Nerua Guggenheim Bilbao

Bilbao, Spain

Modern art meets Basque masterpiece at the Guggenheim Museum

Nerua Guggenheim Bilbao

On the Pass

Josean Alija

What's it all about? Housed within Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum, Nerua’s chef Josean Alija draws from Basque ingredients to create culinary masterpieces worthy of the location. His professional path hasn’t been easy: after recovering from a motorcycle accident that left him in a coma for 21 days in the year 2000, Alija had to relearn how to recognise flavours.

What’s the vibe? From its prime position overlooking the Nervión River, from which the restaurant takes its name, climb the steps to Nerua and glide immediately into the open-plan kitchen. A well-illuminated salon sporting clean and earthy Scandinavian tones ensures diners focus on Alija’s food, usually plated on pristine white crockery that changes over three seasons.

Typical dishes: A vegetable- and seafood-dominant menu that allows just a couple of ingredients to shine per dish. Star turns include smoked-eel ravioli, beetroot and green apple; sole and clam cream; and borage with sea urchin and anchovy juice.

Worth noting: Upgrade to the Chef’s Menu for ‘18 Products’ as well as appetisers and sweet bites that cover all bases of Alija’s repertoire.