Bilbao photo by Jorge Fernández Salas on Unsplash
Eneko Atxa’s guide to Bilbao
Basque chef Eneko Atxa is inextricably linked with the city of Bilbao, Spain. His three-Michelin-star restaurant Azurmendi, as well as the more casual Eneko, can be found in nearby Larrabetzu, while his Japan-inspired Nko is in the city itself – just the tip of a restaurant empire that stretches all the way to Tokyo.
He will also be a Grand Juror at the forthcoming S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition 2022-23 Grand Finale in Milan, helping to crown the best young chef in the world.
If you’re heading to Bilbao to eat, Axta recommends, as a starting point, the New Square, “a meeting place for locals, with a great atmosphere” in the picturesque, cobbled Old Town that is lined with pintxo bars.
Here are the rest of Atxa’s tips for where to eat and drink in Bilbao.
Courtesy of El Puertito
“El Puertito is located in a lively central area of Bilbao. It’s a charming place with a terrace where you can taste fresh oysters together with a glass of txakolí, a typical white wine from the Basque region.”
Courtesy of Porrue
“If you are looking for a place in Bilbao to enjoy fresh grilled products, I recommend you visit the Porrue restaurant. The freshness and quality of the ingredients is evident. Whether you prefer tender meats, juicy fish, or fresh seafood, you'll find a wide variety of delightful options.”
“For an informal plan, I recommend you go to the coastal area of Urdaibai. Within the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve enclave, right on Laida beach, Bar Atxarte offers a privileged location that makes it the perfect place to enjoy a beautiful sunset. It’s an incredible place where you can enjoy a unique experience: watch the sunset while you savour a delicious sandwich or bocadillo.”
Radisson Collection Hotel Bilbao
“Located in the centre of Bilbao, the rooftop terrace of the Radisson Collection Hotel Bilbao features a rooftop bar offering a wide variety of classic and contemporary cocktails. It is the perfect place to relax, enjoy a cocktail and take in the spectacular views that stretch from the rooftops of Bilbao to the horizon.”
“The Mugi bar in Bilbao is a perfect place for those who wish to enjoy an authentic gastronomic experience by tasting exquisite Iberian products accompanied by a selection of good wines. In addition to Iberian products and wines, Mugi usually offers a wide variety of delicious pintxos and dishes that perfectly complement the gastronomic experience. It is a place of reference for the people of Bilbao.”
“Bar Rotterdam is a popular spot located in the Old Town of Bilbao. A place where traditional Basque dishes are cooked wonderfully, such as cod in pil-pil or Biscayan-style, tongue in sauce, etc. An incredible place for those who wish to taste authentic Basque gastronomy.”
La Petit Fromagerie
Courtesy of La Petit Fromagerie
“La Petit Fromagerie is a charming place that will transport you to the fascinating world of artisan cheeses. Located in the heart of Bilbao, this cheese factory offers a wide selection of cheeses of different varieties and origins, both national and international. From soft and creamy cheeses to aged and spicy cheeses, there is something for every taste.”
Martina de Zuricalday
“The butter buns from the Zurikalday pastry shop are a true delight. Made with fresh, high-quality ingredients, each bite is an explosion of flavour and texture. These scones are tender, fluffy and melt in your mouth, thanks to just the right amount of butter that makes them irresistible.” [Various locations]