Leon: an example of how not to explore a city… we will have to come back!
We arrived in León from Salamanca in about two hours. We were a bit tired because we had already driven many kilometers. The trip was being very intense. Isa had to continue preparing the deliveries for the photo contest in which he had participated in Torrejón el Rubio. From my side, I was waiting for a call from “El Confidencial” to give me a short interview for their article on travelling with allergies and intolerances. Taking all this into account, we decided to stay in the apartment and rest a bit before going out to discover gluten-free restaurants in León.
From the beginning, we had decided to stop in Leon just to be able to rest. Unfortunately, this time, the objective was not to discover the city! We had booked an apartment in the city centre and, although we had a huge list of gluten-free bars and restaurants… this was only a huge list of gluten-free restaurants and bars. It gave us very little information: there were no references from any other coeliacs who had eaten there; it didn’t say whether they had bread or not; maybe they only had gluten-free beer – we called a few of them and they were closed. Others did not answer. It was 8:30 pm and we still didn’t know where to eat. We got dressed and went for a walk. All the bars were full and that day we didn’t feel like eating standing at the bar.
We felt like sitting down and continuing to rest while enjoying a good dinner. But going to one of the other gluten-free restaurants in León that were on the list forced us to take the car out of the garage. The guy who had rented the flat to us had recommended the “Nimú Azotea” but it was closed that day.
We continued walking until we reached the Calle Ancha. As we walked towards the centre, we called two other restaurants without success. It was already a little late and, finally, we turned around and decided to go for a snack at the Pans & Company. Inside, the girl didn’t really know what the gluten-free issue was about… she told us we had three options: chicken, bacon and frankfurt. We asked her about the fries and she said that they might be contaminated because they were fried in the same fryer they used for nuggets. “Yeah, they’re definitely contaminated,” we thought…
We had a chicken and cheese sandwich sitting on the terrace of the Pans&Company. A procession worthy of Easter passed by. With musicians who marked the passage of the Virgin. Back at the apartment, I said to Isa: “I bet you don’t know what I’m going to eat for dessert?” “A yoghurt with M&Ms!” I said. Between laughs she replied that it was a “fat guy” and that she would only eat the M&Ms.
We lay in bed, exhausted, looking for where to eat breakfast the next day.
While she was still preparing the photographs for the second phase of the competition, I found a gluten-free bakery in León that I found very interesting: Las Celicias de la Avenida de Miguel Castaño 27 de León. (Unfortunately, today we have been told that it has closed :(… as we explained in the post from Torrejón el Rubio, this is the trip from last summer, from 2019. We hope that it is transitory and that they can reopen soon)
The Leonese experience was beginning to straighten out a bit. It was clear to us that we had to go back. León is a city to enjoy as we like to enjoy all the places we go: slowly and eating well! And so we began the day: having rested in a bed that we would have liked to take home, with hunger, and the prospect of a delicious breakfast.
Las Celicias was just a few minutes walk from our apartment. We walked through the interior streets of León until we reached the avenue.
I guess the hunger heightened our sense of direction, because it was super easy to find the place. We liked everything! The decor is a little retro, with pastel colors. A combination of colors that invite you to have a peaceful breakfast – ideal for enjoying the gluten-free delicacies they serve!
Entering on the left-hand side there was a fridge that indicated that it was a bit late. It wasn’t quite full. Even so, we were lucky. There was what we wanted most.
I dare say we both made our choice right after seeing what was in the fridge. Most of the remaining gluten-free cakes had cream or something like that. This got Isa’s attention. She loves cream!
My choice was on the middle shelf, separate from all the others. It looked like I was waiting for it to arrive so I could get the first of the triangles in that icing circle!
Isa asked for a white chocolate mouse with cream and a breakfast-sized latte. On her line!
Although, personally, I prefer salty to sweet for breakfast… I guess from the three and a half years we’ve been apart, it’s already tradition to eat sweet when I’m with Isa. Especially if we go to a bakery! If we’re in a hotel and there’s a salty option, I usually choose it.
Since I went to Santiago de Compostela for the first time, when I was 11 years old, I fell in love with the Tarta de Santiago. As soon as I entered I noticed it, there alone on a corner of the fridge shelf… one of those little triangles was going to be for me. To accompany the cake I ordered a hot chocolate. Very thick!
We sat at one of the tables in the back to plan the rest of the day quietly. We didn’t have time to get to Potes (Cantabria) for lunch time. And we still had a very long list of restaurants that gave us little information. We called the “Nimu” but they were already booked… what a pity!
When they brought us breakfast, accompanied by two cupcakes, we forgot about the food and focused on enjoying those gluten-free cakes. They looked great!
We really enjoyed that breakfast! As we left, we walked quietly to the apartment. Once there, we packed our bags and lay down for a while. From the bed, we googled directly: “gluten-free restaurants in Leon”. As expected, Trip Advisor showed us the “10 best gluten-free restaurants in León”.
We found one that was right next to the apartment. It was perfect! It’s called Be Cook, on Calle Cantareros, 2.
When we entered, we talked to the waitress who attended us and explained our celiac condition. She explained to us that there were some indications in the menu and we sat down. We were the first ones. It was perfect because there would be no risk of cross-contamination in the kitchen. Some of the dishes had a bit strange names, like the appetizer we had: I “juevo con jetchup” (egg with ketchup). For the rest, we took the waitress advice, also trying to adapt to the gluten-free dishes that were more comfortable to prepare for the cook.
They brought us a couple of gluten-free rolls in the baking bag. Unfortunately, they needed a few minutes more in the oven. They were still frozen inside… plus, they didn’t have the ingredients in the bag and Isa preferred not to eat them to avoid scares. She’s allergic to oats. After the aperitif, Isa ate a candied cod belly with pilpil and tapenade sauce. From the look on her face when she ate it, I’d say it was delicious.
I ordered a cow’s entrails. To finish, we ordered a chocolate dessert. I don’t remember its name, but it looked delicious. The taste was delicious.
After lunch, we went back to the apartment to get everything fixed up before we left. Although we didn’t enjoy León as we would have liked, both the gluten-free breakfast at the Las Celicias bakery and the dishes we had at the Be Cook made us leave the city very much wanting to come back.
BY CLICKING ON THE MAP OF GLUTEN FREE RESTAURANTS YOU FILL SEE ALL RESTAURANTS WE DESCRIBED IN THIS POST LOCATED IN THE MAP OF GLUTEN-FREE PLACES:
AND HERE WE LEAVE THE CELIAC TRAVEL CARD IN SPANISH:
P.S.: Please keep in mind that in this blog I share my trips, anecdotes and experiences about gluten free travel around the world. It is possible that, in any of my trips, I go to some restaurant not trained by the associations where the risk of being contaminated with gluten exists. I kindly ask you to also take into account that the list of references can change. Please, always double check before eating in the restaurants we recommend. Thank you very much!
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