SpainBasque Country

Bilbao Food Guide: Traditional foods in Bilbao

Nestled in the heart of the Basque Country, Bilbao is a vibrant city known for its rich history, stunning architecture, and world-class cuisine. With a population of over 345,000 people, Bilbao is the largest city in the province of Biscay and is a center for art, culture, and gastronomy. This cosmopolitan city offers a unique blend of old-world charm and modernity, making it a must-visit destination for travelers from around the world.

Bilbao, Spain

What to eat in Bilbao, Spain

This is a list of the must have dishes in Bilbao. Ranked on best food score.

Idiazabal Cheese

Idiazabal cheese is a traditional Basque cheese that is produced in the region surrounding Bilbao. It is made from raw sheep's milk and has a distinct smoky flavor, thanks to the use of beechwood during the smoking process. The cheese has a firm and slightly crumbly texture, making it perfect for enjoying on its own or pairing with other ingredients. Idiazabal cheese is often served as a part of pintxos or enjoyed with a glass of local Basque cider.

Sheep's milk, Beechwood smoke

Bacalao a la Vizcaina

A signature dish of the Basque Country, Bacalao a la Vizcaina is a must-try in Bilbao. This dish features salted cod cooked in a rich tomato and red pepper sauce. The fish is first soaked to remove the excess salt, then simmered in the flavorful sauce until tender. The result is a melt-in-your-mouth dish that is full of flavor. To fully appreciate the flavors, it is best enjoyed with a glass of local Txakoli wine.

Salted cod, Tomatoes, Red peppers


Txikito is a traditional Basque dish that consists of small tender cuts of beef, typically cooked with onions and peppers. The meat is marinated in a mixture of vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and spices before being grilled to perfection. The result is a flavorful and juicy dish that is often served with a side of fries or bread. Txikito is a popular choice among meat lovers in Bilbao and is a must-try for those looking to experience the local cuisine.

Beef, Onions, Peppers, Vinegar, Olive oil, Garlic, Spices

Arroz con Leche

Arroz con Leche is a popular dessert in Bilbao and throughout Spain. This creamy rice pudding is made by simmering rice in milk with sugar and a touch of cinnamon until the rice is cooked and the mixture thickens. It is often served chilled and garnished with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top. Arroz con Leche is a comforting and satisfying dessert that is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

Rice, Milk, Sugar, Cinnamon


Gazpacho is a refreshing cold soup that is perfect for hot summer days in Bilbao. Made with ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, garlic, olive oil, and vinegar, this chilled soup is full of flavor and packed with nutrients. It is typically served with a garnish of diced vegetables and a drizzle of olive oil. Gazpacho is a popular choice among locals and tourists alike, and it is a great way to beat the heat while exploring the city.

Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Peppers, Onions, Garlic, Olive oil, Vinegar


Bilbao is known for its vibrant pintxos scene, and no visit to the city would be complete without indulging in these delicious bite-sized snacks. Pintxos are similar to tapas, but they are traditionally served on a piece of bread and held together with a toothpick. They come in a variety of flavors and combinations, from simple ham and cheese to more elaborate creations with seafood and local specialties. The best way to experience pintxos is by hopping from bar to bar, trying different ones along the way.

Bread, Various toppings


Marmitako is a traditional Basque stew that is a popular choice among locals and visitors alike. This hearty dish features fresh tuna, potatoes, onions, and peppers, all cooked together in a flavorful broth. The tuna is usually added towards the end of the cooking process to ensure it remains tender. The result is a comforting and satisfying stew that is perfect for a chilly day in Bilbao.

Tuna, Potatoes, Onions, Peppers