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.


Lastly… dessert.

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! 🙂

Much love,

The Muscle Baker

<3

Free-From Eats: Pane Cioccolate (Marbella)

Pane Cioccolate

Located on: Calle 19A, Marbella📍

Opening Hours: 09:00- 21:30 (Closed Sunday’s).

This chain has two eateries, one situated in Sotogrande and one in San Pedro and after visiting (and loving) the Sotogrande one, we just had to visit their bigger San Pedro one. It’s location can easily go unnoticed which is actually a good thing as it means less people.

Here are the directions as it could very easily go amiss:

– Travel along the AP-7 Autopista del Mediterraneo (if coming from Gib-Marbella direction) and take exit 157 which merges onto the A-7 towards Estepona/ San Pedro Alcantara.

– Take exit 170 towards Gaudalmina, San Pedro de Alcantara and take the 3rd exit once you get to the roundabout.

– At the next roundabout take the 4th exit and follow on until the last roundabout, take the 2nd exit. 

– Continue and turn right onto Calle 18, left onto Calle 19, follow left again and your destination will be on your right. 


The setting is lovely, a little bit of shabby chic meets hipster vibes with blue hues and pastel colours all around and delicate decor in the form of cushions, quotes and cute ornaments.

At first glance the menu is extensive with a wide variety of items, all of which are clearly labelled with intolerances (see below). Unfortunately, the wide variety is narrowed down considerably if you need to avoid dairy, egg and wheat but none-the-less there are a few items as well as off the carte Vegan menu items (which you need to ask for).


My first choice was the Apple Pie Smoothie, I had tried it before and it is my absolute favourite! Made with apples, almond milk, agave, lemon and cinnamon, so simple yet so tasty! Definitely recommend if you like apple/cinnamon flavours, but there is something to suit all tastes.

The most impressive part of the menu was their great selection of toasts combinations, they have a different type of bread depending on what ingredient you would need to avoid which is absolutely awesome! There were combinations for all sorts of diets, whether you wanted eggs, tomato, olive oil or avocado, and if it isn’t on menu they are happy to customise it for you.

After reading the menu several times I decided I wanted bread (there is always time for bread) and decided on a Rye/ Spelt Wheat-Free toast. I really wanted a high protein topping that wasn’t eggs though, so I asked if I could have turkey, they happily noted it down and brought me some delicious chargrilled turkey pieces atop of my toast! A pleasant surprise as I was kinda expecting cheap supermarket cold cuts!

The mains had a little bit to suit anyone and everyone, a selection of salads, wraps, burgers, pastas etc. Perfect if there is a group of people with varying diets and taste preferences which was the case for us. (The boys wanted burgers while the girls wanted salads.)

However, I did find the mains a bit hard to choose, mainly because I’m a fussy eater who has to cater to intolerances which is a double whammy of annoyingness for the poor waiters/ waitresses *hides face*

I decided to opt for the ‘Nicky’ salad which is comprised of salad greens, cherry toms, walnuts, chicken breast and a balsamic glaze. (It also contains Parmesan but I had to omit that.)

The other half decided to go for the burger which came in a seedy bun filled with salad greens and a fried quail egg.

Other meals that were ordered were Goats cheese salad and a spaghetti pasta dish, everyone seemed satisfied and happy with their meals (with space left for dessert).


Now, I’m going to be completely honest here… The dessert was the most disappointing part for me because I never got to have any! 😩

All the cakes contained some form of gluten, wheat, dairy or egg and when asked if there was any Vegan desserts available, the waitress offered me a cake but wasn’t too convinced herself about the contents which didn’t inspire much confidence. (And then i asked the guy waiter and he thought i asked for Veal!) lol

Thing is, yes there was some Vegan items, yes there was some gluten-free items (which is great)… But no crossover treats catering to an all in one.

Watching everyone eat delicious Banoffee cake isn’t fun when it looks this incredible 👉🏻

Having said that, i would still go again (maybe prompt them beforehand to make sure there is Vegan cake available) 😛


 

Price: 😅 | Location: 😄 | Service: 😊 | Food: 😄

Would recommend for mixed groups as they cater to all sorts of diets, perfect for breakfasts, smoothies and non-vegan cakes. This place is also child-friendly and has sweets, cookies etc that children would prefer to eat. Overall prices are decent, smoothies at €5, salads around 10€, just don’t be too frivolous ordering drinks as they do add up! 

Caters to Gluten-Free/ Wheat-Free/ Vegan/ Vegetarian diets.

 


 

The first in our series of #EatsFreeFrom as we travel around taste testing all the delicious (free-from) foods for you!

 


 

 

Any requests? Let us know! 🙂

 

Much love,

 

The Muscle Baker

<3