Many cities in Spain don’t really do brunch – it’s a new concept that has become trendy in the last few years. Surprisingly, Bilbao has quite a few brunch cafés, where you can indulge in everything from huge brunch buffets to eggs Benedict, filled bagels and pancakes. You’ll also find classic bars, serving up typical local breakfasts of toasts, pastries and coffees. Here are ten of our favourite places to go.
Why not treat yourself to brunch at Europe’s largest indoor market – Bilbao’s La Ribera? This old Art Deco-style market is home to La Ribera restaurant and jazz bar, which serves brunch Tuesday to Sunday 10:30am-midday. The set brunch menu includes an anti-hangover juice, baked eggs with potatoes, rustic bread with tomato, a mini German kebab, fresh fruit, a carrot cupcake and a mango yoghurt, plus juice and coffee. It’s a lot, so go hungry! The brunch menu costs €15 and reservations are a must. If you prefer something smaller, they also serve daily breakfasts including croissants, toasts and homemade cakes.
The cosy Brass 27 café, with its white walls, wooden tables and black-and-white photos on the walls, serves up a different type of breakfast every day of the week. One day it might be scrambled eggs on toast, another it might be cake and coffee or even yoghurt and muesli. The big brunch days, however, are at the weekends, when a big buffet is on offer from 10:30am-2pm. The buffet includes everything from cakes and cheeses to tortilla (Spanish omelette) and mini-salmon pancakes. The brunch costs €15, however there is also a baby brunch available for €6.
This warmly decorated space is a café and a bakery in one, where you can order breads, pastries and cakes, paired with coffees and juices. If you’re after something larger, Panko also has scrambled eggs with bacon, cheese and herbs, or large sandwiches filled with a variety of ingredients. There are, of course, classic toasts with butter and jam or olive oil and tomato, too.
A classic old café and bar, Scala is located close to the contemporary Azkuna Zentroa, a culture and leisure centre housed in the old wine exchange and redesigned by Philippe Starck. Its breakfasts include croissants, pastries and toasts, as well as Spanish tortilla. Why not try the toast with butter and sugar, similar to a French toast – it’s delicious.
Situated in the Plaza del Ensanche, this cute little café and bakery has a decidedly French air about it. Choose from Wiché set breakfast pairings, which include things like a pastry, sandwich, brioche, toast or pintxo with a cup of one of their gourmet coffees or fruity tea infusions. They also serve a range of fresh juices.
This quaint little breakfast spot is a boutique bakery, so it’s just perfect for a quick breakfast. El Obrador Bilbao serves every type of bread you can think of, from soya and oat to cereal and four grain, as well as succulent cakes and pastries – try the brownies. If you feel more like a savoury breakfast, you can choose from flavoured focaccias, toasts and filled baguettes.
From fancy American-style brunches to classic Spanish breakfasts to chocolate con churros –churros are long fried finger doughnuts, which are eaten dipped in thick, dark hot chocolate. The most famous churros place in the city is Café del Arenal. Located in the Casco Viejo area near the the Arriaga Theatre, their churros are both spongy in the middle crispy on the outside, without being too oily. They also serve toasts, pastries and sandwiches, if you prefer something else.
One of the most celebrated, classic and historic café-bars in Bilbao, the Café Iruña dates back to 1903. Refined and elegant, it’s filled with Moorish Mudéjar-style arches, ornate columns and intricate wooden carvings, as well as sparkling chandeliers. They serve breakfast offers between €2.70 and €3.90, which include a coffee and pastry, a coffee and a pintxo, or any combination of these with a freshly squeezed orange juice. It may not sound as exciting as some of the other breakfasts, but this is a classic Bilbao breakfast, if you want to eat how the locals do.