Brunch doesn’t have the buzz in Europe as it does in America, but that’s been changing over the past few years. While brunch in Spain doesn’t quite resemble the blown-out mimosa-soaked parties of Manhattan and Chicago, it’s still an important meal that showcases local flavors in a social setting. Bilbao, with its local Andalusian flavor, and a seriously underrated restaurant scene, has become one of Spain’s go-to culinary destinations. Brunch in Bilbao, the largest city in the Basque Country, incorporates its own culinary tradition with a modern brunch twist.
Sure, you’ll find your standard brunch buffets and Eggs Benedict, but you should really be searching out the tostadas, papas fritas, local pastries, and amazingly delicious coffee for your late-morning party. And, getting all this great food into your system can be heavy work. Don't bother fussing with bags and backpacks. Instead, head to a luggage storage location in Bilbao and let Bounce take care of the luggage.
If you're visiting Bilbao, here are the best brunch spots:
Cafe Restaurante Del Arenal
Casco Viejo ꘡ Everyday 7:30 AM - 11:30 PM
Located in the stylish and historic Casco Viejo neighborhood of Bilbao, this cafe and restaurant serve a nice variety of American-style brunch dishes with some authentic Spanish breakfast classics. One of the menu highlights, which will be familiar to most American travelers, though more as a street treat than a good brunch dish, would be the churros. These fried doughnuts are fluffy on the inside, crunchy on the outside, and dusted with sugar. When paired with delicious coffee and dipped in a thick chocolate sauce, churros are one of the most delightful brunch dishes in Bilbao, or anywhere in the world, for that matter. If you don’t have a sweet tooth, check out their rotating menu of breakfast sandwiches that have a variety of Spanish ingredients. There are also incredible pastries on the menu, but most customers can’t get past a plate of churros when they’re in the mood for something sweet.
Once you’ve had your fill of fried doughnuts and savory sandwiches, take a walk down the narrow alleys of Casco Viejo. The city’s medieval Old Quarter is one of the best areas to explore. The Santiago Cathedral is one of the most historic landmarks in Bilbao. There are also dozens of stylish Tapas Bars throughout the neighborhood if you’ve wandered long enough to work up an appetite.
Restaurante La Ribera
Erribera Kalea ꘡ Tuesday to Sunday 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Erribera Merkatua, or Mercado La Ribera, is the largest indoor market in Europe, and it’s right across the river from Bilbao’s old city. Shoppers will find produce, meats, cheeses, wines, seafood, home goods, decor, and everything in between in this vast marketplace. They will also find one of the best brunches in Bilbao. There are a number of excellent dining options where shoppers can take a break and enjoy world-class culinary delight. Restaurante La Ribera is one of the most popular, with its Art Deco design, jazz bar, and stylish brunch menu. One of the favorites is the “anti-hangover” juice, which will cure any of last night’s ills, right before a glass of Andalusian wine or mimosa. There are also brunch staples like baked eggs with papas fritas, a benedict, croissants, pastries, and homemade cakes. Reservations are highly recommended, as the €15 price for brunch makes this one of the most affordable, and popular, brunch spots in Bilbao. After exploring the market and having breakfast, head over to Arechaga Kalea for some unforgettable shopping in Bilbao.
La Ribera Gastro Plaza
Erribera Kalea ꘡ Weekends 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
There are thousands of reasons to visit La Ribera Market. This is why it is bested only by The Guggenheim Museum as Bilbao’s most-visited attraction in the city. It’s not only a historic marketplace that is world-famous for being the largest covered market in Europe, it’s also home to some of the best restaurants and food vendors in Bilbao. La Ribera Gastro Plaza is your best bet, with tons of excellent options for brunch or lunch. All of them have their own theme, and with central seating, everyone in your group can pick their lane and meet for a group brunch before returning to the labyrinthine market.
HOUSE LOREN - This upscale food stand specializes in traditional Cantabrian cuisine, with a variety of hearty regional strews, and seafood dishes. Their grilled fish with lemony potatoes pairs nicely with a glass of local wine or a mimosa.
THE CANDY STORE - This is a great option if you’re traveling with young ones. This stall offers chocolates, pastries, candies, and infusions. While the chocolate cake is excellent, the churros are the headliner here, as they come with a few decadent dipping sauces, and are the perfect food for enjoying while on the go. Luckily there are juices and delicious coffee on the menu for mom and dad.
SOUTHERN FRY - The smells and sounds of the fryer capture the attention of any passerby, as some of Spain’s best flavors are fried. Check out the rotating menu of potatoes, meats, chicken, and even churros. There are traditional Spanish dishes, as well as tempura-style fried options. The croquettes are can’t-miss!
THE WINERY - This is where the social aspect of La Ribera Gastro Plaza really shines. There is a wine selection here that rivals even the most extensive lists of the best tapas bars. There are also local craft beers, aperitifs, and small plates available.
TXERRI DUCK - The stall is curated by the “Joselito” and “chateau de Canard” brands of duck, and pork products. This features the best Iberian duck and pork products, with flavors and dishes reminiscent of French, Portuguese, and Spanish cuisine.
PASTRYROZ - Rice dishes were first perfected in Spain, and this cuisine style is on show at this popular stall. All the flavors of the Mediterranean and other regions of Spain are on full display with their impressive menu of pizzas, pasta, soups, and sauces.
ARAMBARRI BREWERY - This local brewery curates a list of over 50 bottles and 8 taps from their own offering as well as an impressive roster of international breweries.
Abando ꘡ Weekends 10:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Sua San is located opposite the famous Guggenheim, arguably the best museum in Bilbao, and a must-visit, making it an ideal brunch spot before you visit the museum. This stylish cafe and bar have become the darling of the Bilbao restaurant scene, and foodies from all over the world flock here at all hours of the day. But their weekend menu is one of the most popular in Bilbao, as they have very tastefully recreated the famously rowdy American-style brunch. Sua San is also incredibly affordable. For only €12.50, you can choose from a variety of dishes, including eggs benedict, and bagels topped with everything from eggs and guacamole to chicken with brie and caramelized onions. There are also vegetarian options, like the outstanding crepes, with fresh seasonal toppings. Smoothies are on offer for health-conscious diners who are saving their calories for the tapas bar later. While it is incredibly popular and trendy, Sua San does a great job maintaining a relaxing atmosphere and comfortable seating for small groups and families. This is absolutely worth stopping by for a Spanish tortilla and a café con leche before heading out to the Guggenheim Museum.
Indautxu ꘡ Weekends 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Located near Gran Via, and a number of other fashionable shopping streets, this is a prime location for brunch. One of the classic Bilbao cafés and bars, this brunch spot is stylish but comfortable, with a cosy interior. It’s not massive, so it makes for a great date spot rather than a large group looking to down mimosas en masse. Expect Spanish breakfast classics executed perfectly like croissants, other pastries, and Spanish tortillas, which are the best savory breakfast option. For those with a sweet tooth, the simple toast served with sugar and butter is essentially Spanish French Toast. Post brunch, check out the Azkuna Zentroa cultural center nearby.
Indautxu ꘡ Weekends 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Located near the San Manes Stadium, Brass 27 is a solid brunch option if you’re going to an Athletic Bilbao match, the most popular soccer team in the Basque Country. This is a solid café with a stylish dining room. They serve breakfast every day of the week, but their brunch buffet menu is available on weekends. The Spanish omelet or tostadas are the most popular items on the menu. On match days, there might be a wait because this café is ultra-popular.
CINNAMON Coffelab & Urban Food (El Cinnamon)
Abando ꘡ Everyday 9:30 AM - 2:45 PM
Unlike most European cafes and restaurants, El Cinnamon has an extensive menu with options ranging from lighter bites to hearty dishes that resemble a traditional American brunch. This has made El Cinnamon one of the most popular brunch destinations for Bilbao foodies and hungry travelers. Some of the best options are on the lighter side, like their homemade bagels with cream cheese and smoked salmon. Their breakfast wraps are almost designed to cure hangovers or at least a ravenous hunger. They have a full menu of brunch cocktails and looking around, most tables have at least one lavender mimosa. El Cinnamon also prides itself on offering specialist coffees from a local roaster.
El Cinnamon’s fun and trendy atmosphere are also reason enough to head to the Old Town. The 1970s vintage aesthetics, friendly staff, and fashionable clientele make this a place to see and be seen. The vibe gets even more energetic once a month when they have live music playing during brunch, so check the calendar.
Abando ꘡ Saturday 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM, Sunday 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Having originally opened its doors to hungry patrons in 1903, Café Iruña is one of Bilbao’s most historic establishments still operating today. This ornate but cozy café’s interior is accented with Moorish-style Mudéjar arches, columns, and glistening chandeliers. The opulent design befits the historic establishment, which is one of the most celebrated Bilbao institutions. They also serve a mean brunch and good service.
Being a classic restaurant, they serve regional delights, grilled meats, and traditional dishes of an elegant European-style brunch. It might not be the maximalized American-style brunch of fried chicken and waffles with bottomless mimosas, but their dignified breakfast, which is only €3 to €4, is well worth it, especially for the experience and seriously amazing pictures. Coffee, pastry, pintxo, and fresh orange juice make for a light-but-satisfying brunch while you stare at the intricate wooden carvings and murals. If you want to live like a local, visit Café Iruña.
Hotel Gran Bilbao
Santutxu ꘡ Everyday 7:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Located in Santutxu, a popular residential neighborhood in Bilbao's Begoña district, the Hotel Gran Bilbao offers one of the best brunches in the city. Open to both hotel guests and hungry brunchers, their lobby restaurant and bar feature an elevated brunch buffet. That may not sound ideal, but even local foodies flock to Hotel Gran Bilbao for brunch when they visit the Larreagaburu Park and Santutxu neighborhood.
Abando ꘡ Friday and Saturday 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
If you are exploring the old quarter or spending time at Dona Casilda Park, stop by Mini Bar for a nice brunch or some pintxos in their stylish dining room. The menu rotates, but expect some familiar favorites like eggs benedict, mimosas, and french toast. If it’s later in the day, their menu of light bites pairs nicely with an aperitif, local craft beer, or local wine from the Basque Country. Mini Bar also serves some of the city's best coffee from a regional roaster.
With the distinctive culture of the Basque Country and a dedicated community of restauranteurs, Bilbao has become a world-class food destination. Combining the great pintxo culture, traditional tapas bars, and a criminally underrated coffee scene, it makes sense that there are so many amazing spots to grab brunch in Bilbao. If you’re planning on exploring Bilbao’s central neighborhoods, museums, shopping districts, and countless landmarks, you’ll need to fuel up before your head out. Drop the bags off with Bounce so you can make it a memorable adventure!