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  • Writer's pictureDiogo Machado

What to eat in Bilbao?

Looking for another reason to visit Bilbao alongside a breath-taking locality? You are at the right place! Luckily, Bilbao is one of the most distinct and unique food cuisines which has so much to offer to all the foodies looking to visit Spain. The cuisine is composed of mostly seafood-based meals. The dishes are made from fresh fish, including cod fish and spider crabs. Still not hungry? Keep reading…

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🍻 Drinks


Salty food


A speciality of cold Basque winters is the famous tuna and potato stew. The literal translation of Marmitako is “from the pot”, indicating the large kettle or Dutch oven in which the dish is usually prepared in. It contains potatoes, tomatoes, green pepper, and spices. And the real star of this dish is, of course, the freshly caught tuna.


No matter where you wander in Bilbao, in almost all bars you will find small pieces of bread with a variety of toppings. This finger-licking dish is called pintxos and is what the Spanish associate with socializing as the dish is usually eaten while hanging out with family and friends. Which topping will you try out?

Bacalao Pil-Pil

When talking about iconic, we cannot forget the famous codfish meal – bacalao pil-pil. If you like garlic, dried guindilla chilli and olive oil, this might be the dish for you! As it is only made out of four ingredients, the dish is great for seafood lovers who enjoy the taste of fresh and good-quality fish.


Txangurro or spider crabs are another speciality of Bilbao. The dish is made of stuffed and baked spider crabs. Crab meat is mixed with breadcrumbs, tomato, and onion, and then seasoned and baked until crispy.

Sweet food

Pastel Vasco

If you start feeling a sweet tooth, we highly recommend trying the pastel vasco. It is a sponge cake filled with vanilla custard. It is also not unusual that the pastry cream is filled with some fruit.


Perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing dish on our list, Carolina, is what is originally called a rice cake. What may surprise you is that the dish does not include rice at all. Instead, it is made of chocolate, egg yolk, and the Italian méringue which makes this sweet so easily recognizable.



It is likely to happen that after all these amazing dishes you will feel thirsty. We highly recommend txakoli. This white wine is great to have in good company while enjoying the pintxos. This booze is highly acidic and very low in alcohol content.


Patxaran is a sole-falovoured liqueur. The Spanish usually have it after the meal, served as a digestif.


You also might want to try the famous sagardoa. This “apple wine” cider will surely quench your thirst. It is only fair to finish this post with the traditional Basque sagardo song:

“Barrel, Barrel, Hotel of cider. Barrel, Barrel, Let's fill our stomach. Barrel, Barrel, Look after yourself”

If you are a real foodie and not hungry yet or thirsty for more, we invite you to discover our other articles on food around the world such as in Barcelona, Portugal and others.

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