Gluten free vegetarian bliss in Gran Canaria

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In draft – work in progress

The original gluten free vegetarian Andrew went for a week’s holiday and sent back glowing reports via text messages of his culinary experiences. Gran Canaria is one of the islands known as the Canary Islands which belong to Spain and can be found in the Atlantic ocean way off North Africa. He was staying in Maspalomas.

“Just been to a restaurant and every single thing on the menu was available gluten free!! – Restaurante ok, Avda. Tirajana 19 Barbados 1, Local 1, 35100 Playa del Ingles, Maspalomas, Gran Canaria, Spain.

[pizza ok]

Fusion restaurant in Playa del Ingles. Ceiling mirror with Amanda eating rice poet spring rolls and my Tom Kah soup! – Fusion Restaurant and Lounge Bar, Avenida Espana 12, Apartments Las Gacelas, 35100 Playa del Ingles, Maspalomas, Gran Canaria, Spain


Food has been amazing so far this trip. Here is my Tofu Pad Thai.


Gluten free Pizza. Chef is from Florence!!  – Restaurante Pizzeria Piccola Italia, Calle San Agustin 2a, Planta Loc. 156, Calle Las Dalias S/N, 35100 San Agustin, Maspalomas, Gran Canaria, Spain

[Pizza photo]

Pics below from Piccola Italia – we are there again. Gluten free chocolate souffle. Absolutely incredible.  Then I had gluten free spaghetti arriabiata and Amanda had mushroom and black truffle risotto. All actually looked better in reality than photos.  Taste and service and attention to detail incredible. Price in Euros – risotto 12, pasta 7.90, pudding 7.80.

[Souffle n risotto n spaghetti 3 pics]

Spaghetti looks small but it was enough. Had a salad to start. One of the best Italians I’ve been to probably after Florence.

Gluten free in all supermarkets. Maspalomas is a great location. You’d like it. Hardly any kids. Very very gay oriented. Lots of Germans, hardly any Brits. Better weather than Lanzarote but not so good for driving. Went into the mountains today. Amazing scenery but hard windy day drive.”









Puerto del Carmen vegetarian and/or gluten free

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Eating gluten free or vegetarian in Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote

Puerto del Carmen is the tourist capital of Lanzarote. For our guide to the rest of Lanzarote please click here.

Calle Teide, Carmen Old Town

The best place to head for is Calle Teide in the old town. Full of great restaurants and don’t have those annoying touts as they have loyal following and great reviews on Trip Advisor too.

** Bodecos, now called Bozenas, (Polish restaurant with some Irish and vegetarian dishes too on the menu) in Calle Teide (at the start) above the old harbour is a really lovely restaurant indeed with good food and brilliant service. Very sympathetic to allergies/intolerances. Open for dinner only now and make a reservation first as can get very busy.

They do have a number of vegetarian dishes but could really do with a rethink to ensure they contain more protein for balanced nutrition (more pulses, nuts, eggs and cheese please) but their heart is in right place trying to cater for non meat eaters. Vegetable biriyani bears no resemblance to a true biriyani (more a general creamy veg curry but is very nice indeed). The gypsy vegetable potato pancakes are Andrew’s favourite. If there are any meat eaters with you they should go for the beef stroganoff with potato pancakes as it is delicious. Had mine gluten free and was so delicious it was nearly worth the flight over here! If you are liking the sound of the potato pancakes please give two days notice so that Bozena can prepare them with gluten free flour for you.

Zbojnik - beef stroganoff type stew in gluten free potate pancake

Zbojnik – beef stroganoff in gluten free potato pancake

Open from 7pm apart from Sundays. Second and further visits: better and better!


Just after Bozenas are Kristians (chef needs 24 hrs notice so please book a table) and the Carribean place (does mushroom stroganoff) which both said they can do gluten free vegetarian too. We will give these a try soon.

*** Casa Cabana. We love a place prepared to do veggie or gluten free options beyond what they already have marked on their menu – exactly what we found at Calle Teide (number 9) in Casa Cabana open Mon to Sat 18.30 to 21.30. Best service we have experienced on the island. Super helpful re advice on the menu and all the staff were on the ball re our needs. So your veggie gluten free options are bean based chilli, pasta or stroganoff. For dessert you will be spoilt for choice. Great portion sizes and reasonable prices. We loved this place and will return often. I has sea bass (small portion) and was too full for pudding. They have lots of nice touches of simple food done well. We got gluten free bread rolls to start too.

* Emma’s Mexican is opposite Casa Cabana. Open from 6pm except Wednesdays. If you go you get a discount card for coming back on a Thursday or Sunday which are changeover days. Lovely friendly staff and nice food but we weren’t huge fans of their guacamole.

Next to Emma’s is a Valentino’s which gets good reviews on Trip Advisor and is a relatively new place but they have no gluten free options, therefore I think you should also go and ask about them about ‘sin gluten’ until they get with the programme :-).

** Blooming Cactus Veggie Restaurant with Take Away option to stock your self-catering fridge or eat in the beautiful candle light and marvel at the exquisite tea set. Far end of Calle Teide at 35 does small choice of vegan or vegetarian dishes and has some wheat free options as well as lactofree / dairy free. They will be able to advise what is gluten free as well as wheat free. They are open evenings from 6pm to 10pm except Mondays. Nice and warm on winter evenings which is important. Tapas style menu with strong Greek theme by the lovely Scottish Tracy! General veggie choice is great and from previous years would recommend keftedes and mousaka. Falafel were too dry even with extra of tomato sauce and the Greek roast potatoes lose their pazazz once they have been chilled sadly. So far we’d always done take away but 3rd time round, eating in was better. Best of veggie gluten free hands down was the dhal which was mild enough for Marta to enjoy too. When we ate in it was overtaken by the peanut curry which sometimes is made without the shoyu. Mild and so yummy I had to help Andrew out with his as it was a delight – I was having chilli with soya mince and means which is a nice dish too but not half as super as the peanut curry. Let them know by email or phone when you are coming a few days in advance as they pre-prepare food in batches it seems, as they can leave out ingredients like shoyu or use substitutes so you’ll be able to have more choice. Second and further visits: dishes don’t seem to be hits consistently and not as good as before but then others shine, so our advice is just order what you fancy and not necessarily what we have had before.

Blooming Cactus is gorgeous at night

Elsewhere in Puerto del Carmen

Antica Trattoria di Verona (Avenida de las Playas 53 – far far far end from Old Town along the strip) and La Casa Del Parmigiano (our favourite food on Lanzarote) (Calle Alegranza corner by the Fariones sports centre and Fariones Hotel by old town near where the strip begins) are both owned by the one person were recommended as good places for celiacs by the manager in the place we dined the last night and the best of everywhere we ate out in our two weeks in 2011 – Lilium in Arrecife. Finally in our Feb 2012 trip we got to give them a try. They are twin Italian restaurants at opposite ends of the town sharing same menu and hours of 1pm to 11pm except Mondays. Had a very yummy gluten free tagliatelle with bolognese sauce – only Tuscany has rivalled their bolognese. Andrew had gluten free pizza – bought in pizza so not so great as these are always quite hard but good topping. For best gluten free pizza go to Alessio’s in Costa Teguise where it is made fresh. Marta had an amazing steak there. Now do gluten free garlic bread too but is Schar product so hard again. Their gluten free pastas are very good as is fish or meat.

Gluten free pastas at La Casa Del Parmigiano

Gluten free pastas at La Casa Del Parmigiano

For homemade gluten free pastries and other sweet stuff you can’t beat Il Buongusto, Calle reina sofia, 42 (at the top so quite a hike up but well worth it – close Xmas and New Year for a couple of weeks), 35510 Puerto Del Carmen. a lovely cafe with terrace and wifi and view across to the sea.

Up the hill from Biosfera on the left is Quintins. Very nice decor, great service and lovely food. The butternut squash risotto was heavenly but ask them to leave out the won ton parcels from the dish as Andrew got glutened and we think it was these. Would still be good without them.

If you have a car or fancy a short taxi ride from Carmen’s old town, you can also go over for dinner to the next town Puerto Calero to a wonderful Mexican restaurant called Las Margaritas where they make corn tortillas and make cocktails using real fruit.

Andalusia – vegetarian and gluten free guest post

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Today I am delighted to bring you our first guest post from Jenny which is making me long to go back to the amazing city of Granada, and Malaga is pretty impressive too:


Well southern Spain may not be the first place you think of when considering where to go as a vegetarian coeliac but Andalusia is an absolute gem! I went earlier this year and had some of the best gluten free veggie food ever. We started off in Granada – the Alhambra has been on my list of must sees for years and I was not disappointed – we were there when all the roses were in full bloom and it was wonderful.

Eating in traditional Spanish restaurants could prove tricky but fortunately there is a café / restaurant called El Piano which sells only vegan gluten free food! It’s quite a low key kind of place with meals served in little bamboo boats – and seems popular with the locals who pop in for takeout. The staff were all incredibly friendly and a man came to play the piano every evening – we liked it so much we returned twice more.


Next stop was Cordoba in time for the Festival of the Patios. There aren’t any exclusively veggie places in Cordoba but Almaltea restaurant had a gluten free menu and a few veggie options which were delicious.

Seville was the third city we visited and we ate in Gaia vegetarian restaurant – it had gluten free meals marked on the menu – and although the paella was a little hard going the salads were gorgeous and again it seemed really popular with the locals. Huelva Ocho is a small bar which also serves gluten free veggie options. The gluten free bread served by the hotel in the morning was the best I’ve ever tasted and as they made me two baguettes each morning it doubled as lunch too!

After three cities we were ready for chilling out in the country and we headed to Alora. Fuegoblanco is a guest house run by Sarah and Kenneth, an English couple. Sarah is an excellent cook and specialises in vegetarian food and food allergies – as well as delicious breakfasts we also had evening meals made with fresh veggies from the garden. They were the sort of meals that made you want to lick your plate!

Alora is close to Malaga which is surprisingly nice for a wander. It also has several veggie places to eat. We opted for Canadu which is exclusively vegetarian with gluten free choices marked. It’s a bit pricier than the others but has tables overlooking a square which made for a great evening spent people watching and enjoying the meal outside.


UK national eat-in chains that are a good gluten free bet

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  • Ask
  • Bella Italia
  • Brewers Fayre
  • Cafe Rouge
  • Carluccios
  • Giraffe
  • Gourmet Burger Kitchen
  • Harvester (although we found the dressing that should have been gluten free was not, even after the issue was supposed to have been remedied)
  • La Tasca
  • Lloyd No 1 Pubs
  • Nandos
  • Pizza Hut
  • Prezzo
  • Starbucks
  • TGI Friday
  • Wagamama
  • Wetherspoon Pub
  • Zizzi

Self-catering notes

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Self-catering notes from Lanzarote but much advice applies wherever you go

It is worth being able to cook or prepare some meals yourself as if on a restricted diet cheap eating out options like 5 Euro all you can eat Chinese buffets or small pizza or 2 Euro English cooked breakfast go out the window! We found a lot of good restaurants charged around 7 for a starter, 14 for a main and 6 for a dessert! You may or may not have the 5% tax included and of course discretionary tip on top of about 10% or rounding it up to be able to pay with a note, depending on how you feel the quality of food and service was. Typically for two mains and some water we shared we were paying around 30 Euros a feed. At the end of our stay we found a place (Food Express in Costa Teguise) that could do us a yummy varied veggie celiac breakfast for 3.5 – 4 Euros including a drink so having that some lunches will help keep the budget reasonable.

If you are celiac you may want to bring some items with you like crackers, cereal and bread in tupperware for freshness and rigidity, to keep you going before you get to a health food store to top up and then expect to pay 4-5 Euros for 500g pasta or pack of biscuits or bread! Most of it is by a make called Schar. Their bread is very good toasted (better than most breads you can buy in the UK) but falls apart easily as is often the case with gluten free. If you must have PG Tips tea that’s much more expensive here so bring some out too.

Andrew cooking in Lanzarote

RyanAir can make special arrangements for you to bring gluten free food out as excess baggage (not sure if free or small charge as we could manage within our 10kg each of hand luggage and don’t yet have the required doctor’s letter that you need as proof) – you must call in advance the telephone number on their website for special assistance and tell them how many kilos and if it is in hand baggage or main case going into the hold. You need a doctor’s letter too and our UK surgery charges £15 for this as it is private use abroad even though some gluten free foods for celiacs are available on prescription in the UK and if you pay £104 for the year your prescriptions are then free.

Good selection in most supermarkets which seem to be in every nook and cranny of Costa Teguise. Excellent choice in dedicated health food shops. Best fruit and veg shop was in Tias on roundabout near Tienda Verde. Soya milk sold in just about all places. Some sell soya yoghurts too but watch out for the ones with the artificial sweetener Aspartame as these have a nasty sherbet taste. Aspartame gives me a nasty headache too – it’s banned in some countries as it’s a poison and I hope the EU ban it altogether. The Lidl soya yoghurts were fine. The Canarians seem to have grown up used to the taste of saccharin, Rebecca of Blooming Cactus told us. it’s even on some of their coffee beans. You’ll know as your ‘cafe con leche’ will taste as if it was made with pond water – that’s how Andrew describes it. To have coffee true Canarian style ask for ‘leche leche’ which is coffee with milk and condensed milk too.

Some self catering only gives you a few basic utensils but no supplies of salt, sugar, oil, herbs, washing up liquid, pan scourer etc. so you have to purchase lots of basics you won’t use up. We actually bought a small bag of Himalayan salt with us and some left over Fairy liquid for washing up. Will bring small bag of mixed herbs next time. Problem is onions and garlics are only sold in big packs of 4 onions or 10 garlic bulbs in supermarkets although we did see you could buy single garlic bulbs in Teguise’s Sunday market that looked like lovely big home grown ones. We bought a small bottle of Virgin Olive oil which was great for cooking and dressing salads along with some white vinegar. If you plan to do a pasta sauce which you can easily manage on the two rings most self-catering places give you, suggest you buy a tin of tomatos fritos like we did which are fried tomatoes so saves you some of the work and they were delicious. You can get a small pack of olives deshuehadas (pitted) for 60 cents.

Mostly we made salads with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, olives, salted roasted pumpkin seeds, gomasio sprinkle (all health food stores have it here) dressed with oil and vinegar. Very scrummy they were too. Sometimes with hard boiled egg cut up or tinned green beans and sweet corn.

Love having a salad for lunch outdoors in the Winter sun

All tins had a pull lid which was just as well as we didn’t find any can openers. Andrew often put cheese on his too and laughed that we needed to be here two weeks as there was so much cheese if his Lidl pack of Gouda it took him that long to get through it even though he started every morning with gluten free bread toasted and topped with cheese, tomato and onion.

I tried tinned tuna one day (also from Lidl) but the smell was horrid and the tuna that come’s out of tins for my cat looked better so I gave the rest away to a cute cat that resides in a Costa Teguise shop, when open, like he’s the boss fast asleep in the middle of all the kerfuffle. Even during the market on a busy Friday evening he could be fast asleep in the middle of the doorstep. A lovely Polish girl works in the shop selling funky colourful clothes, lovely unusual jewellery and traditional pottery bang in the centre of Costa Teguise square.

We always have to ask house keeping for a decent knife to cut food with too. Don’t know why they don’t leave them in the flats. Wooden spoon was missing for use on Teflon coated pans. Every utensil seems to be from Ikea which is on the Costa Teguise side of Arrecife if there is something you are missing and need to buy a colander for instance which our last self-catering cottage lacked but we managed with using the pan lid to drain our pasta. Stay coastal and you can’t miss the big blue and yellow building next door to Lidl.

Buy at supermarkets outside tourist areas or away from town centres for the best price. Spar in centre of Costa Teguise is more expensive than the Hiperdino’s about and the big Hiperdino opposite Alessio’s restaurant / big car park is cheaper than smaller ones in the suburbs. As you drive past Playa Honda on the main thoroughfare you will see Deiland which has a very big Hiperdino (has some gluten free biscuits you have to hunt out as they deny having anything for celiacs when asked) Lidl is beaten or equalled in price through special offers. Heinz baked beans were 2.17 Euros in the Costa Teguise Hiperdino but in Tiagua’s supermarket they were a third less. A nice tasting still water we found was Lanjaron and we stocked up on 5L bottles for our stay plus toilet roll as none of our self catering accommodations gave enough to keep you going.

Prices valid in February 2011 when written.