Whilst gluten-free dry food options are growing as quickly as germinated seeds at Barcelona's flourishing health-food stores, cafés, restaurants and bakeries have been slower to respond to the gluten-sensitive's “proper meal” needs. Recently however there have been cafés and restaurants sprouting up across the city that are, thankfully, enabling many to enjoy a carb-fuelled snack or full-on meal without the oft-associated ill effects.
Catering either wholly or substantially to increasing cohorts who are entirely intolerant to gluten or to some degree sensitive to it, and yet, still crave a croissant, pizza and a plentiful mound of doughballs in their sleep. What's more, even if you've no issues with gluten per se, the quality at our particular finds is such that you could easily find yourself re-routing to these establishments regardless, time and time again...
Brunch: Carb fest at Copasetic
© Facebook - Copasetic
Copasetic, in the upper right Eixample district, will sort you out for brunch. Never mind avoiding the carbs and instead, say, necking multiple green smoothies from mid-morning well into the early afternoon. Perhaps a walnut or two to keep you from fainting. At Copasetic, you can definitely get your carb fix whilst dodging the evil gluten-containing grains, thanks to porridge, organic quinoa, a full English, gluten-free crêpes, gluten-fee bunned up burgers, gluten-free bread sandwiches, gluten-free pancakes and gluten-free cakes.
On a general allergen note, any milk used in the dishes at Copasetic is lactose-free. Plus, who knew that in English the name “copasetic” means “all good, fine well and groovy?" If beer o’clock strikes, there is even a gluten-free organic Belgian beer to accompany. All is definitely good, fine and dandy. www.copaseticbarcelona.com
Related: Best brunches in Barcelona
Tea time: Have your cake and eat it at Jansana
© Facebook - Jansana Gluten Free
Jansana is your go-to gluten-free bakery in the city and here’s the USP: absolutely everything they sell is gluten free (as well as nut and lactose free). It was one of the first patisseries in the whole of Cataluña to deal in gluten-free and it has been on the scene as a bakery for over 75 years.
So, expect cheesecakes, fruit tartlets and éclairs as well as ensaïmadas (a light, traditionally Mallorcan, spiral-shaped pastry dusted in flour). The quality is high and the attention paid to finishing touches thoroughly apparent. Unlike many Barcelona bakeries, it also opens on Sundays, from 9am to 2pm. www.glutenfree.cat
Dinner: A traditional trattoria minus the gluten at Il Piccolo Focone
© Facebook - Il Piccolo Focone
There’s all sorts which you might expect to be on the menu at an Italian restaurant at Il Piccolo Focone, from buffalo mozzarella salad to umpteen carpaccios, spaghettis, risottos and pizzas. But the gluten-free pizza and pasta menus are a pleasant surprise, especially for such a traditional looking Italian eatery (Italy not being shy of its yeast-based dishes).
You can be confident that you can ask for focaccia, a dozen pasta dishes and some 30 pizza options, all lacking the cheeky protein that is gluten. The fantastic surprise is that the taste is exactly the same as the gluten alternative (also available) but the bloating, for one, is noticeably absent. In fact, you may feel almost like you could devour two of the beasts as a result. If you’re buckling under the pressure of so many options, the pizza “Tina” comes highly recommended — a cheesy affair with its mozzarella, gorgonzola and emmental, but perfectly balanced out by lashings of anchovy, capers and chilli peppers (though not too spicy, honestly).
Il Piccolo also does traditional Italian desserts à la gluten-free (your panacottas and your tiramisus of this world) and will prepare all their offerings to take away (collectable from the premises only). The folk here are also tried-and-tested friends of the doggy bag tradition, should you decide to save your last gluten-free slice for... your breakfast. www.ilpiccolofocone.es