If you're in Bilbao for a short amount of time and want to do a self-guided tour of some of the best local food, then follow this guide to the highlights of Bilbao in Spain's Basque country.
Each restaurant links through to the full review with its location, opening hours, photos and details about the food. This list is part of a bigger food guide to Bilbao.
Tomato salad @ Gure Toki
A really flavourful and fresh tomato salad with the dark and beautiful local tomatoes and salt flakes. A delicious break from all the meat and fish too. Gure Toki is in Plaza Nueva (see below)...
Pintxos & drinks @ Plaza Nueva
This plaza is a square full of some of the best pintxos bars. Soak up the atmosphere and relax with the delicious food and drinks. Gure Toki (above), La Olla de la Plaza Nueva and Sorginzulo were all good options.
Gildas @ Capricho or any good pintxos bar
Possibly the most iconic pintxo of the region is the gilda, a cocktail stick with olives, anchovies and chillies. They're a perfect bar snack and I found it hard to resist them in every bar. They only vary slightly but you there are definitely some that are better than others, with Capricho probably being the best I found.
According to Wikipedia, "Txakoli or chacolí is a slightly sparkling, very dry white wine with high acidity and low alcohol content produced in the Spanish provinces of the Basque Country...". It's tasty and a good option if you want to drink but pace yourself.
Every bar will have jamon and the salty melting ham is incredible. Make sure you have some!
Anchovies are everywhere in Spain, espeically in this area. White anchovies in vinegar and the intense salted kind. Make the most of them both!
And if you have time...
Drinks @ Residence
An "Irish" bar where the friendly staff didn't speak English and most of the customers seemed to be locals. The drinks were all excellent, including some of their own craft beer. It's not cheap though.
Cheesecake @ Charamel Gozotegia
Really tasty cheesecake, although not quite as good as La Viña in San Sebastian.