Today I'm sharing the best places to eat for celiac travelers in this gluten-free Madrid guide - a place I used to call home!
This gluten-free Madrid dining guide may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure page for more information. Thanks! Guide last updated September 2022. Please double-check current travel restrictions and COVID protocols for visiting Spain.
About This Gluten-Free Dining Guide To Madrid
In 2010, only months after being diagnosed with celiac disease, I began my study abroad program in Madrid. I was nineteen years old and determined to make my experience of living in Spain a great one despite my new gluten-free diet.
My gut had only just started to heal, and I still struggled with eating in restaurants. Most did not understand safe kitchen practices regarding cross-contact and cross-contamination was rampant. Due to the lack of knowledge surrounding celiac disease and the gluten-free diet, I limited myself to eating at home with my wonderful host family.
Almost ten years later, the awareness of celiac disease in Madrid has improved dramatically. And that's what I'm sharing about in this celiac dining guide!
About Madrid's Gluten-Free Scene
Madrid's gluten-free scene is packed with delicious and safe choices. I was overjoyed by the changes and increased awareness of the gluten-free diet in Madrid. Gone were my concerns from my semester abroad, and instead they were replaced with community, and the chance to embrace the Spanish lifestyle once more!
Here are some of the most delicioso spots for gluten-free food in Madrid and my best recommendations as a traveler with celiac disease. Please note, this is not a list of EVERY restaurant with gluten-free options in Madrid, but will give you a great place to begin your research if you are planning to visit the Spanish capital!
NOTE & DISCLAIMER
Everyone’s experience with celiac disease is different. Dedicated gluten-free facilities are usually the safest places to go, and you’ll see those listed here. For non-dedicated facilities and restaurants, I only recommend places I have visited or where clear protocols are in place for celiac diners.
My experience is not your experience. This gluten-free guide to Madrid is just that - a guide. It is a list of suggestions to point you in the right direction. Restaurants can change. Use your own judgment and only eat where you feel safe doing so. Also please note that restaurants and their services may have changed since 2019 when I last visited. Check their social media or contact them directly for the most up-to-date information.
This gluten-free guide to Madrid was originally written and published online for Gluten-Free Living. I have updated and condensed the information here to include the most accurate and up-to-date spots for celiac travelers.
Madrid Gluten-Free Dining Guide
- About This Gluten-Free Dining Guide To Madrid
- Madrid Gluten-Free Dining Guide
- About Madrid
- The Mediterranean Diet in Spain
- Celiac Disease in Spain
- How To Find Gluten-Free Food in Madrid
- Spanish Restaurant Card
- Dedicated Gluten-Free Facilities in Madrid
- Gluten-Free Tapas Bars, Cafes & Restaurants in Madrid
- Chocolate Con Churros in Madrid
- Gluten-Free Groceries in Madrid
- Final Thoughts: Gluten-Free Travel Guide To Madrid
- Looking for more gluten-free travel posts?
Madrid is the capital of Spain, right in the epicenter of the country. It's one of the most exciting cities in Europe and filled with history, nightlife, and lively people. Madrid is home to numerous art collections and gorgeous public parks, as well as palaces, churches, and beautiful architecture. Madrid has a certain energy about it that never seems to stop!
Madrid's citizens (Madrileños) are some of my favorite people in the world, and I learned so much about myself from living here. Studying abroad opened my eyes to new ideas and ways of thinking, but also gave me tons of confidence. I had barely been diagnosed with celiac disease when I came to Madrid, but even my mindset back then was the same as it is now: a dietary restriction wasn't going to hold me back.
The Mediterranean Diet in Spain
The Spanish eat a predominantly Mediterranean diet, which has been known to provide multiple health benefits. While the regional foods may vary, Spain consumes large amounts of olive oil, fish, and fresh vegetables, along with grains such as potatoes and rice. Common dishes throughout the country include paella, tortilla de patatas, and a variety of tapas (called pintxos in the Basque region). Red wine, olives, cured ham, and sheep's cheeses are also found on many menus. Coffee is enjoyed in small cups, and one of the most famous dessert items in Madrid is chocolate con churros.
Spaniards typically enjoy a small breakfast. It’s best to hold out for lunch, the biggest meal of the day, which is eaten around 2 PM. Spanish families eat much later in the evening, around 9 or 10 PM, or even later! During my semester in Spain, I ate dinner at 9:30 PM, but I had friends who ate as late as 11:00. Don't expect to go out to dinner around American times of 5 or 6 pm - you'll find most places are serving tapas. Have a glass of wine and small plates of items like Spanish olives, patatas bravas, jamón serrano, maybe even some manchego cheese.
Restaurants and bars are open very late, even into the early hours of the morning. Don't worry about going out to eat at 10 PM. Just to give you an idea - here's a quick story: During my semester in Spain, my friends and I were taking an excursion to Salamanca for the day. We met up at a small cafe for coffee and noticed the place was packed. We quickly discovered most of the customers were still out from the night before. Spaniards don't mess around and definitely live life to the fullest!
Celiac Disease in Spain
Celiac disease is common in Europe, just like the United States. Many restaurants today have the “F.A.C.E.” blue sticker in their windows, on signs, or on menus. It stands for Federación de Asociaciones de Celíacos de España - the Association of Celiacs of Spain. If you see this, it’s a sign that a particular restaurant has been deemed safe for those with celiac disease.
The awareness surrounding celiac disease in Madrid has seriously improved in the last decade. Even in restaurants that were not dedicated gluten-free, it was easy for me to communicate my needs in Spanish. Servers were quick to ask right away, "Eres celiaca?" - "Are you celiac?" When I lived here in 2010, hardly anyone had any idea what celiac disease or gluten was.
How To Find Gluten-Free Food in Madrid
Locating gluten-free food can be tough when you're traveling - especially abroad. And while it's critical to speak to the restaurant directly to make sure their protocols work for you, sometimes you just want to get an idea of what's available. One of the best ways to do that while traveling is by doing your research first, on an app/website like FindMeGlutenFree.
FindMeGlutenFree can help you get an idea of what gluten-free restaurants, bakeries, and safe menus are available in Madrid. Yes - this app is used around the globe! And with a Premium Subscription, you can filter by most celiac friendly, see what's open now (so you don't drive all the way to a bakery for breakfast and discover it's closed), and what's gluten-free in the direction you're headed. It's like Google Maps, but a gluten-free version. And no Ads!
I've been a FMGF user for over a decade, but I think their Premium version is much more effective. Take $5 off a Premium Subscription with the code THENOMADICFITZ to make your trip to Spain less stressful.
Spanish Restaurant Card
Language barriers can be one of the biggest challenges when traveling - especially when you have celiac disease. Be prepared to eat gluten-free in Spain with your best gluten-free travel tool: a Spanish restaurant card!
As a former Spanish teacher and someone who previously lived in Madrid, I can tell you that speaking with proper colloquialisms, grammar, and vocabulary makes a big difference in comprehension. A restaurant card properly translated into the local language allows your host, server, or chef to know what foods you can and cannot eat, and how the preparation of your food is critical to your health and safety.
This Spanish restaurant card from Jodi of Legal Nomads has been carefully written and translated by a local to be sure you are completely understood when eating in restaurants, cafes, or shops in Madrid. Additionally, another more succinct but equally effective card can be found here from Equal Eats. I recommend both of these cards wholeheartedly.
If you decide to not purchase a restaurant card, be on the lookout for "sin gluten" on menus, restaurants, and products, meaning "without gluten", and even "sin T.A.C.C." - the label for gluten-free products also used in Argentina. You can also use the words "Soy celíaco/celíaca", meaning "I am celiac."
Dedicated Gluten-Free Facilities in Madrid
There are multiple dedicated gluten-free facilities in Madrid, many of which are bakeries and cafes, but some are tapas bars and restaurants! Here's a list of some of the great dedicated facilities in Madrid and what you can find at each of them.
As De Bastos
One of the premier 100% gluten-free restaurants/bars in Madrid serving up delicious gluten-free versions of classic Spanish meals and a few familiar dishes. You can find vegetables, burgers, and chicken as well as gazpacho, fresh fish, and even desserts! Follow As De Bastos on Facebook or Instagram or visit their website to get their menu del día.
My favorite stop for breakfast in Madrid! This dedicated bakery and cafe has amazing cupcakes, baked goods, sandwiches, salads, and coffee. Perfect for a late breakfast or for lunch! We came to Celicioso multiple times in Madrid last year and the staff was so friendly. Learn more about Celicioso (they have two locations) and check them out on both Facebook and Instagram.
A little Italian in Madrid! This authentic gluten-free pizzeria has tons of delicious options with multiple locations across Spain. Learn more on their website and social media here.
A 100% gluten-free bar and restaurant, with options for dining in or take-out. This small bistro has great tapas, small plates, and drinks! Get their current menu or follow Kint on Facebook and Instagram.
A dedicated artisan gluten-free bakery that creates delicious gluten-free bread, pastries, and more. Learn more about their offerings on their website or check out LAIB on Facebook and Instagram.
Naked And Sated
100% gluten-free restaurant with lots of healthy options of salads, bowls, burgers, and more. They also have lots of vegan options too and a second location in Bilbao. Learn more on their Instagram page.
Pastelería La Oriental
Another dedicated bakery committed to creating decadent pastries, croissants, cakes, bread, muffins, cupcakes, and more! Learn more about La Oriental on their website or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
Restaurante Vegetariano Artesania
A gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian restaurant offering small plates, fresh juices, lunch, dinner, and more! If you are a vegetarian in addition to gluten-free, this place will be perfect for you. Learn more about their current menu offerings here - and note, they have multiple locations!
If you are gluten-free and lactose-intolerant, Sana Locura might be the place for you. They have multiple varieties of gluten-free and lactose-free bread! Sana Locura has delicious breads and bread products as well as pastries and more. Follow Sana Locura on Facebook and Instagram.
Solo de Croquetas
A favorite tapas dish for many is a plate of croquetas, which are deep-fried and filled with cheese, meat, or other savory items. It may seem like a no-go for gluten-free eaters, but at Solo de Croquetas, you can try a variety of croquetas that are celiac safe! This tapas bar specializes in croquetas. Learn more about Solo de Croquetas on their website or follow them on Instagram.
Gluten-Free Tapas Bars, Cafes & Restaurants in Madrid
The following restaurants are not 100% gluten-free facilities but have excellent protocols for celiac diners. My favorite Madrid neighborhood - La Latina has a good number of them!
El Arrozal Permanently Closed. Super sad to hear this restaurant has closed permanently. The pandemic was hard on so many small businesses.
Paella is one of the most famous dishes in Spain. It can vary by region, but my personal favorite is paella Valenciana. That's what you see in the photo above.
This tapas bar in Plaza de Olavide was our first stop back in Madrid. Almost everything on the menu is gluten-free except their croquetas! We were starving after an 8-hour bus ride, and left the place barely able to walk because we were so full! They served me gluten-free bread, salad, patatas aioli, tortilla, and wine- all gluten-free! We ate close to 9 PM, feeling like locals. Dylan immediately took a liking to Madrid thanks to this place. More information for Bar Mentrida can be found here.
Taberna la Concha
Another tapas bar and restaurant that does a great job for celiacs! An enormous menu with great albóndigas (meatballs) that are gluten-free, which I enjoyed with Dylan and my study abroad friend Lucy, who now lives and teaches in Madrid. Great wine, great tapas, and great company at Taberna La Concha! More information can be found here.
This tapas bar and restaurant has a great patio where you can watch the hustle and bustle of La Latina and enjoy an excellent menu - 90% of the menu is gluten-free! I recommend their patatas bravas - they are awesome! For more information on La Lina, visit their website for the latest information or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
Yes, I know, Dominos pizza? In Spain? Well when it has the FACE seal of approval (Celiac Association of Spain) I knew I had to try it. And I was very pleased with the final product! It's not easy to order pizza when you have celiac disease, but they definitely had cross-contact protocols in place. And the pizza was great!
Chocolate Con Churros in Madrid
Chocolate con churros is a staple sweet treat in Spain - especially in Madrid.
When I studied in Spain just after my celiac diagnosis, I watched everyone in my study abroad group enjoy these specialties, while I had to sit and watch. I grew to accept that churros weren't going to be a part of my Madrid experience. To say that I was excited to finally enjoy chocolate con churros like a true Madrileña would be the understatement of well, the last ten years!
Where I finally got to enjoy gluten-free churros! Maestro Churrero offers churros that are fried separately in their own fryer and served with a warm and thick chocolate sauce. Worth the wait!
More information on Maestro Churrero can be found on their website, Facebook, and Instagram pages. They have multiple locations in Madrid.
One of the most famous churro shops that have been in the same family for 5 generations! They offer gluten-free, lactose-free, and sugar-free churros that are also vegan. They have been verified by the FACE (Celiac Association of Spain) as safe for celiacs. More information about them can be found on their website or social media pages.
Gluten-Free Groceries in Madrid
Bread is a big component in Spanish meals, but you’ll be able to find gluten-free versions in many local places. Check the supermarkets of the following places (multiple locations across Madrid) for gluten-free products, as there will usually be dedicated aisles (just like in Italy!)
But make sure you also check El Corte Inglés!
El Corte Inglés, one of the most popular department stores in Madrid, has everything from clothing to house wear to food. They have an extensive selection of gluten-free products available, especially products from Schar.
There are multiple locations of El Corte Inglés around the city - refer to the map above at the beginning of the post for more information.
Just like Italy, many pharmacies or even health food stores will be great places to find gluten-free groceries.
Final Thoughts: Gluten-Free Travel Guide To Madrid
Coming back to Madrid after all these years was like reuniting with an old friend. As I strolled through Puerta del Sol, marveled at the Spanish spoken around me, and remembered my time here, I did so with new confidence. There are so many safe places to enjoy a gluten-free meal in this historic capital city. Madrid’s gluten-free scene has changed for the better, and I look forward to returning again soon.
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