For our full write-ups on Asador Etxebari in 2011 and 2013, please click here.
BEST ARE WE THERE YET?
Without any GPS and just some notes scribbled on printed out directions from Google Maps, we made it from Bilbao to Etxebarri in one piece and with plenty of time to spare before our 13:30 lunch reservation. This isn’t to say that we did not get lost along the way. On one of the many roundabouts we encountered, we accidentally took the wrong exit on one of them. And with Carla, my “trusty” navigator, slowly beginning to panic, I managed to get us back in the right direction. Luckily for us this was the only hiccup of our drive and the rest of the way was pretty manageable to navigate.
Google Maps suggest multiple ways to get to Etxebarri from Bilbao (below). The restaurant’s website also has directions on how to get there both from Bilbao and San Sebastian.
On our first visit to Etxebarri back in 2011 we had an egg yolk and wild mushroom dish that was as simple as it gets yet as delicious as any other mouthful I’ve had anywhere. This time around, the dish was remixed so that the egg yolk was slightly heated and the accompanying shaved mushrooms were truffles. Again it was just so simple, so well executed and so superb!
What more can be said that hasn’t already been mentioned in some tv show, printed publication or online blog about the steak and Palamos prawns that Etxebarri seems to serve year round – we had them in April 2011 and again in October 2013. These two items alone are worth the visit. The only change, and a welcomed one at that, is that in 2011 we were served only one prawn where as last fall we were served two.
BEST REPEATS PART TWO
We were served two desserts on both visits: the smoked ice cream with a berry sauce and the flan. And again, just like it’s savoury counterparts, these two items are worth the trip alone (I’m starting to sound like a broken record). On our second visit, we had to request for the flan as it was not part of the tasting menu that day.
BEST I DID NOT KNOW THAT WAS THERE
I always thought that Etxebarri had only one main dining room, but as it so happens, there is also a private dining room and an outdoor terrace. We were not asked if we wanted to eat at the outdoor terrace on both of our visits so I can only assume that it was closed both times.
As we left the restaurant and I pondered on the best meal of 2013, I encountered a group of men walking around with their black dress pants, white collared shirts, suspenders, flat caps and luparas around their shoulders. My mind immediately thought El Padrino and the mafia were in town but in reality, this is the way they still hunt around here. Old school.
The locals told me Atxondo (the municipality Etxebarri is located in) is “the place you can hear the silence”. A truly magical town in more ways than one.
BEST VISUAL GUIDE
Thanks for reading and happy eating,
Carla and Sonny