This guide will provide guidance to eating out in Mallorca with food allergies in 2023 if you are planning to visit Mallorca on holiday or hoping to come to the island to live.
If you suffer from a food allergy, eating out can be problematic. But eating out in a foreign country where maybe you don’t speak the language can be even more worrying.
In this guide, I will cover how to find out if a restaurant can cater for your allergy, and what you need to ask.
I’ll also give tips on communicating with restaurant staff to help double-check they understand your allergy.
So why do I know so much about this subject? One of my best friends has a daughter with a severe nut allergy, so when we go out for lunch or even ice cream, I have seen how she copes with eating out in Mallorca with food allergies.
As a result, I have researched further into this subject and pulled together all the information you need to know to ensure you can eat confidently while on holiday.
However, don’t forget that this article is just a guide and by no means a guarantee of eating anywhere with a food allergy.
So please do your own research before eating out with a food allergy in Mallorca.
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What is it like eating out in Mallorca with food allergies?
Well, firstly I should say eating out in Mallorca with a food allergy, in theory, is better than it ever has been.
Since 2014, anywhere serving food to the public, so restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels and even ice cream shops must be able to provide allergen information on non-prepacked food.
This isn’t limited to Spain, but the entire European Union.
You can see here that there are 14 food allergens that have been identified in Spain from this image taken from foodallergy.org and products containing these allergens must be labelled.
This means that any customer should get complete clarity with regard to food allergens served in the establishment.
Food allergies in Spain have to be taken seriously and the restaurant has to be able to provide this information in a written format when asked.
However, from experience, and it’s sad to say, not every restaurant does.
Why eating out with food allergies on holiday is more dangerous
Eating out anywhere with food groups isn’t easy, but it is even more problematic when on holiday.
Holidaying anywhere that has seasonal resorts (and restaurants) means that the turnover of staff year after year is high.
Please be aware that many restaurants in hotels and in many resorts change their chefs every season.
Often chefs are recruited in haste, and we all know about the shortage of trained staff last Summer.
So if you have visited Mallorca with a food allergy in previous years, and return to a restaurant where you had a positive experience, then when you do visit, take the same precautions as if you were visiting for the very first time, because that chef could be new.
Warning – Eating out in Mallorca with a food allergy?
If the restaurant or hotel does not run a year-round kitchen, then bear in mind that the chef for the season may not take food allergies as seriously as maybe the chef before.
So my advice will be to treat any restaurant mentioned in this article or on the Facebook forums as being a restaurant with a new chef who may or may not treat food allergies seriously.
Restaurants in Mallorca may confuse food intolerances with food allergies which could potentially kill. Make sure they know the difference.
How to tell a restaurant about a food allergy in Spain?
Most restaurant staff in the main resorts in Mallorca speak English in Mallorca, so being able to tell the restaurant about your food allergy should be simple.
If you want to find out about where the main resorts are in Mallorca, please check out this article here.
Tell the waiting staff, but also ask to speak to the manager and the chef if a food allergy is severe. Ideally, call ahead of making the booking and have an initial conversation by phone.
Ask how the food is prepared, where the food comes from, and how they can ensure it hasn’t come into contact with any allergens. Do the same as you would do at home.
If you are uncertain how to tell the restaurant then AllergyUK has fantastic flash cards which are available in 35 languages covering 150 allergens to help communicate allergies to restaurant staff.
You can order these translation cards here, but please allow at least 2 weeks (in the UK) to order before travelling.
There are further fantastic tips about travelling with a food allergy here.
How to eat out with a severe food allergy in Mallorca
Eating out in Mallorca with a severe food allergy such as a nut allergy is no different from eating out with a food allergy in your home town.
You must do your own research. Of course, there will be restaurant recommendations online but do make your own checks before eating anywhere.
Beware of non-prepackaged foods.
Be especially careful of the Menu del Día (a special offer for lunch often consisting of a starter, main course and dessert for one price) as this may have been created that day and written out on a piece of paper, maybe without much consideration or reference to allergies.
Avoid ice cream parlours where the same spoon is used to scoop ice cream, even if it is dipped in water.
If you do not speak Spanish and restaurant staff don’t speak English, then use the Google Translate App which you can download here to communicate.
Also, use the translation cards that you can buy from AllergyUK here.
Ultimately though, while restaurants are supposed to cater for customers with food allergies if you do not feel like this issue is being taken seriously, or the staff are being dismissive, then do not be afraid to walk away. Use your gut instinct on this one.
If you do find a really great restaurant that caters for food allergies in Mallorca, then don’t hesitate to recommend them on the Mallorca Under the Sun Facebook Group and let other visitors know.
How to identify allergens in food in Spain
You can see that food labelling by law is very clear. You can see the allergens have been indicated in bold so you can clearly identify whether or not you can buy the food or not.
See the picture below of a packet of biscuits from Mercadona. You can see the allergens clearly highlighted in bold and of course cross-checking with a translation app will help to identify what can or can’t be eaten.
Bear in mind that for nut allergies, the words nueces, cacahuetes and frutos de cascara can all mean the food contains nuts.
Labelling can also say, “puede contener trazas de….” or “it can contain traces of…..”
Take note of this sentence so you can avoid buying the food and therefore playing Russian roulette with your or your child’s health.
If you have no choice but to eat a product that may contain traces of an allergen, make sure you have your EpiPen with you and you are within close proximity to a hospital.
If you are coming from the UK and you are registered to receive alerts for foods which have been recalled because of an allergen mix-up, then you may wish to shop at an English Supermarket in Mallorca, so you can keep a check of the food you are buying.
The biggest British supermarket in Mallorca is Nice Price in Puerto Portals in Calvia (near Palmanova). Unfortunately, the Little Britain supermarket in Alcudia has permanently closed.
You will also find some British food products in Euroski and Carrefour supermarkets too. Although always check the product food labels before buying.
What to do if you get an allergic food reaction in Spain?
The emergency protocol for you or your child having an allergic reaction when eating out on holiday in Spain is as follows.
The first thing to do is use the EpiPen and then call the emergency services on 112, ask for an ambulance (ambulancia) quoting “anaphylaxis“.
Always take note of where your nearest hospital is too if you are going out for the day and also where it is in relation to where you are staying.
Where to find further travel tips for eating out in Spain with food allergies
As I have mentioned, FoodAllergy UK is a great resource in terms of getting information about food allergies and travelling with a food allergy. Visit their website here.
In the USA, you can also download this PDF from the foodallergy.org for extra tips for eating out in Spain with food allergies.
I would also love to know your recommendations for any really good restaurants that you have visited that take eating out in Mallorca with food allergies seriously, and where others can maybe visit as a starting point on their Mallorca food journey.
Please also let me know of your experience of eating out in Mallorca with a food allergy in the comments below.
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