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. Arzak

    $$$$ | Alto de Miracruz | Spanish

    One of the world's great culinary meccas, award-winning Arzak embodies the prestige, novelty, and science-driven creativity of the Basque culinary...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. El Portalón

    $$$$ | Spanish

    With dark, creaky wood floors and staircases, bare brick walls, and ancient beams, pillars, and coats of arms, this 15th-century inn turns out...Read More

  • 4. Etxebarri

    $$$$ | Spanish

    Of all the three-Michelin-star outposts in the Basque Country, Victor Arguinzoniz's Etxebarri may be the most exclusive, since it only opens...Read More

  • 5. Martín Berasategui

    $$$$ | Lasarte | Contemporary

    Basque chef Martín Berasategui has more Michelin stars than any other chef in Spain, and at his flagship in the dewy village of Lasarte–Oria...Read More

  • 6. Terete

    $$$$ | Spanish

    A perennial local favorite, this rustic spot has been roasting lamb in wood ovens since 1877 and serves a hearty menestra de verduras (vegetables...Read More

  • 7. 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

  • 8. Alameda

    $$$$ | Spanish

    The three Txapartegi brothers—Mikel, Kepa, and Gorka—are the star chefs behind this restaurant, which opened in 1997 after the brothers'...Read More

  • 9. 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

  • 10. 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

  • 11. Cachetero Comidas

    $$$$ | Spanish

    A Calle del Laurel standby, this refined taberna with wood-paneled walls serves Riojan specialties like cochinillo asado (roast suckling pig...Read More

  • 12. 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

  • 13. Mugaritz

    $$$$ | Spanish

    This bucolic farmhouse in the hills above Errenteria, 8 km (5 miles) northeast of San Sebastián, is a veritable laboratory of modern cooking...Read More

  • 14. Zaldiarán

    $$$$ | Contemporary

    There's some tacky plating—think sorbet served in martini glasses— but worthwhile are the contemporary interpretations of classics, such as...Read More

  • 15. Zuberoa

    $$$$ | Spanish

    This is the kind of restaurant where the chef greets every table and meals start with an amuse-bouche of foie gras—in other words, it's an old...Read More

  • 16. 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

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