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Restaurants in Bilbao

People take food seriously here and pintxos, the small tapas served on bread with a wooden skewer, are a local obsession. If you fancy something more substantial, many restaurants offer a set price three-course meal at lunchtime. Local specialities include cod or hake cheeks and pulpo a la plancha (grilled octopus).

The Bilbao restaurants below have been hand-picked by our guide author and are grouped into three pricing categories:

Expensive (over €60)

Moderate (€20 to €60)

Cheap (up to €20)

These Bilbao restaurant prices are for a three-course meal for one with half a bottle of house wine or equivalent, tax and service included.

Expensive

Restaurante Etxanobe

Cuisine: European

This Michelin-starred restaurant is located on the top floor of the Euskalduna Palace, overlooking the most modern part of Bilbao. The dining area is voluptuously decorated, with the ceiling draped in billowy fabric. The dishes are rich, flavoursome and highly innovative creations that are respectful of the region's culinary traditions. The service is excellent.

Address: 4 Avenida de Abandoibarra, Palacio Euskalduna, Bilbao, 48002
Telephone: +34 944 421 071.
Website: http://www.etxanobe.com

Restaurante Guggenheim

Cuisine: Modern

Eating in a famous art museum is always going to be a bit of an experience and Restaurante Guggenheim is no exception. The food is described as "culinary art" and thus is more about creativity and imagination than quantity. That said, the food is delicious and interesting, and the prices are what you'd expect from a gastronomic experience.

Address: , 2 Avenida Abandoibarra, Bilbao, 48009
Telephone: +34 944 239 333.
Website: http://www.bistroguggenheimbilbao.com

Restaurante Zortziko

Cuisine: Modern

Zortziko is a gastronomic institution in Bilbao. Located in a late 19th-century mansion not far from the Guggenheim Museum, it offers contemporary haute cuisine with local roots. There are three dining rooms, each with their own individual style. The menu is seasonal and the innovative Basque creations by acclaimed chef Daniel Garcia are sublime and among the very best in the region.

Address: , 17 Calle Alameda Mazarredo, Bilbao, 48001
Telephone: +34 944 239 743.
Website: http://www.zortziko.es

Moderate

Asador Sidrería Arriaga

Cuisine: Traditional

A traditional cider house and carvery, this is a typical Basque eating place offering grilled meat, fish and traditional cuisine. Situated at the heart of Bilbao's old quarter in a historical building, the ambience and the décor (stonework and large windows) make it the ideal spot for any type of celebration.

Address: , 13 Calle de Santa María, Bilbao, 48005
Telephone: +34 944 165 670.
Website: http://www.asadorarriaga.com

Casa Rufo

Cuisine: Basque

A grocery store/deli by day, by night a restaurant, Casa Rufo is famous for its txuleton, or rib-eye steak, ideal for those who are craving something hearty - although the menu also offers classic Basque dishes such as oxtail, baked cod or hake with red pepper. Choose a wine to accompany your meal from the excellent and extensive list. Booking in advance is recommended. 

Address: , Hurtado de Amézaga 5, Bilbao,
Telephone: +34 944 432 172.
Website: http://casarufo.com

El Perro Chico

Cuisine: Traditional

On the blue tiled walls of El Perro Chico are pictures of dozens of celebrities who've visited, from Brad Pitt to Sofia Loren. Few, though, are as significant as architect Frank Gehry, who was a regular when he was working on The Guggenheim – he even used the same shade of blue to decorate the museum's offices. For all its star-quality, this is a traditional place with local favourites such as salt cod, artichokes and grilled aubergines.

Address: , 2 Aretxaga, Bilbao, 48003
Telephone: +34 946 402 665.

Cheap

Café Iruña

Cuisine: Basque

In front of the Jardines de Albia, an elegant park in the centre of town, the Café Iruña has the air of being exactly the same today as it was when it opened in 1903. The azulejo (patterned tiles) on the walls, the wooden pillars, carved wooden ceiling and even the smart, waist-coated waiters all seem like institutions. Dining can be equally formal in the white table-clothed restaurant, or more casual at the pintxos bar. Specialities include foie gras with ham and cheese.

Address: , 4 Calle Berástegui, Bilbao, 48001
Telephone: +34 944 237 021.
Website: http://www.cafeirunabilbao.net

La Taberna de Bolivar

Cuisine: Traditional

A great place to get excellent set menus with high-quality, imaginative choices. The La Taberna de Bolivar set menu will get you three courses, bread, water and wine, which is a great way to enjoy a slap-up meal at an affordable price.

Address: , 17 Simon Bolivar, Bilbao, 48010
Telephone: +34 944 413 523.
Website: http://www.delosmundos.com

Restaurante Victor Montes

Cuisine: Basque

Downstairs at Victor Montes there's a proper restaurant where they serve large helpings of roast meats and grilled fish, but the place is best known for the pintxos served upstairs in the bar. The chequered floors and white-jacketed waiters make the joint look like an old-fashioned barber shop, with the croissants stuffed with ham, leek and mayonnaise a cut above the rest.

Address: , 8 Plaza Nueva, Bilbao, 48005
Telephone: +34 944 157 067.
Website: http://www.victormontes.com
A digital image at https://illuminoto.com

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Iturrienea Ostatua

Iturrienea Ostatua is a pension in Bilbao's Old Town that's chock-a-block with colour and character. It has restored antique furniture throughout and great attention to detail has been paid to the decoration of the 21 bedrooms. The lovely exposed stone walls and oak beams give this place its charm and all in all, it represents very good value. In decent weather, breakfast can be served in the garden.

Miró Hotel Bilbao

Devised by famous fashion couturier, Antonio Miró, this modern boutique hotel combines functional design and personalised service to great effect. It's a tasteful establishment with great views of Bilbao, and it offers guests access to its spas and gym on a complimentary basis. There are 50 minimalistic rooms to pick from and many come with views of the Guggenheim. All, though, have large TVs, colossal beds and chic marble bathrooms.

Zabalburu

This budget offering is clean and comfortable and offers a good buffet breakfast. Situated in a fairly central location, in downtown Bilbao, there are a slew of funky rooms to choose from, all of which have been decorated to represent a different building in the city. Most points of interest are within walking distance and the hotel itself runs a photography tour of Bilbao. Other extras include bicycle rental, ironing and laundry services, TVs in rooms, free Wi-Fi and a 24-hour bar. It also has a secure garage for those travelling with vehicles.

Gran Hotel Domine Bilbao

This Bilbao hotel is stylish and modern, with a great location opposite the Guggenheim Museum. It boasts 5-star luxury and is famed for its superb interior design, which is wouldn't look out of place in the gallery across the way. Its clean and comfy rooms have been designed by Javier Mariscal and come with Egyptian cotton bed linen, designer armchairs, free Wi-Fi, large LCD TVs and bathtubs you could lose a weekend in.

Hotel Ilunion Bilbao

One of Bilbao's 3-star hotels located in the shopping and business district, the Hotel Ilunion provides comfortable, well-equipped rooms and an outstanding buffet breakfast with everything you could possibly want. There's also a cafe and a restaurant serving local cuisine, and it's in a good location for the new town and within walking distance of the old town.

Hotel Petit Palace Arana

Bilbao's Hotel Petit Palace Arana has a great location opposite the Arriaga Theatre, between the Old Town and the Ensanche, the modern city centre. It is housed in a converted 19th-century warehouse with a balcony of wood and crystal which contrasts with the ultramodern interior design and high-tech amenities. The double rooms have everything you'll need for a relaxing stay from super king-sized beds to hydro massage showers.