If you’ve been reading my gluten free Portugal guide, you’ll know how incredible my stay at the Hotel Falesia was (possibly even the best gluten free hotel in Portugal). This is information for those wanting to know a little more about the breakfast and dinner options on offer whilst here as a Coeliac, or anybody for that matter!
On the first day, I was panicked looking at the buffet-style food as this is normally a pretty dangerous place for Coeliacs, however, it seemed like ALL staff had been informed of my dietary requirements before I even arrived at the restaurant. As soon as I walked in, the head waiter said ‘Ah gluten free!’ when he saw me, and I felt so safe (and kinda special too – in a good way). He escorted me to the head chef and she looked at all of the hot breakfast items and sort of scowled. After a bit of Portuguese communication that I couldn’t quite comprehend, the head waiter explained that the pre-cooked hot food at breakfast wasn’t suitable for my allergy. So it’s fruit, bread and yoghurt for me every day then I guess, is what I thought to myself.
But, he then made my whole holiday when he said that any items I wanted could be cooked fresh and separately in the kitchen to avoid cross-contamination. I was blown away! So most mornings I went for bacon (which was more like thin slices of Parma ham!) and eggs in varied forms, along with gluten free bread. This unfortunately did break apart quite easily, but I felt honoured to have it so readily available for me. I also had the fresh fruit and different herbal teas every day!
Oh how I miss dinners at the Falesia already. Again, in a buffet style but this time the head chef guided me through everything suitable for Coeliacs on offer instead. Before my main course every night, it almost became a ritual to compose a delicious salad and top it with Parmesan, which was perfect after being in the sun all day!
Like this one with red pepper, green pepper, shredded carrot, mixed salad leaves, tomatoes, cucumber, freshly sliced pork loin AND MANGO SUSHI. I was so surprised when I saw the chef making this as I’d never seen mango in sushi before, of course I gave it a go and it was extremely refreshing and different! Another evening, I put together a salad with Parma ham (my favourite!), cucumber, salad leaves, green pepper, shredded carrot and tomatoes.
There was an unbelievable selection on offer that changed daily for main courses. I literally took a photo of each dish but I thought I would choose my two of my favourite dishes to share. One was homemade potato wedges (cooked in the oven to avoid any nasty cross-contamination), fresh green beans and baby carrots, grilled pork steak and a fresh sardine. Which, for anyone who knows me pretty well, is a BIG risk. I’m not the biggest fish eater but I wanted to try it and was pleasantly surprised at how yummy it was – especially with their homemade ‘special’ garlic sauce they topped it with!
My other favourite dish is displayed above. Homemade roast potatoes with herbs and seasoning, butter rice, ratatouille vegetables, fresh green beans and the most delicious ‘thing’ ever. It didn’t really have a name as such but because it had cheese on top and seemed like aubergine around the side, I obviously put it on my plate. To my surprise, when I tried it, I was so happy when I cut into it and it was full of a creamy, bechamel-like sauce. Completely gluten free and vegetarian!
Now for the adorable and accommodating part of dinners at the hotel (as if it wasn’t already). Half-way through the holiday, after multiple evenings of the chef giving a ‘thumbs-up’ for the pasta sauces but not the pasta, I thought it was worth asking if they had any gluten free pasta. The waiter came back with a glum look on his face and explained that they didn’t have it on offer for me. However the next evening without even asking or hinting, the head chef, whilst giving his daily ‘yes’, ‘no’ routine, asked me if I wanted gluten free pasta?! So my last two evenings at the hotel consisted of freshly-cooked, safe pasta.
One evening I ate it with a simple tomato and herb sauce topped with helpings of Parmesan, the other was with my favourite pasta sauce – Carbonara!
Desserts were, as expected, a bit more limited so I just stuck to fresh fruit but this was just right after all of that!
If staying in the Albufeira area as a Coeliac, I definitely recommend staying at Hotel Falesia without a doubt. Or if you’re anybody for that matter as all of my family said it was one of the nicest hotels with excellent service.
One to remember for sure.
To go back to my Gluten Free Guide to Portugal, click here.