I spent 2 weeks on the Costa Teguise, Lanzarote in August 2019 and found it to be really, really easy to eat well gluten free there. I speak good Spanish, which obviously helped, but the vast majority of restaurants had at least 1 person who spoke good English. I doubt it would be much more difficult to explain yourself in English and with a translation card just in case. I did my research in advance so this may not be representative of all restaurants there but every one we went to was aware of gluten and cross-contamination. Nobody gave me a puzzled look when I mentioned it, most were justifiably proud of the gluten free menus and several had “gluten free” written up outside. There is also a good system in place in several restaurants where there are little coloured icons for each of the 14 main allergens, clearly visible on the menu, making it easy to see what you can eat at a glance. One thing to be aware of though, unlike the norm in the UK, the symbol represents a dish that DOES contain the allergen, not one which is free from it. I found that gluten free beer was widely available in restaurants across the resort.
Hotel Melia Salinas
We stayed bed and breakfast in the Hotel Melia Salinas and they were absolutely superb for gluten free food. I had emailed in advance and they assured me that they could cater for me – but we’ve all heard that before so I took plenty of food with me from home just in case. I really needn’t have bothered. The hotel has a separate section of the buffet labelled ‘gluten free’ and there is even a dedicated toaster. There was cereal, bread, mini croissants, pancakes, muffins, rice cakes, chocolate spread, cake and hot chocolate powder in the gluten free section. Add to that the fruit from the main buffet, plus the omelettes and eggs, which I could see being cooked safely, and you’ve got yourself a fantastic gluten free breakfast. I spotted a crème caramel one morning (I know, not a breakfast food but I was on holiday 😉 ) with a biscuit balanced on the top of it. I explained the situation to a member of staff and asked if he could get a caramel from the kitchen without a biscuit. He was more than happy to do so and, from then on, some of them were always served without the biscuit. My only concern with the breakfast was that the hotel puts their honeycomb in the middle of the gluten free section. This, understandably, attracts other guests with their associated gluteny-crumbs. This could easily be resolved by putting their honeycomb centre-piece elsewhere. However, I wasn’t glutened at all.
We ate here several times as it was so near the hotel and all of their pizzas can be made gluten free. On our first evening I thought I was going to have a problem. I asked the waiter if the pizza was completely gluten free and he said only the base was. I queried the toppings and he just threw his hands up in the air and said ‘I don’t know what toppings are gluten free, I’m not coeliac, you’ll have to choose yourself’. Fortunately a colleague overheard and was able to confirm that all of the toppings are gluten free, the base is the only thing they need to swap. I then asked the original waiter if the pizzas were cooked on a separate tray to prevent cross-contamination. This didn’t go down well and he rolled his eyes, sighed and told me they didn’t do anything special for gluten free. I told him I couldn’t eat it if the pizza was in contact with gluten and asked him to check in the kitchen. I saw him go into the kitchen but we didn’t speak to him again until the food arrived. At that point he confirmed that they cook their gluten free pizzas on a separate tray. So, whilst the waiting staff don’t necessarily understand gluten free, the kitchen most certainly does. Having established that the pizza was safe, we ate here confidently on a further 2 occasions. The bases were bought in, rather than made on site, but they tasted good and this was the case in every restaurant we used.
This restaurant is part of a local chain, alongside Cesare, La Hacienda and Maestro, two of which we also ate in. (Maestro had a more limited selection of gluten free option so we avoided it) In Peskara the staff were very knowledgeable and they instilled confidence. The paella was excellent.
Another member of the small chain, Cesare was excellent. The staff were only too pleased to talk me through the options available and there was plenty of choice. When I asked about cross-contamination of the pizzas, the lady I was speaking to was honest and said she didn’t know but would check. She came back a couple of minutes later to say that the chef cooks them in a separate oven but he is very sorry, the oven shares a ventilation system with the main oven. Anyone who is that cautious can cook for me any day of the week!! Assuring her that the shared ventilation wasn’t a problem, we sat down and ordered. The food was a good standard and she even came back after we had finished to check that I was feeling OK. It really mattered to them that their customers were safe. When we returned the next week I also ordered a cheesecake as a dessert and it was delicious.
This restaurant is run by an English lady who is more than happy to talk you through the gluten free options on her menu. When we sat down she told our waiter and the chef that I was coeliac so that no mistakes were made. The chef was happy to adapt some of the dishes which weren’t already gluten free. On our first visit I had a tasty chicken dish in sauce and the second time I had a superb steak. None of the steak sauces were gluten free so the chef made a garlic butter for me which was great.
Another member of the small, local chain, La Hacienda specialises in Mexican food. The portions here were huge and the tacos were so tasty I ordered them both times we ate here. Again, the staff were very attentive and I felt safe eating there.
This was a very popular restaurant which served excellent burgers. It was the only place where I had trouble making myself understood, one waiter didn’t really follow what I was asking about but his colleague did. I must confess to not feeling entirely confident in here first time around because the waiter wasn’t very communicative and seemed distracted by the rush of people around him. I asked all of the questions I needed to though and they gave the right answers so I ordered a burger. Many of their burgers come without buns anyway so I wasn’t missing out of a main component. I queried the chips and was assured they were cooked separately. They also proudly presented gluten free bread which was delicious. The whole meal was very tasty and entirely gluten free – I ordered the same thing the next time we visited.
Aqui y Ahora
This is a little café which serves breakfast and lunch. We had lunch here a couple of times as the Arepas are gluten free. They’re hot sandwiches made with cornflour and stuffed with hot fillings of your choice. Very tasty and filling.
This restaurant is owned by a lovely lady who is very proud of her gluten free menu and takes the time to talk you through it carefully. The chef’s son is coeliac so he knows exactly what he is doing. There was plenty of choice and I was even able to have a bruschetta starter here. The food was delicious and portions generous.
There are lots of little shops selling prepacked ice creams and lollies. Many of them are labelled up “sin gluten” so you don’t have to scrutinise the ingredients list. It was easy to find things I could eat.
Gluten free bread is available in most of the shops in the resort but it is extortionate. I spotted a Schar loaf priced at over 3 euros. But, it’s there if you need it. The Spar supermarkets also have a handy system where the price tags are a different colour if the items are gluten free. It makes scanning shelves much easier. It’s not fool-proof though so you will still need to check the ingredients carefully.
In general, I found it really easy to eat safely on the Costa Teguise and I’d recommend it to other gluten free travellers. Please get in touch if I can answer any questions for you!