There are so many places to eat in the Basque Country but today our focus lies on the city of Bilbao and particularly in the Casco Viejo (the old town). Allow us to introduce you to Spain’s food culture here in the North with some of our favorite tapas dishes.
We’ve handpicked a selection of bars from around central Bilbao with a little help from our friends, so you can explore some of the best local spots for yourselves. We’ve suggested a few of the best pintxos available in different bars to help you sample some of Spain’s finest food, but remember these places always have a vast array of tempting bites to discover on your own.
Ongi etorri – Welcome to Bilbao!
PINTXOS TIME (Basque Country Tapas)
C/ Correos 2. Try the express omelet (tortilla express) for breakfast. It’s seriously amazing. Opens at 9.30 https://basterbilbao.wordpress.com/
C/ Santa Maria 10. Open from 12:30pm to midnight. At lunchtime the staff at Gatz prep special pintxos: the beef Tartar is Ana’s favorite (try to be there around 1:30pm as they only prepare a few pintxos and everybody longingly awaits them), Bacalao al PilPil (cod fish with Pil Pil sauce) and in the evening fantastic “tortillas de patata” (Spanish potato omelet with veggies and morcilla/black pudding) Iñaki’s all-time favorite. http://www.bargatz.com/
Calle del Perro 4. “Cazuelitas” – Small pots filled with anything you could want, there’s something for everyone!
Calle Barrenkale. Only on Sundays you can try a prepared cocktail ‘Vermouth preparado’ and the best seafood in the streets of Bilbao.
C/Somera . “Txampis picantes” (or Spicy mushrooms, one of their star tapas dishes).
The “Plaza Nueva” is an emblematic square located not only in the Basque Country, but in all major cities in the rest of Spain. The name may vary depending on where you are: Plaza Mayor in Madrid and Salamanca, Plaza España in Vitoria, Plaza Nueva in Bilbao or Plaza de la Constitución in San Sebastian. Typically, it is a picturesque location situated right in the heart of the town and full of pintxo bars.
Unfortunately in recent years many of these bars have become franchises, no longer displaying local basque cuisine or offering traditional pintxo recipes. We rarely go there as the prices have increased and it is overcrowded. Nonetheless there is still a good selection of places to explore.
Ask the waiter for the warm pintxos “Carrilleras” (for the meat lovers) and order “Foie a la plancha” (grilled Foie) and Rabas (also known as Calamares).
Taste at least one of these 2 warm pintxos: “Pulpo a la brasa” (Grilled Octopus) and “Pintxo Txuleton” (T-Bone).
BILBAO LA VIEJA, THE MOST FASHIONABLE AND TRENDY ZONE TO VISIT
If you want to have a drink, sample wine or hang out, Areatzaga street and its surroundings (including el Muelle Marzana), have become the ultimate Hipster area in Bilbao and probably in all of the Basque Country. Located in the old part of the city, only 10 minutes from the centre. Bilbao La Vieja is an old district with a lot of charm, it offers alternative bars and shops to try out and is a wonderful place to visit.
MUELLE MARZANA 16
A great little spot crossing the Ribera Bridge to stop and enjoy a drink and a good ham “bocadillo” (typical sandwich made with fresh bread). It is a lovely spot during the sunny evenings of Bilbao.
Areatzaga Kalea 6. Is a vintage style place with a great selection of beers and coffees.
EL PESO NETO
San Francisco 1. Another awesome vintage bar serving delicious pintxos. http://www.pesoneto.es
The ‘Land of the Basques projects’ wants our visitors to feel truly at home during their short stay in our hometown of Bilbao. Becoming acquainted with the Basque Country’s Gastronomy is one of the most interesting and enjoyable things to do in Bilbao. Our famous pintxos, amazing little bites of creative dishes, can be eaten almost anywhere in Bilbao.
If you want a guided tour to understand the history and culture of the city, including “Bilbao food tours’ and “how to become a true local ‘bilbaino’”, just let us know! We can organise exclusive tours just for you, catering to all your wishes on your travels. Check out our exclusive bespoke tours – Discovering our cities and villages.
And don’t forget to share all your pintxo pictures from Bilbao with your friends on facebook, twitter and instagram! Each bar in Bilbao has some unique pintxos waiting for you to try.