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!!  http://www.restauranteok.com/ – 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

[photo]

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

[photo]

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!

Bozenas

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:

Granada-eating-gluten-free-vegetarian

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.

Granada-and-gluten-free-vegetarian-restaurants

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.

Malaga

Vegetarian or wheat/gluten free holiday – Lanzarote

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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

Jameos del Agua

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.

Don’t eat the cacti and hopefully they won’t eat you either. The Cactus Garden is another example of feeling as if you are either on another planet or in a Dali painting

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!

Costa Teguise

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.

Puerto Calero

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.

A great way to serve salmon

** 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.

See – it’s not his favourite

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!

A salad that leaves you flying

The flying part of a macrobiotic diet!

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.

This place makes us very happy always

This place makes us very happy always

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.

Gluten free vegetarian pizza – all freshly made

* 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.

Using the heat from the earth to cook at Timanfaya

* 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.

Surf Corner is set back from prom next to Aquatis Diving shop

Surf Corner is set back from prom next to Aquatis Diving shop

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.

Surf Corner platter with tofu made on the island

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.

La Santa

*** 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.

Mmmm – gluten free chocolate yumminess

Arrecife

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.

Loved the table mats made from laminated pages from a wallpaper sample book

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.

Nice stack!

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 –

Gluten free paradise in Greece with vegetarian options – Trapezaki, Kefalonia

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We chose the Trapezaki Bay Hotel because it has a restaurant which has a gluten free menu and a vegetarian menu in addition to the normal offerings, plus our friends (once we floated the idea) raved about the Greek island of Kefalonia. Once we saw the five star reviews on Trip Advisor that raved about the food too we were hooked. There are also plenty of meat and fish dishes. Food and drink is very reasonably priced. Main courses priced the same as rest of the island. A large glass of house red wine is 2.50 Euros.

Trapezaki Bay Hotel sunset swim

The adult only hotel offers the best service one could expect and they bend over backwards to make your stay as wonderful as possible. It is stunning from the location to the food. Beds are huge and incredibly comfortable. Black out curtains and quiet outside apart from the crickets ensuring a great night’s sleep. Even sitting glued to iPad for hours on end (staying out of the baking heat, sorting photos and writing blog) and your bottom doesn’t ache. I really need a bed like this!

We had room 229 at the back which was therefore lovely and cool. You can leave balcony doors open all day. We got a lovely view of the mountain and if we wanted the sea you got that from the public areas anyway. Personally I think those at the front missed out on that majestic mountain and cool air.

Foki Beach on the way to Fiscardo only if you approach it from the South. There is a little rocky walk to the right of the beach which offers some lovely shade. Maria in reception loves this beach.

It attracts a refined British clientele so you won’t see any football shirts and you can safely dress up for dinner knowing there will not be anyone there in their shorts apart from the friendly owner Niko armed with his catalogue of cheesy dad jokes as he lights the lamp on your table.

Dinner on the terrace

Do not be surprised if you feel a tap on your leg when eating as either the cat or dog will be endearing themselves to you in hope of a tasty morsel. Before breakfast why not work up an appetite before it gets hot by taking Rocko, the dog, for a walk. He will be ever so grateful but will not want to head back too soon, sitting down in protest like an immovable anchor. This is when some sausage stolen from the buffet on your way out will encourage him to go the path you favour.

Hillside views driving from Katelios back to Trapezaki

And by the way you need to be fit as all these paths are very hilly and the hotel resides in a magnificent hilltop position. However they also afford spectacular mountain views that made my heart sing.

View from room 229

During the day linger by the pool overlooking the bay or hire a car to explore the beauty of Captain Corelli’s island. There is a pool bar which does lunch and then cocktails.

Pool bar is great for lunch or cocktails. Only thing lacking is a decent coffee machine.

Dinner on the terrace looking down to the sea and across to the island of Zakynthos is very special. The menu is extensive and dietary needs catered for with ease. Vegetarians are easier but those who are celiacs or wheat free should bring their own gluten free bread mix / ready long life bread. You will need enough for am toast, any lunchtime sandwiches and bread before your dinner if having these meals at the hotel. We also bought some gluten free pasta which is not so ideal as it needs lots of monitoring to take it off at the split second it is ready before it goes too soft. I then felt bad for Madonna on lunch duty as it is quite onerous to watch over the pasta and see to all the other guests’ needs.

Breakfast is great by the way with such a large selection anyone on any diet would find something to eat. I asked if they had mint tea and they went to the capital and got me some. They make their own bread and own olive oil which could be the key to their delicious food which is always expertly flavoured with a delicate balance of herbs. We only ate lunch out of the hotel on three occasions because the food was lovely and we were too lazy to venture away from the oasis of tranquility.

On a week’s sunshine holiday we usually do a mix of self catering and eating out so I had been terribly concerned about not having the freedom of our own kitchen. However it was lovely to have no shopping or cooking to do. In addition gluten free substitutes are nowhere to be found on the island and the local supermarket had a very sparse selection so self catering for my vegetarian celiac husband in Greece we have concluded is not an option. The traditional Greek specials here are to be highly recommended if you eat meat. I was regularly prostrating myself at the kitchen door hailing Sophia and Anna as gods of food. It is worth the flight over that chicken stifado, lamb kleftiko and cheesy aubergine bake.

They really have thought of everything here. Free beach parasol and towels are provided if you want to go down the steep descents to either local small beach i.e. Trapezaki beach or St Thomas for a swim in the sea which is warmer than the pool. At least late September it was. Naturally there are also more separate towels for use by the pool. On your balcony is a washing line with pegs for drying out your swimming gear.

St Thomas beach

The gorgeous Maria on reception will furnish you with all you need to know re where to go in your hire car and book it for you. Her recommendations are very honest and helpful. I thoroughly enjoyed my girly chats with Maria as I hid inside from the baking hot sun. In the sun by the pool it hit 40c some days with a freak hot streak at the end of the season.

Reception area

105 euros for the minimum 3 days for a small car with air con. You will need both the air con and the diminutive size as some roads are very narrow for passing with steep drops too. Roads although ‘interesting’ with goats kicking rocks down or hair pin bends are very quiet out of season.

View over Myrtos beach. Friend told us not to bother going down as better from above unless you like pebbly beaches

We took the new fast back road up to the North and back as we had plenty of coastal driving to enjoy without cause for squeamishness to Sami / Agia Efimia and to Katelios for a lovely breezy lunch by the sea.

Some of the Captain Corelli’s Mandolin film was filmed on Antisamis beach

It did make us laugh that sheep were being herded across the fast road and sometimes a dog would be sleeping in the road.

Melisani underground lake near Sami. After lunch in the hotel we spent the afternoon seeing the sights around this area.

Maria’s in Katelios for a shady breezy lunch

In the North are the must sees of the view down to white/turquoise contrasts of Myrtos Beach (do not leave until late in the day or will be in shadow), Asos harbour which is especially picturesque photographed from the bit of land it adjoins topped with ruins of a castle and finally the shiny new yachts against the lovely old buildings in the busy with tourists fishing village of Fiscardo.

Asos harbour

Approaching Asos nestled between two bits of land

Maria’s mother Soula operates the airport transfer included in your stay. How wonderful to be met with a hug, a cold bottle of water and a moist towel to refresh you on the short journey to the airport. One couple touched down at 6pm and were in their room by 6.30pm!

What can I say? This is a five star experience all round. If you want to totally relax in the sun far from the madding crowd with acres of scenic space around you, this is the place. Open May to September. Book early as the return rate is phenomenal and it is no wonder.

View at the front