Travel: Gluten-Free Groningen

On the road again… to the far North! Or Groningen, for that matter. Taking a weekend off for family visits can be stressful, especially when gluten-free diets are involved. Luckily, Groningen seems nicer a city than most when it comes to gluten-free choices. With many different certified gluten-free restaurants, something is always open.

Unfortunately though, the weekend we chose to plan our visit was a holiday weekend, resulting in our first dinner choice being closed. Luckily though, there were many other restaurants open, and we chose De Beren (The Bears). The chain is famous for their unlimited spareribs and burgers. When we asked inside, they showed they were knowledgeable and interested in our situation. We chose a table outside (it was amazing weather) and they answered all of our questions.

One of their perks is a special allergy menu: every item on the menu was dissected into its ingredients and the ingredients were categorized per allergy, neat! Since gluten-free spareribs are hard to come by, the glutard ordered a portion of ribs with garlic butter and two with honey glaze. The waiters were able to let us know immediately that he should choose the rice, since the fries are fried in the same oil as ‘normal’ fries and other fried things, so this gave a reassuring feeling.

Considering the ribs: both were good, but the honey glazed ones were better. The quality of the ribs was ok – meaning they were good, but nothing to necessarily write home about. That said, coming by gluten-free spareribs is so rare, that they were very much appreciated.

The real hero though was the dessert. They served a delicious creme brulee that almost tasted a bit fruity: the cream was amazing. Next time, we’ll go there for desserts all day, the whole day.

I give De Beren 4/5 stars (mostly for not having a more fitting substitute for fries).

On the second day, we went out for gluten-free breakfast. FOR BREAKFAST! We only ever do that in Leiden, because we know the owner of Better Bagels has our back. Not only did we have gluten-free breakfast: we had breakfast in a French-style croissanterie – yeah, exactly. Following our noses, we found Pigalle and were transported to a French, family style bistro on a lazy Sunday morning. It felt like a place people came regularly to enjoy their meals with friends and family. Pigalle

Although we had our doubts about their gluten-free menu, we took the chance and were pleasantly surprised. The glutard ordered a Biarritz sandwich: gluten-free bread with chorizo, tomato, cheese, corn, and chives. The sandwich was good, but they had placed his silverware on a separate plate (I guess for hygiene reasons) but the plate looked riddled with breadcrumbs. Because the plate with the food wasn’t, we weren’t sure where the crumbs came from and decided to re-wash the silverware just in case. Luckily, the food was gluten-free and there were no problems 🙂

Pigalle gets 3/5 stars – although the food was gluten-free was good, we didn’t get the carefree service we always look for.

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