We started our morning at Park Güell, a garden complex designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí in the early 1900’s located on the hill of El Carmel in the Gràcia neighborhood of Barcelona. The park is made up of lovely gardens, a terrace, mosaic artwork, and a museum, and has incredible views of the city.
Tip: Take the metro to Vallcarca, and take the outdoor escalators up to the park. If you get off at Lesseps you will have to walk 700 meters up a steep hill. (That’s almost 0.5 miles)
After visiting the park and gift stores, we strolled through the Gràcia neighborhood to Il Born, where we had lunch at Lonja de Tapas in the Plaza San Jaume, next to the Picasso Museum. You can choose tapas from the a la cart menu or order from the Menu of the Day (Menú del Día). During the midday meal (la comida) the Menú del Día is the most economical way to eat in Spain, and is the traditional way to have a meal. The Menú del Día is the best culinary value you can get for your money and should be ordered at lunchtime whenever possible. The menu consists of 3 courses and many a times includes water or coffee and sometimes even wine (vino) or beer (cerveza). Prices range from €6-25 euro.
Lonja de Tapas offers a great Menú del Día for €9 per person. There were at least 3 gluten free options for each course. For our first course (primer plato) I had a salad (ensalada) with cherry tomatoes (tomates cherry), walnuts (nueces), raisins (pasas), and Parmesan (parmesano), drizzled with olive oil (aceite) and honey (miel). Using honey as a dressing made this salad really stand out. It was delicious but not too sweet.
Jeremy had the potatoes (patatas) topped with a fried egg (huevo frito) and crispy chorizo bits served in a mini skillet. This is a classic Catalan dish.
For my second (Segundo), or main course (principal), I had the steak (bistec) topped with chimichurri sauce. For dessert (postre) we shared sorbet (sorbet) topped with caramelized orange peels (cáscaras de naranja caramelizadas) and poached pears (peras) in a red wine (vino tinto) sauce. Speaking of wine, the wine list here is great too!
Situated just to the west of El Born, separated by the street “Via Laietana” is the Gothic Quarter (el barrio gótico). El barro gótico is the center of the old city of Barcelona (Ciutat Vella). Many of the buildings date back to Medieval times, and the streets are small and narrow, opening up to many charming squares (plazas). If you aren’t in the mood for a full 3-course lunch then I suggest you head here, to Conesa, for a gluten free sandwich (bocadillo). Conesa has gluten free bread and almost all it’s sandwiches can be done this way. For a complete list click here. And don’t worry if you try to order a something that has gluten the cashier/cook will let you know you can’t and that you should pick another one.
Tip: When ordering food to go, in Spain the phrase is “Para Llevar.”
We ordered the Botifarra de cocido – large sweet onion sausage with grilled spring onions and a romesco sauce. It was delicious, the bread was better than any sandwich bread I’ve had at home. It was similar to a baguette. The gluten free bread (pan) only costs €.75 more and it is worth it because the sandwiches are huge! They happily offered to cut ours in half for us, and my half was over 6 inches long! I recommend sharing one.
Vienna also has gluten free bread for sandwiches and has 6 locations in Barcelona, as well as many other cities in Spain. Click here for a full list of restaurant locations.
El Barrio Gótico not only has a gluten free sandwich shop but it also has a Gelato shop that serves DAIRY FREE ice cream on GLUTEN FREE ice cream cones. Yes you read that correctly. Gelaaati Di Marco serves regular gelato as well as dairy free gelato made from rice milk. Gluten free cones (curuchos sin gluten) only cost €.50 more than a regular cone, so a small gluten free ice cream will only set you back €3.30. I wish I lived in Barcelona so I could enjoy dairy free and gluten free ice cream cones all summer long. I still have hope for you Boston!
Next up: Las Ramblas, El Rival and Northern Spain
Click here to Read A Gluten Free Guide to Barcelona Day 1 and Day 2.