Cuenca: the best gluten-free restaurants between Huécar and Júcar
Oh Cuenca… so far it seems and how close it is. Just at two hours by car from Madrid, and five from Barcelona, Cuenca is a perfect place to spend a weekend. In fact in a weekend you do not visit all its spots. It is impossible! Also, I still could not go to all the gluten free restaurants there, so I’ll be back for sure! Next time on Easter, to see the processions!
We arrived at our hotel, Posada de San Martín on Calle Alfonso VIII no. 39, around seven in the afternoon. Last two times I was in Cuenca I slept there. I like it a lot because it is right next to the Plaza Mayor and, from the room, you have views of the Hoz del Huecar. Also, in summer the temperature in the room is very good and, in winter, the heating guarantees a nice temperature. After giving us a well-deserved rest, we went to the restaurant El Secreto, on calle Alfonso VIII nº 81. It is a small restaurant that also offers views of the Hoz del Huecar. Being at night, we could see the Cerro del Socorro illuminated.
As we sat down at the table, there was already a plate of garlic butter and bread. As it contained gluten, we left it at the table next to us and, upon requesting the menu, we informed them that we were celiac so they had time to prepare the gluten free bread in the oven. As you see in the photo above, the 14 allergens are well indicated, so you will have no problem identifying which dishes you can eat. This time, we first ordered a terrine of foie with cream of figs and PX sauce. It was delicious! Also, they quickly brought us a small jar of garlic butter to give it a try.
As a main course, Isabel ordered for some lamb chops glazed over a bed of baked potatoes that were to really good too. I ordered duck with nuts which was also delicious. The strong flavor of the duck and the sweet of the raisins and the sauce gave a very interesting contrast. When we finished, we went for a walk to see the main square and the cathedral at night and returned to the hotel.
The next day woke up at a reasonable hour and, after having breakfast – zebra cake (dark and white chocolate), we took the car from Mangana Parking and went to visit the Enchanted City. As it is quite difficult to park in Cuenca, just for your information, this parking is about 200m from the Posada de San Martín and, if you make a voucher, it is very well priced. We arrived after 1h driving and, before buying the ticket, they informed us that for a single euro more we could take a guided tour through the Enchantet City with some explanations of the legends and ancient anecdotes from each part of that area.
It was a good decision to visit the city with a guide. It took an hour and a half to visit the city and Elena (or Helena, I do not know how she writes her name) made it very enjoyable. In addition, we discovered another form that they had not seen before: a hippopotamus very close to the figure of the turtle stone! Some figures were very easy to see and others not so much… but hey, we had a good time letting the imagination fly and trying to guess what each rock looked like. In fact, it was like looking at clouds of another color. For Isabel, the best part was “El Mar de Piedra”. For me, I’d say “El Tobogán” (The Toboggan).
We finished our visit at lunch time. Even though we wanted to eat in the Hotel-Restaurant that was just in front of the entrance to the Enchanted City, as beforehand we tried to contact them a couple of times to ask if they could serve us a gluten free meal and we did never get an answer, we decided to go back to Cuenca. We had booked a table at the Posada de San José at two in the afternoon. This restaurant is located in nº 4 of the Ronda Julián Romero, in a very old house that also offers views of the Hoz del Huecar.
We arrived at the restaurant really thirsty and hungry… as usual! The menu clearly showed the 14 allergens but, this time, was not difficult at all for us to decide what to order: first of all, a bottle of water! And as a starter we would share a table of Iberian cold cuts. That was a great assortment of loin, sausage and chorizo! Though we would have preferred another kind of gluten free bread, they only had toasts and crackers… not the best bread to enjoy those cold-cuts… but nothing to blame them for, since at least they have something for us!
As a main course, Isabel ordered an Iberian pork tenderloin with red wine reduction, Iberian potato and sauteed mushrooms which was really good. That meat was so tender that you didn’t even have to chew it! I ordered the fried suckling lamb chops with tender garlic and accompanied with home fries. I would have really liked to try “Morteruelo”, but was not possible! This time we did not have dessert… we were fine with what we ate!
We leave the restaurant with the dilemma of going to the room to rest for a while and wait for it to become less hot or if going directly to the “Ruta de las Caras (Route of the Faces) next to Buendia’s reservoir. We had to go to the car anyway because we had forgotten the keys there and, as we were going down from the restaurant to the Parking, we deviated a little towards the Bridge of San Pablo to see the Hanging Houses. It was already 4 o’clock in the afternoon and we were really aware that if we would go to the room we would never go to Buendia.
So… since we had to go to the car and we were thirsty, we decided to go straight to the Route of the Faces making a stop in the Mercadona supermarket to buy some ice cream. We ended up with a box of 18 mini ice cream… When we finished the second bag we decided to stop… We arrived at the reservoir of Buendia after an hour driving through the fields of Castilla La Mancha. There we left the car and walked for almost an hour seeing the different sculptures and reliefs carved on the sandstone rocks. If you go in the summer, I recommend that you take the swimsuit and get close to the lake to refresh… it was way too hot!
At the end of the route, we drove back to Cuenca to go to the hotel to refresh ourselves, and then to the Restaurant RAFF, which was once the “Horno de las Campanas” (Oven of the Bells) in the Hotel Leonor de Aquitania. We went to book a table right after lunch and we informed them that we are both celiac. The maitre told us not to worry, that there was no problem… when we checked the menu at night, we looked for the allergens indications. In this restaurant it was indicated by numbers and, number 4, corresponds to the dishes that contain gluten. To our surprise, the number 4 was on most dishes.
After checking all the menu, we talked to the waitress and told her that our choice was very reduced as almost all dishes contained gluten. After a while, the maitre came and after explaining that they could adapt some dishes, since he “believed” that the ingredients had no gluten, we decided to stay. After so many “I would say you can eat it”, we decided to go for a safe choice and we made dinner with a couple of bread bars to accompany an assortment of cheeses, a plate of Iberian ham and a carpaccio. We did not have a bad dinner, but it was not what we expected after the response we had been given when we went to book the table.
After dinner, we went for a drink to La Grotte del Huécar, right next to the Teatro Auditorio. This restaurant-terrace-bar is a great place to hang out as it is located inside a natural cave, where they have accommodated three stories respecting the shapes of the rock. In addition, with the colored lights that illuminate the walls they give it a very modern look. I do not know if they can serve gluten-free food, but it would be great to be able to eat there to continue with the night in that awesome place.
We went to sleep quite late, so that the next day we checked out the latest possible. After leaving the room, we went to get the car and headed straight for Palomera, a town that is on the banks of the Huécar River. There you will find a great restaurant called La Noguera, where we eat very well. To finish the weekend, we ordered a sirloin (very very tender) grilled with fried potatoes and eggs. And for dessert, watermelon for Isabel and for me an ice cream of cream and chocolate. A simple and good meal to end a gastronomic weekend in one of the most known cities of Castilla la Mancha.
Next stop, Zaragoza!
You can see the pictures of the trip here.
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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