Where To Find The Best Street Food In Bilbao

Published by: Bounce19 May, 2022

If you are interested in the culture and cuisine of the Basque Country, there’s no better place to visit than Bilbao. The seafood, wine, and grilled meats that comprise Basque food perfectly translate into a street food setting, which is why there are so many outstanding options for casual meals, and snacks when you’re exploring Bilbao. 

Pintxos are the lifeblood of the Bilbao restaurant scene. These small open-faced sandwiches involve a piece of bread and some meat or seafood with a garnish. Everything is held together with a small skewer or toothpick. These handhelds are perfect for eating on the go or at the bar and pair nicely with Spanish beer or Basque wine. You’ll find pintxos bars on every street, so it’s easy to find a solid snack when you’re on the go.

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Whether you’re looking for pintxos, gyros, or Asian street food, there are incredible options for street food in Basque Country’s largest city. Here are the best spots for street food in Bilbao:

The Best Bilbao Restaurants for Street Food

Casa Rufo 

Originally opening in the 1950’a as a small grocer, Casa Rufo has turned into one of Bilbao’s best delis. While it operates as a restaurant with an attractive dining room, there are takeaway options and a sidewalk patio for grabbing a casual bite. Expect regional cuisine, including pintxos and other small bites that are perfect for eating along the street with a glass of wine, an aperitif, or a small beer from their full bar. 

One of Casa Rufo’s best features is the option for takeaway. They have outstanding sandwiches and deliciously prepared dishes you can make a picnic with. Head to the nearby town squares or Estrella Miribilla park. Cured meats, regional cheeses, and fresh-baked bread are popular takeaway options. There are also wine and beer for stocking up for an afternoon in the lark. 

Baster 

Located in an incredibly historic part of town near the Bilboko Donejakue Katedrala, Baster’s outdoor Parisian-style seating is well-placed for people watching while you snack on pintxos and sip on local Basque wines or refreshing beer.  The dining room is an attractive option if you have a little more time, but the casual seating on the street for quick plates of patatas bravas, pintxos, and some of the best sandwiches in Bilbao. Zuritos (Basque for small draft beer) is refreshing to sip on, and pairs wonderfully with the snacks. They also have a homemade Vermouth if you want a lighter aperitif to drink while appreciating the views of the Cathedral. 

Café Bar Bilbao 

This retro café is more of a tapas bar, where the traditional cuisine of the Basque country is showcased. Café Bar is widely considered one of the best pintxos bars in Bilbao, and these snacks are the perfect street food or patio food. Their terrace on Plaza Nueva is the perfect place to take in the sun and enjoy a glass of wine or local beer with some pintxos or croquettes. 

They have free WiFi, so there’s an element of people getting some work done with a coffee and pastry during lunch, but this spot is a classic tapas bar, with a social vibe. A Spanish tortilla is a solid option, but everything on the menu is quality, from the cured Iberian ham to the incredible regional cheese. Their selection of Basque wine has enthusiasts and curious travelers flocking to Café Bar, and the business also enjoys a solid group of regulars who sit on the terrace and enjoy the scenery. 

Tuk Tuk Asian Street Food Bilbao

If you’ve had your fill of tapas and pintxos, then a visit to Calle de Fuencarral for some Southeast Asian street food is certainly your best bet. Tuk Tuk is a hole-in-the-wall restaurant with counter service that serves up some of the best Indonesian and Malaysian street eats. The most popular items are bap and laksa, as they are very easy to eat on the go. There are also green and red curries on the menu, which are incredibly delicious, albeit less like traditional street food. 

Tuk Tuk also carries imported and local beer, so it’s not uncommon to find the post-work crowd sipping on Estrella and snacking on bao on Friday afternoons. This spot also offers incredible value, with a menu of unbeatable prices, and generous portions. The bao buns can fill up the hungriest customer, and the casual atmosphere lets you easily order more if you’re still hungry. Tuk Tuk is open late, so it is a dependable option if you had too much Basque wine and not enough tapas earlier in the evening.

Guri Toki 

This cozy joint is one of the best pintxos bars in Casco Viejo. Guri Toki is famous for its creative pintxos combinations, and at one point was worthy of Michelin recognition. With a terrace on Plaza Nureva, Guri Toki offers the perfect place for sipping on Basque wine or beer while enjoying the people-watching and

Ordering is easy, with a bar displaying the cold pintxos or a chalkboard for ordering their rotating hot pintxos. There are weekly specials, which can range from funky taco creations to sliders. If you’re looking for the best street food in Bilbao, this is a can’t-skip destination. 

BilboBeer

No, this is sadly not a Hobbit-themed craft beer bar. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth stopping by for a snack and a pint if you’re near Berastegui Corner. This relaxed beer bar serves incredible street food. While there are plenty of Basque country tapas items on the menu, the most popular dishes have to be their grilled meat skewers. Delicious chunks of beef, chicken, and pork are served right from the grill and are perfect for eating on their patio or walking. They have a rotating menu of skewers, with some surprisingly flavorful options turning up every weekend. Sandwiches, burgers, and pintxos are also popular, especially as to-go options. 

Most of the regular customers come to BilboBeer for the incredible selection of international and Spanish brews. You’ll find dozens of options for Belgian, German, and Spanish beers. Don’t be surprised to find American craft beers on offer too! Whether you’re drinking, eating, or both, the fun atmosphere and delicious food are can’t-miss Bilbao street food experiences. Head over to Arenal Park with your skewers, or hang on the patio and sample beer from Europe’s best breweries. If you’re feeling like you overindulged on beer and pintxos, look into the best hikes around Bilbao to work off some of those extra calories. 

El Globo Taberna

The outrageous selection of different pintxos makes this an essential Bilbao tapas bar. The rotating menu features hundreds of different combinations, with a glass display that can guide you to the pintxos you’re truly craving. El Globo does have three mainstays on the menu: morcilla, crab gratin, and baby squid. These dependable pintxos have been perfected and are an incredibly popular street food fixture in Bilbao. Located near the Moyuako Geltokia train station, it’s ultra-convenient to get to this standout pintxos bar. There are dozens of other tapas bars in the area, so you can make a whole evening out of stopping for small plates and wine at a few different spots.

Kalí Órexi by Labocatorio 

Mediterranean Food is the perfect cuisine to serve on the street. Between the meat skewers, gyros, and veggie kebabs, Kalí Órexi serves up some of the best street food in Bilbao. Vegetarians and vegans also have a score of options at Kalí Órexi, with Greek salads and wraps. If you’re not taking your food to go, their sidewalk patio and bar is perfect for sipping on Basque wine, Spanish beer, and of course ouzo.

Happy River 

This is probably the best drinking spot on this guide. While the tapas, pintxos, burgers, and even sushi are all excellent, most customers come for the outstanding cocktails, cheap (like really cheap) wine, and unbeatable views from their patio. 

Lamb Kebabs at Cafe Iruña

Widely regarded as one of Bilbao’s best casual restaurants, this cozy spot has made its name off of the superb lamb kebabs and grilled meats. Carnivores from all over the world have enjoyed the charcoal-grilled meats off the spit. There are also wonderful pintxos, most of which are one-off creations from their rotating menu. Prices are very reasonable for skewers and pintxos but be careful about spending an entire evening here. The wine and beer can add up while you sample all the different options!

Bar El Figón

The attractive dining rooms of this pintxos bar are cozy and comfortable, but Bar El Figón earns its place at the helm of Bilbao street food with its gorgeous (and popular) covered patio. Nothing beats sitting outdoors and sampling pintxos with a delicious glass of local beer or Basque wine. Bar El Figón is located VERY close to The Guggenheim, which has some of the best architecture by Frank Gehry and a can’t-miss collection to explore and appreciate.

The Best Spots For Street Food In Bilbao 

San Mamés Stadium 

Athletic Bilbao is one of the most prominent soccer teams in Spain. It may not have the global recognition of Real Madrid or FC Barcelona, but this Basque club has one of Europe’s most loyal fanbases. It also has some of the best vendors around the San Mamés Stadium. Chorizo sausage on a bun, Spanish cider, croquettes, and even pintxos are all on offer around the stadium grounds, where hungry fans are looking for consolation when their Athletic Bilbao loses, or a celebratory snack when they are victorious! 

Pintxos on Plaza Nueva 

While this thoroughfare in Bilbao’s Casco Viejo/Old Town neighborhood gets more than a bit touristy in the summer months, it’s still an incredible scene to enjoy, and a hotspot for pintxos bars. La Olla, Sorginzula, and other Plaza Nueva mainstays serve up the popular finger food to scores of hungry locals and travelers. There are many different varieties to choose from, and because pintxos bars generally keep a rotating menu, there’s always a chance you’ll sample something truly surprising.

Calle Ledesma

This is one of the best streets in Bilbao for tracking down street food, especially pintxos. There are dozens of delis and bars lining the streets that offer quality bites, Bar Molinillo is notable for its creative pintxos, with toppings and combinations you have to taste to believe! Everything is vegetarian-friendly, with a few vegan options. After you’ve had your fill of finger food, explore this fashionable street and the surrounding neighborhood is a fantastic place to stay in Bilbao for excellent shopping nightlife, and more pintxos!  

La Ribera Market 

This market is second only to the world-famous Guggenheim Museum as Bilbao’s most-visited attraction, so a visit to Europe’s largest covered market should probably be on the itinerary. While the bulk of Merkatua La Ribera (known locally as “La Ribera”) is essentially a massive farmer’s market, there are outstanding options for grabbing a meal on the go or quick snack. 

La Ribera Gastro Plaza is your best bet, with plenty of stands and vendors serving a wide variety of tasty snacks. Everything is convenient, and every vendor accepts American Express at La Ribera. There is street parking available outside, and the entire market is wheelchair accessible. The market even serves alcohol! So you can sample Basque wines and Spanish beer along with lunch. The Candy Store is perfect if you have a sweet tooth and want dessert, with baked goods, coffee, juices, and some of the best churros in Bilbao. Southern Fry is ideal for getting croquettes, churros, and even tempura-style fried meats and vegetables (making it vegetarian friendly, surprisingly). 

Street Food Festivals In Bilbao 

The Feast of Saint Thomas 

The feast of Saint Thomas, traditionally a festival most prominent in rural Basque communities, marks the beginning of Christmas. Celebrated on December 21st each year, there are Christmas or festival markets set up in a town square where local food vendors, craftsman, and other merchants can sell their wares to hungry revelers. The most common foods served at The Feast of Saint Thomas, are Basque chorizo sausages, txakoli, pastries, Spanish cider, and churros. The festival is held every year in various town squares throughout Bilbao and is an incredible way to gear up for Christmas, as well as taste some delicious local street food. 

Conclusion

If you want to truly experience Bilbao and the Basque Country, then you’ll want to explore its bustling streets, take in the sights and sounds, and track down some amazing street food. There are hundreds of incredible pintxos bars, food carts, dive bars, and casual eateries that serve amazingly flavorful street food. So drop your bags off with Bounce and head out to grab some pintxos!

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