TGI FRIDAY’S: a restaurant where it is always Friday!
The first time I went to this restaurant was in Glasgow, when in 2012 I made the road trip that we have shared over the past weeks. At that time, they did not have gluten-free bread and the gluten-free menu was a kind of homemade paper. A long time has passed and things have improved a lot on behalf to celiac disease. And in this restaurant too!
In 2013, I discovered that there was one in Madrid, but then they did not have a gluten-free menu. I needed to go back to England so I could have a hamburger like that again! And my new job gave me this opportunity… Last year, I made a flash trip to Manchester and, I took the opportunity to have dinner there. I was surprised at the change they had made in the gluten free menu and the wide offer they had compared to the last time I had been in that restaurant chain, in Edinburgh. I was amazed! And if that was not enough, when I returned, I looked again at the one in Madrid and they already had a gluten-free menu. It was great because that would be a good excuse to leave Alcalá de Henares and go and try it with Isabel!
Both those I knew in the UK and the one in Madrid’s Gran Vía are decorated in the same style: all very American, but with a decoration very different other American restaurants like Tommy Mel’s! Wood furnitures, movie posters, rock music, low light, a Harley Davidson at the entrance… all very cool!
As soon as you enter the restaurant they ask you if you have any allergies or intolerances. Since I have both, I always smile and I say: “Gluten and Lactose”. This is one of the things that surprised me the last time I went: they had a menu that grouped gluten-free dishes and lactose-free dishes! The lactose free, obviously, could be prepared without gluten as well. First problem solved!
In the gluten-free menu you will find about 20 dishes: from starters such as nachos or roasted potatoes with bacon; going through 5 types of steaks with different sauces and accompaniments; chicken; sandwiches; pork ribs with barbecue sauce; 4 types of hamburger; and a dessert. In the menu without lactose you will also find pasta, among other different dishes.
Something that I also liked very much is that the person in charge of the dining room came to explain me how they prepared the gluten free food and all the measures they took to avoid cross contamination.
Once everything was clear, I decided to start with roasted potatoes with bacon and sour sauce. They looked delicious! For you to get used to the idea, it was not a whole potato, but an emptied one filled with bacon and topped with the sauce.
As main, I ordered a hamburger. I wanted to taste that gluten-free bread! Although it did not surprise me very much, unfortunately the bread didn’t honor the quality of the rest of the meal. It was small and a little hard. Giving a gluten-free bread that everyone likes is very complicated… so do not take it as it is bad. I only share my opinion! In fact, I do not know what hamburger bread I prefer… McDonalds is a bit choking but it’s pretty good. Another one that I also like very much is the one served at La Sandvitxeria in Sabadell. What gluten free bun do you prefer? Share it by leaving a comment with your favorite hamburger bun!
That time I did not get any dessert, but in the gluten free menu of the UK chain you will find the Pop Corn Sundae: it is a glass of ice cream with some scoops of vanilla ice cream dressed with a caramel cream, popcorn and cream on top. That’s a dessert! When I go there with Isa, we’ll try it for sure.
In the UK, you will find a TGI Friday’s in: Aberdeen, Basildon, Bath, Birmingham, Bluewater, Bournemouth, Bracknell, Braehead, Braintree, Brighton, Cabot Circus, Cardiff, Castleford, Cheadle, Cheltenham, Chesire, Coventry, Crawley, Cribbs Causeway, Croydon, Derby, Edinburgh, Enfield, Fareham, Ford Kinnaird, Gateshead, Glasgow, Gloucester, Gilford, Halifax, High Wycombe, Jersey, Kingston, Lakeside, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Milton, Newcastle, Newport, Northampton, Norwich, Nottingham, Poole, Prestwich, Reading, Sale, Sheffield, Silverburn, Solihull, Southampton, Staines, Stevenage, Stoke on Trend, Stratford, Sutton Coldfield, Swansea, Teesside, Telford, Trafford, Walsall, Watford and Wembley.
As for TGI Friday’s in Madrid, the options are a little smaller. In the gluten-free menu they will give you, you will find 7 dishes – divided in three starters and four main courses – and 2 desserts.
As always, we ask for everything to share. To start, we tried the Chicken Buffalo Wings: some chicken wings marinated in barbecue sauce and accompanied by another blue cheese sauce. A weird mix, but we wanted to try it.
To be fair, it was not what we really expected, since the sauce with which the wings were marinated was not at all like barbecue sauce. It was quite spicy and did not have the dark red or garnet color typical of barbecue sauce. At least it’s not the same one they serve at Foster’s Hollywood, Tommy Mel’s or the Más que Bocados Sin Gluten.
For a second we ordered the BBQ RIPS, a pork ribs with barbecue sauce and chips. The meat was delicious. It was very tender. But, again, the barbecue sauce was not like the one we know. This time it was like a mixture of ketchup and fried tomato. It was a bit weird, but we did not leave anything on the plate, that’s the important thing!
For dessert there were two options: a Vanilla Honey Caramel Ice Cream tub from Ben & Jerry’s or a Chunky Monkey Ice Cream. We could only share the first, since I’m allergic to banana and the Chunky Monkey is a choco and banana ice cream… so we asked that one too to share. Very good!
Surely, in a future we will go back to one in Spain to see if there are more options without gluten and if they have brought the Pop Corn Sundae and thus we do not have to go to the UK to enjoy it!
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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