After landing in Madrid in the early morning I was pretty ravenous by lunchtime! The good ol' Golden Arches of Maccy D's has never really floated my boat, even in my gluten eating days! However, it was pretty tempting after a long journey and a growling stomach! Seeing a cross grain symbol on the door got me a little bit excited and then by the time I had explained my needs (using the Coelaic UK translation!) I was thrilled to discover that a GF bun was an option!
I must confess to being a little nervous and I just couldn't face risking the fries as I know they are contraversial! I was impressed by the clear labelling on the ticket and was thrilled there was more GF choice here.....begging the question why can't we have GF buns in the UK? Nevertheless, I wasn't bowled over by the burger, it was every bit as uninspiring as I remember BUT it served a purpose and no ickiness was felt!
Rather frustratingly the land of the Siesta and Mañana don't believe in early eating! The Spaniards clearly don't suffer indigestion / reflux etc and hurrah to them for that! Therefore, we found ourself eating in places we wouldn't necessarily have chosen just because they were open and catered for GF......don't judge! We just need to avoid the ickiness!!
After doing a bit of reading and getting some recommendations from celiaquitos (www.celiaquitos.com) online we tried Tommy Mels diner style restaurant (www.tommymels.com)
A reassuring menu and great labelling of food. As you can see, not a particularly exciting chicken burger but......it was safe and filled me up! Job done!
The VIPS chain is another safe bet (www.vips.es), they are dotted about the city and have a shop with a restaurant attached. The shop is useful for selling Tyrrell's crisps and Metcalfes Skinny popcorn so great for "on the go" snacks.
The menu is FACE approved which makes you feel confident with the GF choices
I ordered the bbq chicken flatbread
It was ok, a bit artificial but made a change from burger! I just wished I had left room for pudding as the GF pancakes sounded fab!
Now, another little quirk of mine is I'm not good with too much GF bread.........oooops, a very bread heavy diet so far! Anyway, I was thrilled to try the Steak Burger Bar (www.steakburger.es)
Dale was more than happy to partake in a burger again but I was thrilled to have the option of of steak! I was even more excited to be met by a waiter who was also Coeliac and could advise me on the best options on the menu. Apparently, they have a separate fryer for the fries which is handy to know. My steak was amazing, cooked perfectly and well worth the visit.....the first place I can truly reccomend!
My second recommendation for dinner is El Arozzal (www.elarozzal.com). I had read online that this was THE place for Coeliacs to visit. After two failed attempts (it was closed both times!) we finally caught it open at lunchtime. The owners don't have a great deal of English but I dredged about in the dark recesses of my brain for my fail safe GCSE Spanish phrases! Mr Smith (my Spanish teacher) would have been proud! I managed to establish that I was a Coeliac, that we really would love a GF bread roll, that they have GF beer on offer and we would like a paella con carne para dos! Fab!
Delicious paella in an authentic setting. Not cheap (€39 for paella, roll and water para dos!) but well worth it!!
New York Burger (Yep, burger again...Dale was thrilled!!) (www.newyorkburger.es) are quite active on Twitter and somehow made it into my little Twitter world! Seeing they catered for GF and were based in Madrid I was intrigued! Admittedly, I'd eaten more burgers (and bread!!!!) than I normally eat in months but I was keen to give them a go! Also, as we were eating there on our last day I wanted something filling to keep the ickiness away while travelling (remember...it's all about the ickiness!)
I'm liking the little GF flags that seem to be making a regular appearance on my food! The burger was good. The roll was quite small, which wasn't a problem for me (the breadaphobe) but for some it may have been disappointing, especially if a larger burger was ordered! Nevertheless, I was stuffed soooo job done!
General snacking and supermarkets were not that amazing. I found a limited selection of GF bread and biscuits in different supermarkets but none were that great or that easy to find. I generally ate big lunches and relied on GF cake / churros as a late afternoon snack! Yep, you heard me right cake and churros........read on my friends.....
If you have a big old sweet tooth like me then these two places are a MUST for your trip to Madrid!
Celicioso (www.celicioso.es) wow.....WOW!! I can't say more than that!!!! A gluten free bakery with sweet and savoury on offer.....needless to say I sampled a few items throughout the week!
Banoffee cake- soft, moist, toffee, banana mmmmmm!
My all time fave....red velvet cake with thick, thick, hot chocolate
A white chocolate palmier- so sweet and sickly I was nearly beaten....but I did it! Hurrah!
Turkey roll....more bread argh!! Best GF crusty roll I've tasted though! Worth the bloating!!!
If you do manage to go, check out what else is on offer. It seemed there was more in the chilled cabinet than was on the menu and there were also secret churros that I couldn't see listed anywhere but many were happily tucking into them! Whatever, you have, you'll enjoy it, I promise!!
Finally...churros!! Gluten free churros and chocolate...oh yes!! Maestro Churrero, Plaza Jancinto Benavente 2, 28012 (just off Plaza Mayor).
I might look a little stunned but trust me, it's excitement!! GF churros are things I thought I could only dream about! The chocolate is amazing too......not for the savoury fans of the world but right up my street! I had read online that they use a separate fryer and this is clear when you order as they are prepared separately to the regular versions. The chocolate is GF too and you can even bring a packet of chocolate home (if you have room in your hand luggage....which I didn't #sadtimes)
So if you are off to Madrid you won't starve! If you like a burger, you will be super happy! If you don't need to eat at set times you will probably discover some more hidden gems I didn't have the chance to find! But to conclude.....there is cake.....gooooooood cake (and churros!) and that can't be bad....can it?!
Have a great fortnight everyone xx (@lizprice79)