Free-From Eats: Gioia (Marbella)
Gioia Plant Based Cuisine
Located on: Avda Bulevar Principe Alfonso, Marbella📍
Opening Hours: 13:00- 23:00 (Closed Sunday’s).
I stumbled upon this place after a friend from Marbella posted up some pics after a visit there. At first glance I thought it was going to be a fancy gourmet vegan restaurant, but boy was I wrong and for all the right reasons!
The location is easy to get to and impossible to miss. Take the first right after Guadalpin Suites (opposite Opera Room club) and you’ll see it. Parking may be a little hard but you can park along the front of the hotel anyway.
The setting is simple and quaint, modern with vintage tones. We chose to sit inside as it was a bit chilly, and the sun was no longer shining over it (approx 4pm). Perhaps at breakfast or brunch would be better for outside seating, at least now that winter is coming.
The menu was simple, several choices for starters, mains, desserts, smoothies, teas and wines. However, you could tell the choices had been carefully thought out, using a variety of wonderful ingredients.
Our first choices were of course the smoothies. There were 8 to choose from, 5 of which were fresh juices and the remaining 3 were labelled as smoothies: Classic Green, Summer Breeze, Ruby Tuesday, abc, Banana Cacao, Dreamy Chai and Blueberry Bee all priced at 6eur. I went straight for the Dreamy Chai and my friend chose the Blueberry Bee.
Needless to say they were both delicious, the Dreamy Chai was exactly that… DREAMY. I tend to love cinnamon/ spiced foods/ drinks and this was exactly that! The Blueberry Bee was smoother and fruitier, topped with bee pollen and also really tasty. They are all made with almond milk as the base and sweetened with agave or dates and have added (awesome) hidden ingredients such as maca powder and hemp seed.
We shared a starter dish: Baba Ganoush, which came with homemade raw crackers and Kalamata olives. The crackers were absolutely delicious and were not dry which tends to happen when foods are made in dehydrator. I polished off the olives (standard) and my friend enjoyed the baba ganoush. Thumbs up so far.
Starter prices range from 5eur to the most expensive choices at 8eur which are mushroom carpaccio and mock sushi.
Onto the mains:
The mains (as usual) is always the hardest, a fussy eater with intolerances is not fun at all and after eyeing up the Mexican Salad which came with guacamole & pico de gallo I decided to break away from my default (safe) salad choice and managed to mix and match the bean burger with gluten-free bread which the owner happily changed for me. (Major bonus points). My friend chose the raw Zucchini Lasagna because she is way less fussy than i am 😝
What convinced me the most about the burger was that it came with homemade condiments: cashew mayo and sundried tomato ketchup. I was really curious about tasting them and also majorly excited about not having to choose salad for once. Bean burger came sandwiched between 2 slices of Gluten-Free bread (buckwheat or spelt options) was coated in sesame seeds and pan fried, with a side of mixed greens and red peppers.
Can honestly say it is one of the most delicious Vegan burgers I have tried to date, (best one was at Teresa Carles in Barcelona) but this coming a very close second. The texture was soft, which is standard for Vegan burgers, yet the sesame coating gave it a slight crunch which really complimented it. Even the mixed greens were really tasty, topped with a light dressing and pumpkin seeds. For someone who usually drowns her salads in vinegar, and didn’t this time… This is monumental 😂
My friends Raw Zucchini Lasagna came layered with spicy marinara, cashew ricotta and brazil nut/ pine nut pesto and she absolutely loved it too. Simple, tasty and really filling.
There is always room for dessert.
By this point we were REALLY full, but I had travelled all the way there… I wasn’t about to leave without dessert! Luckily they sell bitesize treats such as truffles and cookies which were perfect to satisfy the sweet tooth without them sitting too heavy on the stomach.
I chose the raw White Choc and Raspberry Truffle and my friend chose a Chocolate Cookie which we accompanied with some tea and coffee. I tried both and they were delicious, the truffle mostly tasted of coconut butter, with a melt in your mouth texture while the cookie was crunchy yet chewy and had a rich taste of cocoa.
Price: 😄 | Location: 😄 | Service: 😍 | Food: 😍
In all honesty the place is faultless, the price was very reasonable (we paid 30eur each and literally had one of everything), the service was wonderful, the owner who was the one who served us was happy to amend my meals without hesitation, the decor was pleasing and most importantly… the food was incredible. Bearing in mind i occasionally eat chicken and consider myself a Flexitarian rather than a Vegan, so for me to say that the burger was better than any normal burger i have tried… really does say a lot!
The location is perfect too, not too busy with hustle and bustle and you can enjoy a nice walk around the area after your meal. Perhaps during busy periods not so child friendly due to it being next to a road but, at the time we went it was really peaceful and quiet so depends at what time you go (and how naughty your kids may be) 😛
Caters to Gluten-Free/ Wheat-Free/ Vegan/ Vegetarian diets.
Tip: For anyone counting calories/ macros etc my advise would be to log in similar counterparts to what you are eating and be mindful about it. Eg. bean burger isn’t hard to find on MFP, and it is very unlikely that there is a vast difference in macros. Trust me, at some point, someone has logged in something similar in MFP, a quick search and you’re good! If at the very least, for peace of mind.
Another from our series of #EatsFreeFrom as we travel around taste testing all the delicious (free-from) foods for you!
Any requests? Let us know! 🙂
The Muscle Baker