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Azurmendi, Larrabetzu

Legina Auzoa
Tel: 34 94 455 8866's insider take:

Since it opened in August 2005, Azurmendi has been one of the region's major hotspots—and the buzz is warranted. Set in a low-slung, warehouse-like building ten minutes' drive from Bilbao, the austere-looking restaurant is the atelier of 29-year-old chef Eneko Atxa. He likes to pair unexpected flavors, and is especially inventive with concentrated stocks and broths. The results, like his scallop à la plancha —topped with flying-fish roe and bathed in squid stock—are delicious. Not everything on the menu is trendy; some dishes, like his "textures of chocolate" dessert (a trio of chocolate ice cream, cake, and mousse), are pure and simple decadence. Be sure to order the excellent white txakoli wine (pronounced cha-coe-lee) from Azurmendi's own in-house winery; this crisp, dry, mildly sparkling wine, made from the area's hondarrabi zuri grapes, pairs perfectly with fish.

Mon.—Thurs. lunch only; Fri. and Sat. lunch and dinner. Closed Sundays.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.