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Mar 6, 2012 08:49 PM

Dinner in Bilbao for one night and dinner near Viura hotel in La Rioja, please help!!!

Me and my Girlfriend are planning a trip in Spain for this summer (end of July and begining of august). We are landing in barcelona and after 5 days, going up to San Sebastian for a couple of days. Want to do a day trip to Picos de europa and sleeping in Bilbao... After reading a lot on this board, i havent found a lot of info on Bilbao. We love food and food is always part of the planning of our trip! Can you please give me some suggestions of restaurants for à Nice dinner, but nothing out of this world price wise because à lot of our budget Will be spent in Barcelona and san Sebastian! It can be sit down and more formal or tapas style...

We will spend the next day in La Rioja and staying at Viura hotel in Villabuena. It looks like a very small village and not much choice for lunch and dinner... We will have a car so we can go around.... Should we go to Logrono???

Thanks in advance and sorry for some misspelling, im from Montreal and french speeking and my autocorrector is in french!

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  1. I forgot to mention that after Rioja, we are going to Madrid and in andalousia... Any recs are welcome!!!

    1 Reply
      1. re: gdeguise

        We spent a few days in La Rioja two years ago, staying at the Hotel Abalos (in Abalos - very near your location). We had breakfast and dinners at the hotel (convenient for enjoying the wine to the fullest), but we did enjoy 2 lunches out nearby.

        The first, and one we enjoyed most, was at the Bistro Restaurant at the Marques de Riscal hotel in Elciego. We did the tasting menu and really enjoyed the croquettes, fresh fish and cheese course. The hotel is modern and unique, and we enjoyed a relaxing coffee after in the library.

        The second was a place recommended by the hotel, Asador Lopez de Aguileta in Labastida (just 2 towns past Abalos). It was a very comfortable upstairs dining room, and I remember particularly enjoying the roasted red peppers and a local scrambled egg dish. The steak was nice too, but we had just been to Etxebarri the day before, so no comparison would be fair.

        When we came home, I did regret that we didn't do the tapas crawl in Logrono one night (I just wasn't comfortable with driving back to Abalos after all the wine we were sure to enjoy). Enjoy your trip!

      2. Hi, we just spent 5 days in the Rioja last week (base: Logrono), are in San Sebastian this week and on our way to Bilbao next. We also have not been able to find many restaurant tips for Bilbao yet, so cannot help you there.

        I just had a look at the website of your Hotel Viura, it looks fabulous. Wish we had known about it! Since you appear to be there only for a day or so, I would not recommend trekking all the way to Logrono. We did not find the Logrono food scene interesting. The much hyped Calle Laurel tapas crawl we found very average at best, including all the top places. Fun atmosphere on the street, but very average tapas. No comparison at all to the quality of pinxtos in San Sebastian.

        A short drive from your hotel is a tiny village called Paganos. We had lunch there at the highly rated Restaurant Hector Oribe. The food was terrific, the wine list very good, and the service very pleasant. You can order a la carte, or the tasting menu of 3 starters, one fish main, one meat main and dessert. We paid, I think, 38 Euros p.p. for the tasting menu, excluding wine. We thought it was good value for money. We can highly recommend it, and it is in a perfect location from your hotel. You need to book a table, telephone 945-600-715.

        Also, next door to Paganos, LaGuardia is a very charming town not to be missed. We didn't eat there, but it looked like there were some good options. Apparently Vinoteca has nice grilled meats. You will have to look into it.

        In Barcelona our favorites were Restaurant Coure and Restaurant Embat, we also liked Alta Taberna Paco Meralgo. Food was also excellent at HISOP, but service very cold and clinical, taking away from the experience.

        Enjoy your trip!