Bilbao, one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Spain, offers a large variety of things to do: cultural, sporting, outdoor and, especially, gastronomical.
Before visiting this city, it´s advisable to go on a light diet because you will leave this city having put on a few pounds due to its exquisite pintxos, which are small tapas spiked on a piece of bread. The amount of varieties will make it irresistible for you to try all of them. The pintxo route consists in going from bar to bar and sampling them along with a drink, a socialising experience. However, the locals don´t feel this need to try all of them all the time but new arrivals to the city won´t be able to resist, especially when accompanying them with a cold and fruity white wine known as txakolí, a typical drink of the Basque Country.
It´s easy to find a place where to eat tapas but, in order to separate the average places from the good ones, there are various areas where you can do this sampling route in an orderly fashion. It doesn´t mean that the areas are exclusive but they are definitely the most typical and popular ones. One of the most famous ones to go eating pintxos in Bilbao is the Casco Viejo, the old town. If you go to Plaza Nueva, you can stop at Café-Bar Bilbao, inaugurated in 1911, and try all of its pintxos, a must. The same applies to another legendary place, Víctor, so go in and eat away. If you stay in this area, Taberna Plaza Nueva and Gure Toki are worth a visit. Onto Calle Somera you will find excellent tapas and sandwich bars, such as Bar Jaunak and Motrikes. Still in the old town, on Calle Askao, you can find Taberna Askao Berri, a tavern that offers delicious txapelas (the food, not the hats) and traineras, small sandwiches whose name makes reference to the most famous traineras, which are rowing boats. Moving onto Calle Santa María there´s a bar that´s famous for its delicious croquettes, Txiriboga. In the Casco Viejo it´s not hard to find a culinary mix between avant-garde and tradition. There´s food for all tastes.
If you change the area you´re in and you´re still hungry, you can go to Abando. Here you can find the most classic places that serve Iberian products such as chorizo, txistorra and morcilla. Bars such as Café Iruña, one of the most legendary and historical restaurants in the city, serve this food in Bilbao. El Globo is another bar with a large variety in avant-garde tapas. If you go to Bar La Viña you will also encounter an excellent alternative to try Iberian food.
Going down to the Indautxu area you can follow the path that takes you to New Or Konpon, whose creative cuisine results in exquisite preparations of foie, mushroom risotto and other culinary delights. On Calle General Concha you can stop at Bar Eme and enjoy its sandwich called ´triangles and towers´, as well as delicious txipirones (baby squid)in black ink and hake.
As you can see, there´s a large variety of places to go to and by no means have all of them been mentioned; this is just a small guide to get started. What it essential is to do this route having rested because in order to try all of these foods you will need a day or two. And this is only the gastronomical route…
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