Bilbao is a fairly wealthy post-industrial city in the Basque country with a reputation for overcast, rain and a strong work ethic. I cannot argue with the latter, but the sun was definitely shining when I visited the stunningly beautiful city. Yes it does rain a lot, but when a city has USP’s coming out of its ears, there’s certainly no raining on Bilbao’s parade. Incredible architecture, both modern and historic, lots of art and culture, extremely friendly people and glorious food would sum up this often overlooked coastal city in the North-eastern part of Spain. San Sebastian is known as Spain’s number one culinary capital, but its bigger sister deserves some of the credit as well.
I had the benefit of being in the company of a local who took two friends and I to an incredible restaurant smack bang in the middle of the city called Abandoko Batzokia, where local Basque dishes were to be had. The website could do with a makeover and it’s all written in Spanish, but don’t let that throw you of, the food is amazing. From delicious black octopus, which is somewhat of a local specialty, to fine slices of Iberico ham and a fillet of hake with a typical Basque sauce (can’t quite remember what it contained).
Bilbao is a culinary force to be reckoned with, that’s for sure. Watch this space for more on the culinary scene in Bilbao and in the meantime, add this restaurant to your must-visit list for when you decide to fly out to this wonderful city for a weekend break.