Find a chair at the bar and order some pintxos, the small-plate appetizers that are traditional bar food in the Basque Country. Pair your selections with a cold beer or a glass of Txakoli, a traditional Basque white wine. For formal sit-down fare, head upstairs to the dining room.
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Are you a meat lover and heading for Spain?
If you only have time for a single meal and you want to taste Basque cooking, this is it. First, it has a barful of pintxos, those little tapa-like snacks mounted on a small circle of bread. Usually you'd have to go to a bar to get these but you can just stand at the bar here, have a few, and head for a table. Or you can order them at the bar and eat your pintxos in the comfort of your table. They were quite inventive, mixing 4-5 products on a single pintxo. Great fun and lots of lunging for the last one.
After the pintxos this restaurant has plenty of typical basque dishes involving fish but I had the chuleton - a big fat rib steak sliced off the bone, thrown on a piping hot grill and sprinkled with rock salt. Irresistible!
It happens to be in Bilbao's pedestrian center so it's easy to get to. It's not the cheapest restaurant but once in a while, you owe yourself a treat, don't you think?