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. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. Café Iruña

    $$ | Café

    Pamplona's gentry has been flocking to this ornate, French-style café since 1888, but in 1926 Ernest Hemingway made it part of world literary...Read More

  • 8. Errejota

    $$$$ | Spanish

    Previously called Josetxo, this warm, family-run restaurant in a stately mansion with a classically elegant interior is one of Pamplona's foremost...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. Europa Restaurante

    $$$$ | Spanish

    Pamplona's finest restaurant, in the hotel of the same name, the Europa offers refined, Michelin-starred Navarran cooking with reasonably priced...Read More

  • 11. Kokotxa Restaurante

    $$$$ | Parte Vieja | International

    This simply decorated award-winning restaurant in the heart of the parte vieja hinges on chef Daniel López’s clean, innovative cuisine, which...Read More

  • 12. 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

  • 13. Ni Neu

    $$$ | Gros | Contemporary

    Chef Mikel Gallo's Ni Neu ("Me, Myself" in Euskera), defined by its experimental comfort-food cuisine, occupies a bright corner of Rafael Moneo...Read More

  • 14. Restaurante Portuondo

    $$$$ | Spanish

    Sweeping beach views, aromas of fresh fish cooking over hot coals, a comfortable country dining room—these are just a few of the reasons Portuondo...Read More

  • 15. 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

  • 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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