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Bilbao is a paradise for lovers of good food.

Basque cuisine is served in Bilbao and has seafood as an essential ingredient in most recipes together with other local ingredients. It has a large number of good restaurants, several of which has stars in the Michelin guide.

Thanks to the city's proximity to the sea, fish and seafood are important ingredients in many of the dishes served by the local restaurants. Cod, hake, bonito, read bream, spider crab, small cuttlefish and anchovies are always present in the local cuisine and are used to prepare seafood casseroles such as "marmitaco", "zurrukutuna" and "pil-pil".

For the best Basque cuisine based on good seafood, try restaurants such as Guria, Matxinbenta, Zortziko, Amboto, El Perro Chico, Mandoya or Urrejola.

Apples are used to make the local cider. The other typical Basque drink is wine, the Rioja wine district lies to the south of the interior province of Alava.

Together with Rioja, the ultimate Basque aperitif which is served in local bars is the "txakoli", a light, acid and aromatic white wine which is the perfect accompaniment to the famous "pintxos", the Basque form of tapas, consisting of stacking peppers, seafood and miniature edibles in unusual combinations and skewering them with a toothpick. The barman will tally the toothpicks at the end. It is not the cheapest way to eat, but it is fun!

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