Monday, 12 September 2016


Luxury fine dining, Basque style 


When I was doing my research on where to dine in Bilbao, Etxanobe really stood out for me, the 1 Michelin starred restaurant has a really impressive dining room, with a strong modern art influence as well as a lovely outdoor terrace which oversee the city. Located inside the Euskalduna Conference Centre, the cooking is a blend of traditional Basque cuisine with a creative and playful twist. Diners can choose between a la carte or the chef's tasting menu. The first thing I have noticed is the heat warming welcoming from the waiters on our arrival, from leading us to the table on the terrace followed by a greeting from chef- owner Fernando Canales, it all made us feel really special.

Sardine lipstick and foie limotxo
Ajo blanco
Txangurro shrimp
Salmon bonbon

We opted for the tasting menu, and right from the start, we could already see the avant garde element in the chef's creation. An apéritif that contained wine, coke and foie gras and served with a sardine lipstick. The texangurro prawn was prawn at its finest, the sweetness and freshness was second to none and the gel that was cooked from the shell really had a lovely rich shellfish taste. The restaurant signature dish, was a playful take on lasagna using anchovy. The anchovy was seasoned masterfully and worked like a treat with the tomato stew soup, it was such a fun and elegant dish.

Anchovy lasagna
Tuna with spinach and mustard
Hake with black olive and pea
Scallops ragout

Tuna cooked with sumac was a heavenly dish, it was rich and fatty, almost like a fine piece of beef fillet, the spinach and mustard added coolness and spiciness to offer a great contrast. The last savoury course, a very well executed pink pigeon which we were encouraged to eat with our hands like lollipops, the texture was moist and blessed with some really powerful earthy flavour with a settled bitterness, it was really top notch. The final dish of the meal was a cool orange cream which was prepared in front of us by Fernando himself, it was a really light, smooth dessert with a very dedicated citrus tone.

Pigeon lollipop
Caprice of fennel, strawberry and tomato
Orange cream

The cooking at Etxanobe was really something, the kitchen really has done a fine job in injecting the creative factor with the natural flavours of the exceptional raw ingredients. Also the service was simply fantastic, our waiters were charming and very caring while remaining very professional. The dinner was truly a wonderful experience, as an extra bonus, there was a firework happening towards the end of the meal from the yearly Bilbao festival to round off such a special evening. Etxanobe ticked all the boxes for me, from the cooking, to the high level service and the beautiful dining space, I would be sure to return if I ever visit Bilbao again. 

Food 4.5/5

What I paid: 

£102 per head with a glass of wine

Average cost without drinks and services:


av. de Abandoibarra 4-3°, 48011 Bilbao, Spain

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