Asador Etxebarri


Unbeatable barbecue from a humble Basque chef

Asador Etxebarri

On the Pass

Bittor Arguinzoniz

What makes it special: Set in a peaceful Basque village surrounded by mountains and lush greenery somewhere between Bilbao and San Sebastian, Asador Etxebarri is a truly magical destination restaurant. Food enthusiasts travel from all over the world to experience the culinary masterpieces created by chef Victor Arguinzoniz. With the help of a little fire, he transforms simple ingredients like milk and beef into extraordinary and unforgettable dishes.

Skills on the grill: In a small kitchen filled with custom-made grills designed by the chef, Arguinzoniz prepares a series of elegant dishes where the ingredient is king. There is no molecular gastronomy here, as the chef prefers to let the natural flavours take centre stage. Take for instance, a succulent red Palamós prawn simply grilled and served on its own, or the fresh mozzarella from the chef's buffalo served with a juicy tomato slice. Everything on the menu is touched by the grill, from anchovy on toast to the milk ice cream with beetroot that ends the meal.

On the menu: While locals may plump for the à la carte, the tasting menu is the best way to enjoy everything Etxebarri has to offer. Over 14 courses eaten in the spacious dining room overlooking the village square, customers enjoy Arguinzoniz’s homemade chorizo and seasonal delicacies like baby eels and sea cucumber with green beans. The star of the show is a juicy beef chop – it may look impossibly large, but its succulent texture and extraordinary flavour mean the plate is almost always sent back clean.

Humble beginnings: One of the best-loved chefs in the business, Arguinzoniz grew up around the corner from where the restaurant now stands, in a house without electricity and gas where his mother and grandmother would cook on the hearth. He has been passionate about cooking on fire for more than 30 years. Despite gaining recognition, including the Chefs' Choice Award and consistently ranking high in The World's 50 Best Restaurants list, he remains humble. Asador Etxebarri has only been off the list once since 2009 and currently holds the No.2 position.