Bilbao and the Basque Country Restaurants

Foodies may never want to leave the Basque Country, where the avant-garde and home cooking mingle seamlessly. Though top restaurants are expensive in Bilbao, some of what is undoubtedly Europe's finest cuisine is served here in settings that range from the traditional hewn beams and stone walls to sleekly contemporary international restaurants all the way up to the Guggenheim itself, where superstar chef Martín Berasategui runs a dining room as superb as its habitat. San Sebastián is another enclave of delicious food, where sampling from pintxos bars is an art form.

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  • 1. Café Iruña

    $$ | El Ensanche | Café

    This essential Bilbao haunt (est. 1903) on El Ensanche's most popular garden and square is a favorite for its interior design, boisterous ambience...Read More

  • 2. Casa Rufo

    $$$ | El Ensanche | Spanish

    Charming and cozy, this centenarian Bilbao institution is essentially a series of nooks and crannies tucked into a fine food, wine, olive oil...Read More

  • 3. La Viña del Ensanche

    $$$ | El Ensanche | Spanish

    Littered with used napkins and furnished with simple wood tables beneath jamones ibéricos hanging from the rafters, this lively, deceptively...Read More

  • 4. Aizian

    $$$$ | El Ensanche | Spanish

    Chef José Miguel Olazabalaga's Aizian is anything but a "hotel restaurant," even if it's situated inside the Meliá Bilbao. Sure, his dishes...Read More

  • 5. Arriaga

    $$$ | Casco Viejo | Spanish

    The sagardotegi experience is a must in the Basque Country, but if you can't swing a trip to one of the huge cider houses in the countryside...Read More

  • 6. Asador Guetaria

    $$$$ | El Ensanche | Spanish

    With a wood-paneled dining room decorated with antiques, this family operation is a longtime local favorite for top-quality fish and meats cooked...Read More

  • 7. Azurmendi

    $$$$ | Spanish

    This award-winning, highly ranked restaurant, a 10-minute drive from town, is constantly lauded for its envelope-pushing cuisine and industry...Read More

  • 8. Berton Bukoi

    $$ | Casco Viejo | Spanish

    Dinner is served until midnight in this sleek yet casual pintxo spot in the casco viejo. The industrial design—think wood tables with a green...Read More

  • 9. Etxanobe

    $$$$ | El Ensanche | Spanish

    This legendary nueva cocina vasca restaurant relocated to a larger space in 2018 to accommodate two distinct concepts, La Despensa del Etxanobe...Read More

  • 10. Gure Kabi

    $$$ | El Ensanche | Spanish

    This family-friendly restaurant off the tourist track serves a wide range of unfussy, lovingly prepared dishes ranging from creamy squid croquetas...Read More

  • 11. Jolastoki

    $$$$ | Neguri | Spanish

    If you find yourself in Getxo, the beach town north of Bilbao where the Puente de Vizcaya is located, treat yourself to a meal at this graceful...Read More

  • 12. La Ribera

    $$$ | Casco Viejo | Spanish

    Make a beeline to this gastro bar on the ground floor of the eponymous Mercado to satisfy your Basque food cravings after ogling all the shimmering...Read More

  • 13. Txiriboga

    $ | Casco Viejo | Spanish

    Locals flock to this hole-in-the-wall for what might be the city's best croquetas—choose from jamón, chicken, bacalao, or wild mushroom. The...Read More

  • 14. Xukela

    $$ | Casco Viejo | Spanish

    The main draw at this tavern is the pintxos–-imaginative, internationally inflected bites ranging from smoked Cantabrian anchovies to mushroom...Read More

  • 15. Arbolagaña

    $$$$ | El Ensanche | Contemporary

    On the top floor of the Museo de Bellas Artes, this elegant space has bay windows overlooking the lush Parque de Doña Casilda. A devotee of...Read More

  • 16. Kiskia

    $$$$ | San Mamés | Spanish

    A modern take on the traditional sidrería, this rambling tavern near the San Mamés soccer stadium serves the classic menu of chorizo sausage...Read More

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