When I first visited Spain 4 years ago (2012! Can you believe it?), the offerings for people like me with Coeliac disease were a bit limited. I could buy bread and pasta from the pharmacy (!), but that was about it.
Two years later, when I came back again, things were better, and there were lots of gluten free products in the supermarket.
But this time, things have REALLY improved, because a Spanish chef who has Coeliac disease has opened up two new cafes in Madrid which only sell gluten free products. This is the website.
And, miracle of miracles, the things there actually taste decent. Well, more than decent. I am scared to say it, but they are GOOD. This is a pretty major achievement, given that the majority of gluten free food has the taste, texture, and general appearance of a piece of soggy cardboard. Not that I’ve eaten soggy cardboard myself, but you get the idea…
Since a friend showed me these cafes on my fourth day in Madrid, I have been back five times.
The first three times, I had cupcakes, but then I decided to branch out with the lasagne:
And the steak sandwich:
Everything I’ve eaten has been great. Apart from the coffee, which is absolutely appalling. I guess I can’t have everything.
But all this pales into insignificance when we get to the pièce de résistance– the toilets. See, the cafe on Calle del Barquillo is next to a five star hotel, and because it doesn’t have its own toilets, diners are “forced” (although that makes it sound like we’re suffering here) to use the hotel’s facilities.
And let’s just say, they are somewhat palatial.
In order to get to the facilities, you have to walk through a lobby, which is filled with comfy chairs and with bottles of champagne on the table (perhaps they know that the coffee in the cafe is undrinkable?). You then casually press a mirrored door, which opens to reveal this fancy pants bathroom, which is all posh tiles, waterfall taps, and expensive fittings.
In fact, I would even say that it is worth visiting the cafe simply to use the toilets. They are THAT good.
So next time you’re in Madrid, and looking for somewhere nice to go (“to go”- see what I did there?), all I can say is, remember Celicioso on Calle del Barquillo 🙂