From the modernist architecture and exhibitions of the Guggenheim Museum to the charming Casco Viejo and the inspiring Catedral de Santiago there is something for everyone.
This city is close to some other incredible cities as Santander, Vitoria or San Sebastián, so you could hire a car with Drivalia if you are staying in any of them. The journey is only around one hour from Bilbao airport and you will have many things to see.
Aside from the tourist attractions, Bilbao also actually has a thriving culinary scene and plays host to a spectacular array of world-class restaurants and bistros. If you want to sample traditional Basque cuisine then this is the place to be! If you appreciate fine dining and culinary masterpieces, we have selected 6 of the top restaurants for your enjoyment in Bilbao:
Mandoya is a long-standing restaurant in Bilbao that has been serving sublime Basque cuisine for over 50 years. You can find this charming restaurant in the heart of the Old Quarter in the midst of the winding and narrow streets. Local and fresh produce is used in practically every dish including locally caught fish and reared meat. The seafood menu is actually one of the most popular and you can try lobster, clams and even monkfish. Don’t forget to enjoy a glass of house wine, or try a thoroughly warming stew!
Located next to the main train station, Casa Rufo is a family run establishment that offers great food and a fantastic setting. Don’t let the unassuming exterior of this restaurant phase you – the interior is truly superb and is akin to a labyrinth with a myriad of separate rooms and booths. In terms of food, Casa Rufo serves a range of delicious Basque dishes including a mouth-watering rib-eye txuleton steak. The owners are friendly and welcoming and the whole dining experience will leave you feeling content.
This trendy café is somewhat of a local institution and is often frequented by the population of Bilbao. Standing opposite the Albiako Lorategiak Park, this restaurant features a Moorish décor with a host of rich decoration. Café Iruna is so much more than just a restaurant – it is an experience and many people come here just to witness the decoration. If you want to sample Basque cuisine, this establishment delivers in ample amounts – they serve a range of traditional meals including Pintxos.
Another traditional Basque restaurant, Guria can be found in the northern part of the city across from the immense Parque de Dona Casilda de Iturrizar. With an elegant décor, a relaxing atmosphere and a plethora of beautiful and tasty dishes, this restaurant really is a cut above the rest. You can expect a host of freshly produced dishes such as soup, meats and seafood – a particular favourite is the Hake. All dishes are prepared using local and seasonal produce, and recipes that have been passed down through the generations.
Bistro Guggenheim Bilbao
The Guggenheim Museum is undoubtedly one of the main attractions of the city. Within this modern museum, you can also find the fantastic Bistro Guggenheim which is a noteworthy attraction in its own right. This restaurant benefits from a separate entrance to the museum but we advise visiting them both! The menu features a range of Basque dishes served with a beautiful selection of vintage wines. The views are superb and the food is exceptional!
This restaurant is located next to the river, only a few blocks away from the quarter Deusto, so with Drivalia you can hire a car at Bilnbao airport, park up and enjoy the walk along the river. It’s only ten minutes away, so it’s an excuse to promenade through one of the most beautiful cities in Spain.
If you want to sample a traditional Basque Pintxo (tapas) then Irrintzi is the only place you should visit. This upbeat establishment can be found in the Old Quarter on Andra Maria Kalea which is one of the main streets that side of the river. In terms of culinary treats, Irtrintzi offers the aforementioned Pintxo which is packed full with a host of delicious ingredients. Each Pintxo is a work of art and is beautifully created – consider sampling one (or more) of these creations and enjoying the lively and friendly atmosphere.
You can hire a car with Drivalia and come to this incredible city to enjoy the best restaurants of Bilbao, so we are going to tell you the places where you can park free in the city. There are quarters like Deusto, as mentioned above, where you could do it as San Ignacio, Zurbarán, Txurdinaga or Artxanda. But you also can park in the centre of the city by paying the OTA tax.
We hope you have found this list useful – as you can see, Bilbao really does have a great deal to offer in terms of gastronomy. This list is just the tip of the iceberg – the city is packed full of a wonderful array of restaurants and not just Basque cuisine specialists. Why not head on into Bilbao today and see what delicious dishes you can sample?