A foodie visit to Bilbao often means a case of having too many restaurant options to consider, with not enough time to experience everything on offer. With a limited number of evenings on our weekend getaway, and an array of Michelin star restaurants of noteworthy quality, the choice of where to dine really wasn’t a job for the faint hearted. There are many exceptional experiences to indulge the palette of even the most fussiest of gourmands, and our choice – Etxanobe, is right up there with them.

As were celebrating a special occasion (the other Mr. Highlife’s birthday), I had high hopes for an evening of good food and company, and we were certainly looked after well by the warm and charming Etxanobe staff. Setting-wise the decor was whimsical and of a very Basque taste, and the entire dining room swiftly filled up shortly after our arrival.

We opted for the tasting menu with wine pairing, which did not disappoint. This was a meal that included dish after dish of delectable delights including scampi with fresh pasta, hake in mussel and saffron jus, grilled scallop with mussel and vegetable ragout, a txangurro of prawn in bisque and even a dessert of white chocolate with orange cream on liquid nitrogen served at the table.

The Verdict
Etxanobe was a memorable evening of interesting, novel food concepts that I would highly recommend you try when in Bilbao. An attentive sommelier, efficient service and the highlight of the evening – a table-side visit by chef Fernando Canales added to the overall experience. Not be missed.

Restaurant – 8/10
Experience – 9/10