More than a week has past since we arrived back home from visiting family and friends in Basque Country. Finally I had a moment to go trough all of our pictures and I can ensure you there were many. I have been wanting for a while to share some tips for how to get the most out of this region as a vegetarian. With this post I want to facilitate travelling in this area for all vegetarians and vegans. As I mentioned in an earlier post, it can be a challenge for a vegetarian or a vegan to visit Basque Country. If you rent an apartment you may of course prepare all meals yourself. But isn’t it nice not having to spend your holiday cooking and washing up several times a day? Although I find cooking highly pleasurable I sure do enjoy eating out during my holiday, getting some new inspiration for my green kitchen adventures.
My experience is that in Basque Country (and here I refer to Basque Country only since my experience regarding the rest of Spain is almost non-existing) it is difficult to find vegetarian courses on the menu, and even more vegan ones. There are some great vegetarian and vegan restaurants that serves only vegetarian and vegan food but sometimes it is nice with a bit of selection, am I right? In bigger cities you may find places like salad bars and such but in smaller cities, or if you want to try more genuine Basque cuisine, it is good to know that there are options. Below I am sharing a small list of bars and restaurants that serve vegetarian and vegan food. There are of course many more places but these are the ones that I have been to, returned to and that I like to recommend to others. At Happy Cow you can find more vegetarian and vegan eatings in Basque Country and all around the world.
1. Garibolo – My number 1 vegetarian restaurant in Bilbao! They serve great vegetarian, regional food. If you want to try something genuine from the Basque kitchen I definitely recommend this place. You get great service and you have a lot to look at with the walls being covered in photos, paintings and curious stuff. The man who runs the restaurant is very friendly and always stops by the table for a quick chat.
2. Muga – A vegan bar that serves different types of sandwiches, bocadillos, pintxos, hamburgers and other smaller dishes. While enjoying your meal you get to listen to some Rock Radical Vasco!
3. Borne – A small vegetarian and vegan friendly restaurant that also have meat on the menu. I have only been to this place once but I will never forget it. I believe It was one of the tastiest vegan meals I have ever had!
4. Zuga – This is the place to go if you want to eat pintxos. Pintxos is the Basque version of tapas (this is my definition) and are often served on a small piece of bread with a stick. Zuga is a bar situated in the famous Plaza Nueva of Bilbao. Zuga always has some vegetarian pintxos. There are lots of bars around Plaza Nueva that offer the most incredible pintxos. It’s an experience just walking around having a look inside the bars.
5. Landare – A vegan restaurant in San Sebastian that cook with seasonal produce. The food is wholesome, well balanced and nutritious in a very tasty way!
6. Finally I would like to add Raciones to my list. Racion is the spanish word for portion and if you order a racion you get a portion of food. Many bars have a list of raciones on their menus and one of the most typical once is Patatas Bravas. If you want something vegetarian to eat at a bar your best chance is the to have a look at the raciones. A few vegetarian raciones I have tried are: croquetas, pimientos verdes, patatas fritas, patatas bravas, ensaladas and queso. For lunch you could for example order a few raciones instead of having a formal restaurant meal.
Beside what’s mentioned above, the whole region is full of incredible fresh fruit and veggies. And oh, did I tell you about the tasty bread? Well, you don’t have to be hungry for long when there’s a fruteria and panaderia around every corner.
A racion of patatas fritas.
Beside eating we also enjoyed the sun in Mundaka, a small town by the sea famous for their great waves. A real surfers paradise!
Lunch at Garibolo. After a salad we enjoyed this bowl of gazpacho…
…followed by pimientos rellenos.
In Bilbao we enjoyed vegetarian pintxos at the bar Zuga.
Typical Pintxo on bread with a stick.
Another version with the bread on the side.
An old friend of Roberto has the most incredible huerta (a plantation or kitchen garden) that he manage with his family. We love to visit and to look at all the crops growing.
They have a big amount of different veggies and fruits.
Iris got some lovely flowers…
…and some seeds to bring home.
Iris practising her skipping skills.
Some of all the preserves that inspired me.
Who can say no to delicious pastry? Bollo de arroz and palmera.