The Best Restaurants in Pamplona, Spain

Fine-dining Verdurarte is just one of the many top restaurants you should try in Pamplona
Fine-dining Verdurarte is just one of the many top restaurants you should try in Pamplona | Courtesy of Verdurarte
Culture Trip Travel Team

Pamplona sits in the centre of the Spanish province of Navarra, where verdant Pyrenean pastures gradually give way to the semi-arid Spanish heartland. Bordered by France to the north, the Basque Country to the west, La Rioja to the south and Aragon to the east, this formidable combination of neighbouring cuisines blends with Navarra’s own culinary sensibilities. As such, dining out in Pamplona is a highlight of visiting the city. Here are some excellent restaurants to explore.

1. Baserriberri

Restaurant, Spanish

Baserriberri_IMG_8970
Courtesy of Baserriberri Restaurante

Quick to prove Pamplona’s haute cuisine credentials is Baserriberri, where everything from dry ice to colourful foam patterns atop your beer are employed to add that little bit of extra flair to your dining experience. Innovation extends to the dishes, too. The bOOmVeja is the source of the aforementioned dry ice, concealing the Thai-style lamb, sheep’s milk bread and truffled lactonesa (mayonnaise without the egg) within. The presentation here really is unmatched – little wonder, then, that it’s listed in the Michelin Guide.

2. Bar Gaucho

Bar, Restaurant, Spanish, Beer, Wine, Cocktails

If this is your first time in northern Spain, you’re in for a gastronomic treat in the form of pintxos (pronounced “pin-choss”), which are a smaller, more creative form of tapas. Bar Gaucho is a tried-and-true pintxos bar that doesn’t skimp on the portions, and where you’ll find some really unique combinations. The txaka, salmón y gulas (crab, salmon and baby eel) pintxo is emblematic of what you can expect. A seasonal delicacy is the erizo: a sea urchin stuffed with a mix of seaweed, garlic and olive oil.

3. Bar Chelsy

Bar, Restaurant, Spanish

Traditional pincho in the Basque Country, Green Chille peppers with anchovies and olives, Pintxo, Gilda, Piparra.
© agefotostock / Alamy

If the menu at Bar Gaucho all sounds a little bit intense, there are many far less bizarre pintxos available, too. A gilda is one type found all over the north of Spain that combines olives, anchovies and mild chili pepper. Bar Chelsy does great gilda using piparras – sweet chilis from Navarra. The house pintxo is the Chelsy Crock, which combines crispy chicken, mustard and honey. The tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelette) here is also highly recommended if you’re less keen on pintxos.

4. Verdurarte

Restaurant, Spanish

Verdurarte_BORRAJA_AUTOR-PABLO-GÓMARA
Courtesy of Verdurarte

Across the road from the Citadel of Pamplona is Verdurarte, a modern fine-dining restaurant, whose name is a portmanteau of the Spanish words for vegetables and art. Head chef Nacho Gómara’s mission is to make locally grown vegetables the central focus of the dishes. That doesn’t necessarily mean vegan dishes all the way, but the Spanish imbalance between meat and veg is redressed somewhat. Take, for example, the local dish of artichoke hearts with borage, beans and clams – or the menestra de verduras, a stew made from vegetables picked that same day.

5. Anttonenea

Restaurant, Spanish

If it’s meat you’re after, look no further than the grill restaurant Anttonenea. This unpretentious, fine-dining restaurant’s tasting menu is the star of the show and changes regularly. The emphasis is on recipes from the Navarra region and its neighbouring cuisines. Past favourites have included a foie mille feuille with goat’s cheese, caramelised apple and chocolate bread. Slightly less unusual is the grilled octopus with fried peppers and roast potatoes.

6. Rodero

Restaurant, Spanish, Mediterranean, European

Family-run Rodero is one of the three Michelin-starred Pamplona restaurants. Diners are seated in a simple space, amid a modern mix of wooden flooring, low lighting and wainscoted walls. The fireworks are reserved for the plates, with unusual and creative concoctions such as smoked eel with cockles, chili peppers and a bean nectar, whatever that is. On the tasting menu, a house speciality that won the hearts – and stomachs – of the Michelin judges was the cremoso de foie, a creamy foie with quince, pine nuts and a grenache sauce.

7. Herriko Taberna

Restaurant, Spanish

Herriko Taberna_DSC03756
Courtesy of Herriko Taberna

For a more arty, down-home vibe – where great effort is still taken in the preparation and presentation of the dishes – take a look at Herriko Taberna, in the north of Pamplona’s Casco Viejo district. While you’ll find plenty of intriguing dishes, such as the grilled tuna steak with guacamole and tomato vinaigrette, Herriko is best known for its excellent vegetarian tasting and à la carte menus. Try the albóndigas de mijo: millet meatballs with coconut milk and vegetables.

8. Bodegón Sarria

Restaurant, Bar, Spanish

Looking for that quintessential Spanish dining experience? The one with the hams hanging from the ceiling and where people throw their used napkins on the floor to show their approval of the food? Well, Bodegón Sarria is as good as it gets. The hanging hams are plentiful and every space of the bar is crammed with different pintxos, which themselves are portioned generously. The tortilla and the deep-fried aubergine with gulas (baby eels) are popular options.

9. Oveja Negra

Restaurant, Spanish

Often, inventive cuisine comes with an innovator’s premium added to the prices – but not at Oveja Negra. The name, meaning Black Sheep, is anything but a disgrace to its fellow restaurants. Simple pintxos include cod croquettes and Russian salad – but the real bargain is the three-course menu of the day, with options on the mains list that include roast pork knuckle with sweet potato puree. Leave some room for the goxua de pamplona – a regional dessert of whipped cream, sponge cake and caramelised custard cream.

Looking for somewhere to stay while you’re here? Book into one of the best hotels in Pamplona, or opt instead for a top family-friendly stay. If you’re looking for inspiration for your itinerary, look no further than the top reasons why you should visit Pamplona.

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