of falafel and hummous or vegetables in rice paper wraps with a sweet and sour dipping sauce. We shared the veg in rice paper which was nice and fresh, if a little heavy on the onions. Andrew had black bean cakes with a spicy sweet potato sauce and spinach cream. I had the hake which was fine but was wishing I had had the tuna again as the flavours and textures in that were amazing. Third visit: lost its magic but was on a very very busy night whereas the best we had was when kitchen was quiet.
Oh dear – if you want to eat as a vegetarian celiac here, your only choices seem to be spanish omelette and mixed salad unless you get advice from the tourist office so it was very hard work the first night in Arrecife. It seems to be a secret if restaurants have a potential feast for a vegetarian. Eggs and potato could get pretty boring. In fact even as just a veggie one holiday in the region of Almeria in Spain that’s all Andrew could have and he got very bored of it. We had to drive miles to Valencia and incur 60 Euros of road tolls to get to a veggie restaurant. Okay it was also such a rainy September the Vera Fiesta we had come for had to be cancelled and we also wanted to pass some miles to either escape pouring rain or be in a city with indoor attracttions to keep us out of trouble! Given the veggie eaterie in Valencia was bulging at the seams with people queuing before opening time you would think that there would be more for vegetarians in Spain. We have concluded being anywhere in Spain, mainland or not, only works if there are many different nationalities of restaurants and we can self-cater too.
After walking the length and breadth of the city centre in Arrecife plus up and down most blocks just to make sure we had not missed something good, we settled on an Italian place because it did something different – Aubergine in parmesan. However it was just our luck it was sold out.
* Restaurant Macaroni, c/ Jose Antonio 103 (back from the skyscraper hotel) did me a veggie pizza made with spelt flour which was only okay as the tomato sauce was a bit bitter and strong tasting. Andrew had half a Camembert (don’t know where the other half went – famous micro Canarian portions again and I hasten to add we are not fans of oversize American portions either so it is not that we are gluttons) which was fried and served with a sweet marmalade, a huge plate of chips and a mixed salad. The mixed salad was ruined by the nastiness of the olive oil dressing. It filled a gap and the staff were very nice but the tastes were overall to bitter for our palate. The place seemed busy with repeat customers so may it was just us.
*** Bar Andalucia in Calle Inspector Luis Martin 5 just round the corner from Mango clothes shop in the main shopping street of Leon y Castillo. This place is wonderful in every way and we were very glad we got to the tourist office before it closed at 2pm for this recommendation when we asked where to go for vegetarian food (an important learning has been when it looks like you are in desperate straights ask at the tourist office). Bar Andalucia is not a vegetarian place but certainly catered well for Andrew. Looks like nothing but a doorway from the outside but inside it is beautifully tiled and we loved their table mats which seemed to be fabric samples taken from a haberdashers book and laminated. The lady running it is really full of heart and care in dealing with her customers.
We both had the menu del dia for 9 Euros each which was 2 courses, wine or water, coffee or a dessert. Obviously we didn’t have the bread which would have been included too. Andrew had a creamy lentil soup to start (mindful of feeding veggies she does not put any meat in it) then half portion of calabacin (kind of marrow) and half portion of aubergine fried served with crispy deep fried sweet potato and honey to dip the aubergine which normally would be crispy having been dipped in flour first. She apologised for this but it tasted fine and she was glad when I explained that for celiacs you can use corn flour instead which we saw for sale in every supermarket. I had mixed salad to start with tuna dressed also with sesame seeds and oregano, followed by calamares with boiled potatoes and sweet potato in Canarian mojo green sauce (made with coriander, garlic, oil, cumin, salt and vinegar). Andrew enjoyed his coffee and decided to live with the stomach cramps tomorrow that more wheat would bring and opted for a dessert of apple cake covered in chocolate sauce. We can both state categorically that everything was delicious! Crazy that portions here for 9 Euros for 3 courses were so much better than starters we’d seen at 7 Euros! We highly recommend it. Even loved the music they were playing which was Alegria by Cirque Du Soleil.
**** Lilium. Next recommendation for vegetarians from the tourist office was a huge hit and we were glad this was the place for our last dinner to go out with a bang at the best place experienced in our two week stay. Lilium, C/Jose Antonio 103 (few doors in same block from Macaroni) is more upmarket with a lovely contemporary clean feel yet still Spanish and you get fine detail even in the constructing of your amazing food on the plate. When we eat out, the ideal is to get something we don’t already make routinely ourselves or can’t make at home as well. That seems to be a tall order but one Lilium met with flying colours. Note the portions are small though. Opens for dinner at 8pm. OMG! If you do one thing in Lanzarote come here to eat – Saturday lunch would be a good as the market is on in Arrecife and you can walk over to this place easily from the centre. It’s also not too far from the bus station if you bus in which is very easy from Costa Teguise or Puerto Del Carmen. Then again while other places were empty this place was full so perhaps market day you may not get a table. If driving in and wanting to park in the small streets for free (paid parking is very expensive in Arrecife on the whole) leave it to 1.30pm weekdays when the Canarians have left work for their siesta and you are much more likely to find a space. We got a warm welcome as with all Arrecife eateries and they listed various things they could make Andrew that fit the veggie celiac bill. Another learning is come at the start of the evening so the waiter and chef can get their heads around your dietary needs before it gets manic. Not sure if he was the manager or owner but the service was first class and we happily gave them a copy of our cooking advice sheet as he indicated they would like to understand more about catering for celiacs.
Now to the important bit – the food. I had the croquets of fried banana with bits of Spanish sausage accompanied with mint mayanaise – nicely savoury. Then half portion of the tuna done medium which was superb – just when I thought fish couldn’t get any better. Finally I went all out and had the most beautiful gofio chocolate bomb served with ice cream with lush chocolate oozing out as I cut into it – WOWEE! Delicious delicious delicious! Andrew mixed up a starter but swapping smoked salmon for avocado in the sweet potato with smoked salmon, cheese and strawberry sauce dish that arrived as a stunning tower. He then had risotto with calabacin and cheese which he says is one of the best if not the best risotto he’s ever had. No dessert for Andrew as he was full and that my friends is an achievement in itself. Lilium is everything we would aspire to achieve in running a restaurant or gastropub as it calls itself. It certainly sets the bar for Lanzarote eateries. One word – go!
Second and further visits: left very very hungry as portions were small and quite pricey so don’t think we will rush to come back.
* Chef Nizar in Calle Luis Morote 19 near the Club Nautico was recommended by the chef of Blooming Cactus as a great Lebanese place to try with tasty food but we didn’t see much on the menu that was vegetarian and found it too pricey at 7 Euros just for a bit of hummus as a starter. Few doors from it was an interesting modern place that did smoothies and healthy sandwiches but we didn’t get time to try it out. Andrew would probably only be able to have a smoothie but that can be very tasty.
– the end of our Lanzarote tips for the gluten free vegetarian –