Tag Archives: spain

Marbella, Spain

2 Aug

IMG_5585.jpegIt has been just a week since we returned from a family trip to Marbella, Spain. Every year, my dad plans a trip to somewhere in the world. He won’t tell anyone where we are going, including my mom. Then in late Spring, he sends an email to all of us telling us where this year’s adventure is. We are a complicated group with dietary restrictions. We have two Celiacs, a vegetarian, one person with severe allergies to nuts and sesame, one person that doesn’t eat red meat or pork, another that doesn’t eat products from cow that has a shellfish allergy, a pescatarian, a person allergic to eggplant and another that can’t eat asparagus. Every year, I bring translation cards for my Celiac and for my daughter’s allergies so that I can properly communicate with restaurants to avoid any incidents. This year I used Celiactravel.com for the gluten-free restaurant cards and Select Wisely for my daughter’s allergies. I found that I had to use the cards a lot more this year than in previous years. But once the staff had the cards, we were all good. Below are some of the more memorable restaurants that we visited.

Zozoï

IMG_5512.jpegThe first dinner we had off our hotel’s property was Zozoï located in Old Town Marbella. My brother and I were very excited to find out that they had celiac-friendly spring rolls. They use rice paper and only fry the spring rolls and their beef tallow Belgian fries in the oil used. These were probably one of my favorite things I had on the entire trip. Our table also shared some fantastic Belotta ham. IMG_5510.jpegThe pigs were only fed macadamia nuts and ran 20 kilometers a day so the meat was super lean. I had fish and a side of those Belgian fries for my main dish.

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Soleo

Our next dinner was right on the water in Marbella. When the waiter told me they had gluten-free bread and I inquired if there was any cross-contamination, he looked at me in disbelief and told me of course not. Apparently gluten-free actually meant gluten-free here.

IMG_5530.jpgMy brother and I shared two starters. The first was the table-smoked salmon tartare with avocado.

IMG_5535.jpegThe second was the sautéed vegetables with garlic prawns.

IMG_5537.jpegFor my main, I had Grilled tuna from the Strait of Gibraltar. It was served with seasonal vegetables. IMG_5540.jpegWe also had a side of their roasted potatoes with the meal.

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Dani Garcia

The next evening we enjoyed the very special tasting menu at Dani Garcia, a Michelin 3-star restaurant. Everything from the glassware to the printed menus personalized to dietary needs to the presentation of the food were spectacular. Even tea service was so wonderful and special. Rather than include pictures of every special course, I thought I would just include one as a sampling of the creativity used.

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Skina

In hindsight, we should have gone to Skina before Dani Garcia. This one-star Michelin restaurant followed a very tough act. We enjoyed another tasting menu here and I failed to take any pictures. However, they did a good job with ensuring all of our dietary needs were taken care of. After dinner, the walk through Old Town Marbella was really beautiful as everyone seemed to be out and about.

Pikaro

The next evening we ate with views of the water near the Marbella marina at Pikaro. Out of all of our meals, I felt most tentative ordering at this restaurant since the waiter told me that they couldn’t guarantee safety at the restaurant since it was a very small kitchen. However, after talking with him more, I was able to order a starter of Spanish cheese. IMG_5570 2.jpgThey gave me some warmed gluten-free bread to go with it. Most of the gluten-free breads that I had in Spain came in these sealed packages so that there would be no cross contamination when warming them up. IMG_5571.jpgFor my main course, I had a fish with ham on it.IMG_5572.jpgThere was a steamed cheese cake gluten-free dessert on the menu which I tried but wasn’t a fan of.

Albacara

On our last day in Spain, we traveled to the mountaintop city of Ronda which was unbelievably beautiful. The picture on the top of this post was taken there. We had a guide that brought us to Restaurant Albacara once the tour was over. The restaurant had panoramic views of the gorge and Puente Nuevo bridge. Once again, I was served packaged gluten-free bread.IMG_5576.jpgI ordered the sea bream baked in salt. It was served with seasonal vegetables.IMG_0189.jpeg

Los Bandidos

Our last dinner was at Los Bandidos in the Puerto Banus area of Marbella. Once again, there was safe gluten-free bread.

IMG_5593.jpgI started with the prawns cooked in a chili garlic herb sauce. I then split a mixed salad with my husband.IMG_5595.jpgFor my main course, I ordered the Grilled Tuna from Almandraba with vegetable Risotto. Our waitress let me know that the risotto wasn’t gluten-free, so she substituted potatoes for it. IMG_5596.jpgWhen the dish arrived, I was very skeptical that it was gluten free. It looked like soy sauce was drizzled all over it. After going over the ingredients of the sauce with someone from the kitchen more than once, it was determined that the color came from a dark sesame oil.

MC Beach at Marbella Club

A lot of our lunches were spent at the hotel due to nap time for our toddler. We did room service a couple of times. There were multiple restaurants on the hotel property that we tried as well. My favorite was MC Beach which was located right on the water and had the most perfect vacation-type atmosphere. On two occasions I had the sushi as they were able to prepare it gluten-free. IMG_5541.jpgThe fatty salmon was quite memorable. So tender and good. I also had the quinoa salad which was a lot heartier than expected.IMG_5558.jpgThis location was also the perfect spot for a cocktail after our sitter arrived to the room and before it was time for the grown-up dinner. With the sounds of the Alboran Sea in the backdrop, it didn’t get much better than this.

There was one entirely gluten-free restaurant that was pretty close to our hotel that I didn’t have time to visit called Celiacioso. Perhaps on a return trip I will make it there!

Once again, we were able to travel successfully with a multitude of dietary restrictions. If you have kids and are looking to travel to Marbella, the Marbella Club Hotel was fantastic and they have the most impressive kids’ club offered that I have ever seen.