We flew in and out of Madrid, we only had a few hours after our flight in, and we had a few days on our way out. Definitely the largest, most modern and bustling city of our trip. It’s nice to see the range in cities! After flying in, although we had a few hours to kill before our bus to Jaen left, we were too tired from our flight to do much. We also knew we had a 4 hour bus ride ahead of us. After arriving at Atocha station from the airport, we took a taxi to the bus station that would get us to Jaen, Estacion Sur. We just ended up hanging out there for a few hours, drinking coffee and eating at Rodilla. As a bonus, they had luggage storage for a few euros. If you had more energy and some time to spend, you could store your luggage here and see some of the city.
This post is dedicated to the gluten free part of being in Madrid. For information on where we stayed, how we traveled, and what we saw, check out THIS post (coming soon).
What I ate
For basic information and tips for traveling gluten free in Spain HERE.
Find throughout Spain
Rodilla is a chain that I am SO happy I had written down ahead of time. Both my friend and I ordered the gluten free cheese and onion sandwich with an assumption there wasn’t meat on it, but I think there was turkey on it. There were a lot of sandwiches to pick from, but the gluten free ones were stored in a separate location wrapped individually. Holy smokes this bread was amazing! It scared me for a minute that it wasn’t gluten free, but I saw her pull it out of the special gluten free place, pre-made. However, it appeared to be toasted in what looked like a shared oven. That beings said, most of the gluten containing sandwiches weren't heated.
Also, if you needed to buy a few premade items, right across the street from Estacion Sur is a El Corte Ingles shopping center. El Corte Ingles has its own grocery store called Hipercore which has a large gluten free section where you could pick up some snacks - keep reading below where I talk more about El Corte Ingles and Hipercore.
NuBel at the Reina Sofia
Calle Argumosa 43, Museo Reina Sofía
28012 Madrid, Spain
On our way to Jaén from Madrid we took the bus, which is quite a bit cheaper than the train. However, we wanted to leave a little later than the bus left, so on the way back to Madrid we took the train. We were able to store our luggage at the Reina Sofia. A note here, you do have to purchase a ticket and take your luggage through security before being able to store it. You just need a deposit to use the lockers, and you get it back when you are finished. The only have a few large lockers for luggage – we were lucky and there were two open.
Before starting, we stopped at NuBel, one of the restaurants at the museum. They mentioned gluten free on the menu (available in English), and had gluten free bread. Although it came with fries, I had a hard time asking if they were in a dedicated fryer, so I gave them to my husband. The sandwich was ok, but it was definitely gluten free bread – dry and crumbly. Also it came toasted but I ate it anyway. Not the highlight meal of my trip, but something to tide me over.
Calle de Hortaleza, 3
28004 Madrid, Spain
Just go there. No questions asked. I read on blog after blog how amazing it was, and it lived up to my expectations. So we went twice. The staff was fantastic, there are separate menus in Spanish and English and the ENTIRE menu is gluten free! Plus there are vegan and lactose free options.
Day 1: On our first visit we split the green quiche and eggs benedict on white bread, both of which were fantastic. However, we had the seeded bread the next day, and it was better. Then we tried the tiramisu which was a little more like a cake then others I have had, but still very good. And macarons are almost always gluten free wherever you are, so we took two to go. We tried the mint and caramel – caramel won. Did you just read about how much we had already eaten? We ALSO took 2 alfajores to go, the dulce de leche and café flavors. I was a bigger fan of the macarons.
Day 2: This time I wanted a tostada, like everyone had been eating every day all along. But these were a fancier version. While they had the traditional olive oil and tomato, someone next to me got this and I couldn’t help myself: peanut butter, honey, banana (la mantequilla de cacahuete, miel, plátano). Jason tried a tostada with lettuce, turkey, and olive oil (pavo, lechuga, aceite de olivia). This time we both got the seeded toast. Our waitress explained it was new to the menu a few weeks ago, homemade, and it was some of the best gluten free bread I’ve ever had.
We also split the pancakes tropical. This one was place I definitely over ate. I’m not sorry about it.
El Corte Ingles
El Corte Ingles is a chain found all over Spain, and although on the pricier side, we found the best gluten free selection here and at Mercadona gorcery stores. In Madrid, this El Corte Ingles was located near Puerta del Sol, very close to our Airbnb. Although you can find gluten free foods through the grocery store located on the lowest level, just outside of the actually grocery area is a specialty allergen section. Because it is NOT in the main grocery store, you will have to pay separate. LOTS of things to choose from! Mostly what we found here were processed goods, crackers, cookies, bread, frozen pizza, etc. They cater to many different allergens here. For this trip we were making a simple and quick dinner, we decided to make sandwiches with cheese and salami shown with a sin gluten label on it.
PS...I totally got yelled at taking pictures, apparently there are no pictures allowed in this grocery store...
Plaza Mayor 24
28012 Madrid, Spain
A chain of natural and holistic products. They also had a small selection of gluten free foods and other allergen friendly foods.
Taberna la Concha
Calle Cava Baja, 7
28005 Madrid, Spain
This tiny little place is worth the visit. Step inside for a few bar seats, and the basement seats maybe 25 more. They have an entire extensive gluten free tapas menu. We tried to pork cheek in red wine sauce, the smoked salmon with tzatziki sauce, and lentils with caramelized duck and foie gras. As is customary when ordering a drink, we also got a small gluten free tapas. Oh, try the Rioja Somelia for a wine, this is what the waitress recommended and it was probably my favorite wine in Spain.
Barajas Airport: Terminal 4
Barajas Airport: Eating Point (Boarding Area J)
We were there really early before most places were open, and they had some gluten free options like muffins and salads, as well as fruit and cheese (and café con leche of course).
Barajas Airport: Esenza by SHA
If you’re needing a little break, not only do they offer a bunch of to-go healthy food options.
Their website explains: “Every product on Esenza by SHA menu is elaborated with fresh and natural products, unprocessed and most of them taking into account the basic principles of macrobiotics. You won’t find diary products or meat. Bread is not made out of processed flour and none of the desserts contains refined sugar. Sandwiches and wraps, vegetable soups, sushi or carrot cake, a mix of Eastern and Western ingredients; all of them 100% natural and healthy.”
They did have gluten free and vegan options – I was kind of in a rush at this point and didn’t get a lot of time to look closely though.
Barajas Airport: Deli & Cia (Boarding Area H)
Nice sandwich place with gluten free options.
Barajas Airport: Duty Free
We brought back a few snacks for family, and found some marzipan that was gluten free. And if you’re looking for a snack for the flight, there is cheese and sausage here. You just have to check that the sausage is gluten free, not all are.
Barajas Airport: Windsor Bar
Restaurant with gluten free and vegetarian options.
Restaurants I researched
These are restaurants I wrote down, but didn't end up visiting (yes there are a lot - I mentioned I like researching ahead of time, right?)
Other Blogs and Tours:
We did more than just eat! If you are interested in what we did while in Madrid, check out THIS post!