You have successfully signed up for contest updates.

You have successfully signed up for the newsletter.

Food: The Best Gluten Free Resort in Mexico

Villa Del Palmar Loreto Gluten Free Resort

Traveling with a food allergy is challenging. I am gluten intolerant and my son is allergic to dairy and we have to be very cautious about food when traveling, especially internationally. I tend to be a bit skeptical that the language barrier may hinder complete understanding that I must not eat gluten versus I don’t like gluten. The last thing I want, is to be sick from eating gluten while on vacation.

I haven’t found a gluten free resort yet, but on a recent trip to Villa Del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto, I found the best gluten free pizza and  croissants I’ve ever tried. They also offer gluten free bread, rolls and many other gluten free dishes. The food at Villa Del Palmar was a Celiac gluten free heaven. The three restaurants at Villa Del Palmar offer gluten free dishes and they are very accommodating about customizing dishes to be gluten free.

My first meal at Villa Del Palmar was lunch at Casa Mia, the outdoor restaurant steps from the pool and the beach. They are known for their wood oven pizzas and tacos. I had written off pizza as an option, but to my surprise they offered gluten free pizza. Have you ever had a bite of something that tasted so good you didn’t believe it was gluten free? That was my reaction to the gluten free pizza at Casa Mia. It was the best gluten free crust I’ve ever tasted.

Gluten Free Pizza from Villa Del Palmar Loreto, Mexico

Gluten Free Pizza from Casa Mia

Dinner my first evening at the resort was a buffet on the beach. There were elaborate food stations set up with everything from salmon and chicken on the grill to Executive chef Alfonso Peregrina smoking clams on the beach. In general, eating gluten free in Mexico tends to be fairly easy for me because of the amount of fish and use of corn over wheat flour. For dinner, I stuck to seafood to play it safe. That didn’t mean sacrifice, because there was a ceviche station at the buffet with numerous types of fresh fish along with onion, jalapeno, tomatoes and everything needed to make the dish. Each plate of ceviche was made to order and delicious.

Smoked clams on the beach at villa del palmar loreto, mexico

Smoking the clams for the fiesta on the beach.

The next morning we headed out at the break of dawn for a deep sea fishing excursion. The hotel packed lunch for the group including a gluten free option for me and a dairy free option for my son. When lunchtime rolled around and we unpacked the sandwiches, no one could tell which was gluten free. All but one were wraps. The remaining lunch was a sandwich on what looked like regular bread that looked like foccacia. It wasn’t labeled gluten free and it looked too non-gluten free for me to take a chance.

What I didn’t know quite yet was chef Peregrina has either mastered gluten free baking or brought in the best gluten free baker in Mexico. I learned this later that evening when the waiter sat a dinner roll down on my bread plate and said “a gluten free roll”. That is a treat for anyone avoiding gluten. Dinner rolls are almost never an option dining out.

When I dine at a restaurant, there are constant questions with the waitstaff about what dishes may have ingredients that contain gluten. There is a big difference between not wanting food with gluten and not being able to eat food with gluten. I usually ask “is this gluten free” as I am ordering and confirm when the dish arrives. If you are gluten intolerant or have Celiac disease double checking everything you eat while traveling is probably true for you as well.

Every meal at the resort, when my dish was delivered, the waiter would set it down and say “the gluten free option”. I wish all restaurants would do this! It was a small thing that Villa Del Palmar waiters did, but it made my meals worry free.

The breakfast buffet at the Market Restaurant had many of the usual offerings like fresh fruit, cereals, cheese tray and omelet station. It wasn’t until I walked past the plates of breads and pastries that I notices a gluten free sign on a plate of croissants. I haven’t had a croissant since I started my gluten free diet and they are a food I have missed. I was so excited to spread butter on the gluten free croissant and have a bite (but first, I checked with the staff to verify it was gluten free). Okay, I know I must seem paranoid, but I honestly couldn’t believe there were gluten free croissants!

Gluten Free Croissants from Villa Del Palmar Loreto, Mexico
At Danzante, the fine dining steakhouse and seafood restaurant devoted to fusion cuisine, I was able to enjoy the mango and avocado salad, tortilla soup with vanilla cheese and squash blossom, parrot fish with diablo sauce and desserts like the duo of chocolate mouse served with ice cream, crushed nuts and white and dark chocolate. Chef Peregrina and sous chef Gerardo Garcia Martinez execute delicious dishes for the resort and I didn’t feel like I was deprived or not experiencing the food the rest of the diners could order.

Tortilla soup at Villa Del Palmar Loreto, Mexico

Tortilla soup with vanilla cheese and squash blossom.

Duo of chocolate mouse with crushed peanuts and ice cream from Villa Del Palmar, Loreto, Mexico

Duo of chocolate mouse with crushed peanuts and ice cream.

Another evening we dined at the Market Restaurant and I enjoyed arugula and spinach salad with a mustard dressing topped with grapefruit and candied nuts as well as poblano cream soup with asparagus, filet mignon served with shrimp and for dessert, cheesecake with vanilla ice cream.

Poblano crema soup with asparagus at Villa Del Palmar, Loreto

Poblano crema soup with asparagus.

Arugula and spinach salad with grapefruit, candied nuts and mustard dressing from Villa Del Palmar, Loreto, Mexico

Arugula and spinach salad with grapefruit, candied nuts and mustard dressing.

I have one regret though, which is I wish I ate the sandwich on the fishing trip. I bet it was delicious!

If you are gluten intolerant or living with Celiac disease Villa Del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto should be at the top of your travel list.

My disclaimer: If you have Celiac disease, do your research before you visit. Talk to the chef about possible cross contamination for all dishes including baked goods and pizza.

More Ideas: Food

4 Best Burgers in San Diego
4 Best Burgers in San Diego
The quest for San Diego’s perfect burger has begun! From the casual to the upscale experience, I have rounded up four of my favorite burgers in America’s Finest City.  Hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed eating them. Texas Burge... Read More
Portland’s Best Spots for Brunch
Portland’s Best Spots for Brunch
Many cities pride themselves on a certain regional meal. Philadelphia has cheese steaks; New York has pizza; Seattle has Pan-Pacific fusion. We have brunch.... Read More
San Francisco’s North Beach
San Francisco’s North Beach
I'm conflicted about North Beach, San Francisco's traditionally Italian neighborhood and popular tourist destination. It's where my father grew up and his father before him. My great grandfather, an Italian immigrant and photographer, built both his... Read More
Tasting Tea in Seattle
Tasting Tea in Seattle
"Ahh - Lapsang Souchong," says Brett, an enthusiastic tea salesman at Queen Anne Teacup Tea Market, who relishes my selection of a black Chinese smoked tea. It's a small teahouse situated along Queen Anne Avenue that would probably be mi... Read More
Locals Guide to the Tastes of South Beach
Locals Guide to the Tastes of South Beach
In recent years South Beach has been swamped with media exposure that would have you think that a Bentley, an entourage, a couple of tattoos and a lot of bling are mandatory in order to enjoy South Beach these days. If you stay close to the beach at... Read More
Estiatorio Milos & Knave: A 5 Star Evening in New York
Estiatorio Milos & Knave: A 5 Star Evening in New York
There is something about having a drink or two in one of New York’s hotel bars that can make either an in-house guest or an off-the-street city resident, feel fabulous.   Off the clean and modern lines of Le Parker Meridien’s lobby is the setti... Read More