Bilbao, Spain is Attracing Foodies

Posted on Monday, June 04, 2012

Bilbao is the gateway to the Basque region of Spain, known for its gastronomy and natural beauty. No one knows where the Basque people originated, but everyone agrees they know how to cook. Pintxos (pronounced pinch-ohs) are a regional specialty. The Basque form of tapas, these appetizers are served with mini drinks. Small plates are currently trendy in the U.S., but chefs are just copying the Spanish, who invented tapas centuries ago. 

“The Guggenheim museum was like an earthquake that woke everyone up,” says Daniel Garcia, owner/chef of Zortziko, a Michelin star restaurant in Bilbao. A former shipbuilding port, Bilbao is now a “destination” city. “It’s like I’m traveling all over the world without leaving, because everyone comes here to see the Guggenheim.” 

Covered in titanium and located along the river, this modern museum resembles a ship. Unlike the typical museum where guards prevent visitors from touching paintings, the Guggenheim encourages patrons to actively engage in exhibits, including whispering in the echo chamber and jumping on buttons that activate outdoor fountains.

After sampling one pintxo, diners move on to the next bar. “You start out with five friends going to a bar, and by the time you go to the last bar you are with 20 people, picking up folks in each place,” explained tour guide Angel.

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