It is said Basques live for cooking and eating. And yeah, its true. Our passion for food has no limits and it is evident in nearly all the city’s restaurants and bars.
From delectable bite-sized pintxos to outstanding restaurants that have been awarded a Michelin star, gastronomy is certainly an art in Bilbao. Experiencing the Txikiteo ritual (going from bar to bar drinking small glasses of wine) is an absolute must in the most cosmopolitan city of the Basque Country.
Both San Sebastián and Bilbao are famous for their mouthfuls of pleasure: pintxos, the basque refinement of spanish tapa. These tiny temptations truly represent the essence of Basque cooking.
Here, in the northern Spain, pintxos are elevated to miniature haute cuisine promising a true taste experience. Navigating Bilbao’s rows of pintxo bars is definitely a culinary adventure and a magnificent alternative to a sit-down meal.
Here, is my list of the top places to visit, so take note 😉
With deceptively simple but sublime bite-sized pintxos, El Globo is one of the best rated pintxo bars in Bilbao. The one to try: pintxo de txangurro. Click here to read about my favorite pintxo bar in Bilbao.
LA VIÑA DEL ENSANCHE
La Viña is a classic, a historic institution here in Bilbao. Think platters and platters of sliced baguette layered with glistening Joselito Ibérico ham!! Click here to read my review of this wonderful bar.
With a tempting delicious counter, Amaren is a great place to grab a bite and a drink. Their pintxos will surely whet your appetite even if you are not hungry.
We truly love this seafood restaurant. Their croquetas of bogavante are absolutely to die for!!
This is definitely one of my favorites pintxo bars. We always come for a quick grab-and-go pintxo during the week or for a delicious brunch at the weekend.
Probably the best sandwiches in the whole world!! No trip to Bilbao is complete without engulfing one these delicious sandwiches.
There are two types: Triángulos (with jamón) and Torres (with anchovies), both made from homemade bread. The family secret sauce is what makes them so unique. It is said that only two people know the ingredients of this magical yet addictive sauce. Did you know that more than 1000 sandwiches per day are sold at El Eme? Bilbaínos absolutely adore this place so expect it to be crowded. You can have them either at the counter of the bar or to take away.
Enclosed by grand nineteenth-century buildings, La Plaza Nueva- the original main square and still the most charming- is a delightful place to relax and watch the world go by while enjoying the exuberance of the miniature cuisine offered in its bars. You can also immerse yourself in the seven streets to discover hidden taverns, order a drink and look at what the locals are eating.
GURE TOKI (Plaza Nueva)
Gure Toki offers the highest level of gastronomy in form of pintxos. The always crowded bar is a haven of creativity and magic. Each decadent morsel truly looks like if it has been created by an artist.
LA OLLA (Plaza Nueva)
As soon as you enter through its doors, you’ll understand why La Olla won the 1st award for the best bar of pintxos in Bizkaia in 2015. The sweet aroma, flavors and colors of the bar counter all conspire to bewitch the senses.
VICTOR MONTES (Plaza Nueva)
With its romantic Belle-epoque décor, the invitingly dark tavern is one of the oldest and liveliest bars that line the porticoed Neoclassical square. Victor Montes is an ideal place to try some of the more traditional Basque pintxos. Countless artists and well- known personalities have visited the bar over the years including the Canadian architect Frank Gehri, Jeremy Irons, Bono and Oliver Stone.
Did you know it was at the restaurant of this historical bar where the Guggenheim project was sealed?
Located on Santa María street -one of the liveliest streets in the Old Quarter- Irrintzi surprises with an entire counter lined with creative pintxos.
You simply can’t miss the “chorizo al infierno” (chorizo from hell) at the rustic Bacaicoa bar on Plaza Miguel de Unamuno.