Basque cuisine has become renowned in the last twenty years not just as the finest in Spain, but as ranking among the best in the world. Cutting-edge chefs such as Martín Berasetegui, Juan Mari Arzak, and Andoni Aduriz, the stars of the nueva cocina vasca (new Basque cuisine), delight in creating inventive new combinations and preparations, and restaurants throughout the region are crowded with eager diners happy to pay premium prices for superb food.
That said, Basque food doesn’t have to be expensive. For visitors, the perfect way to sample it is in the form of pintxos, the Basque equivalent of tapas. Bar counters throughout the region, and above all in San Sebastián, are piled high with fabulously enticing and utterly delectable goodies, freshly cooked and almost invariably excellent. Usually priced at around €2, they’re so irresistible that you may find you never quite make it to a restaurant for a sit-down meal – but you’ll still come away raving about the Basque Country as one of the greatest foodie destinations on earth.
Seafood is a major ingredient of many Basque signature dishes. Look out especially for bacalao (cod) a la vizcaina or al pil-pil, merluza (hake) a la vasca, txipirones en su tinta (squid cooked in its ink) or txangurro (spider crab).