Tag: Basque restaurants

New restaurants reflect contemporary Basque dining in the US


Family-style dining, often in an historic hotel premises, has been at the heart of traditional Basque-American gastronomy for years. But in recent times a different kind of Basque restaurant has burst onto the scene offering a more contemporary twist on the Basque dining experience.

One of the latest of these to emerge is Urdaneta in Portland, OR.  Chef Javier Canteras, the winner of a reality show, used his $150,000 prize to establish the restaurant, which will open in mid-July and is based on the cuisine of the Basque Country and northern Spain, including pintxos, hand-carved Spanish ham, and tortilla. Check out two reports on this new restaurant here and here.

Urdaneta is following in a more recent trend in Basque-American dining that was established by the likes of Basque bistro Fringale in San Francisco, originally opened by chef Gerald Hirigoyen and J.B. Lorda in September 1991, and now owned by Jean-Marie Legendre; and Hirigoyen’s new venture with the “West Coast Basque cuisine” of Piperade, also in San Francisco, which he opened with his wife Cameron in 2002.

Diners in Southern California can now also get a flavor of the Donostia pintxo experience at A Basq Kitchen in Redondo Beach, where owner Beñat “Chef Bernard” Ibarra brings the flavors of authentic Basque cuisine to Los Angeles’ Southbay. See a report on this restaurant, which opened just last year, here.

The East Coast, too, is not short of contemporary Basque dining options, with New York home to (among others) Alex Raij and Eder Montero’s  Txikito and the pintxos bar Huertas, And further down the coast is La Bergerie in Alexandria, VA, founded in 1974 by the brothers Bernard and Jean Campagne-Ibarcq, which offers a range of French and Basque cuisine.

This list, which is by no means comprehensive, serves to highlight a new trend in Basque-American dining toward a more contemporary culinary experience. That said, there will always be a place for the traditional family-style experience of the Basque-American restaurant.

If you’re interested in Basque food, check out a publication from the Etxepare Basque InstituteOn Basque Cuisine, by Hasier Etxeberria, which is available free to download here.




Prominent Basque presence among latest list of world’s top restaurants

Restaurant Magazine has just published its influential annual listing of the world’s best restaurants, among which the Basque presence is as strong as ever.

Two Basque restaurants feature in the Top 10 list:

At #7 is Mugaritz, in Errenteria, Gipuzkoa, run by Andoni Aduriz, “the natural heir,” in the opinion of Restaurant Magazine, “to the title of Spain’s most pioneering chef after Ferran Adrià.” See the magazine’s full description here.


Entrance to Mugaritz. Photo by Krista, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

And coming in at #10 is Asador Etxebarri, in Atxondo, Bizkaia, run by Victor Arguinzoniz, who “taught himself to cook and built his own kitchen full of manual grilling contraptions using multiple types of wood. Known for his devotion to the barbecue, he is rarely seen out of the kitchen.” See the magazine’s full description here.


Steak at Etxebarri. Photo by Krista, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

At #16 is Azurmendi in Larrabetzu, Bizkaia, run by Eneko Atxa, followed by Juan Mari Arzak and Elena Arzak’s emblematic Arzak in Donostia at #21, Nerua, in Bilbao, run by Josean Alija, at #59, and Martin Berasategui’s eponymous restaurant in Lasarte-Oria, Gipuzkoa., at #59. 

If that were not enough to demonstrate just how much Basques punch above their weight when it comes to world-class cuisine, two other Basque-run restaurants outside the Basque Country also made the top 100 list: Biko, in Mexico City, run by Mikel Alonso and Bruno Oteiza, at #43; and  Le Chateubriand, in Paris, run by Iñaki Azpitarte, at #74.

Check out the full list here.

For a general introduction to Basque food, check out Hasier Etxeberria’s On Basque Cuisine, available free to download, courtesy of the Etxepare Basque Institute, here.

Rockin’ the foodie charts-Basque represent!

Out of the top  10 restaurants in the world, only two are from the same “country,” one of them being from the Basque Country more specifically. And, even more impressive than that, out of the top 20 restaurants in the world, a whopping FOUR (that is 1/5th everyone!) of the restaurants are from the Basque Country!


Juan Mari Arzak and his daughter Elena, who jointly run the Arzak Restaurant in Donostia-San Sebastián. Photo by Javier Lastras, via Wikimedia Commons

Within the Top 20 are:

#6 Mugaritz

#13 Asador Etxebarri

#17 Arzak

#19 Azurmendi

What does this mean for the Basque people?  Well, many things I assume, but I’m guessing it has and will continue to bring in more awareness of Basque culture and its talents and adaptability in the modern world.  This combination of nostalgia and invention go hand-in-hand to continue giving recognition to and set these people apart in the globalized society.  And this may in part be exactly what the culture needs to stay alive.

Click below for the full list of restaurants: