Located in the comarca of Lea-Artibai in the province of Biscay is the town of Markina-Xemein. You’ll find that eating in Markina-Xemein is a delight, as the town’s cuisine is based on fish and veal. There aren’t many restaurants and bars in Xemein where you can find the town’s traditional dishes.
Considered the capital of the Basque sport of pelota, Markina-Xemein offers great culinary variety allowing you to enjoy the local traditions. Search the town for the best fish recipes which, thanks to its proximity to the coast, includes a wide range of options. Order some good hake or classic monkfish, served grilled or roasted; both styles are popular when it comes to eating in Markina-Xemein.
If you want to experience the area’s most traditional flavors, be sure to order the best-known specialties: tuna stew with potatoes, cuttlefish in ink, and kokotxas (the bottom part of the whiskers of certain fish, often hake) in a green sauce. The most popular meat in Markina-Xemein is veal, usually served grilled alongside locally-grown produce such as tomatoes, peppers, or beans.
You can complete your feast with a nice tapa, like some famous Idiazabalcheese and a glass of Txakolide Vizcaya, the Basque Country’s most famous wine. For a sweet finish, be sure to try the local pastries, exemplified by kokotes, a fine triangle-shaped pastry covered in cream.
The only bar in town where you can get pinchos is the tavern Melo’s. Here you’ll be able to enjoy a wide selection of different pinchos, including rabas (calamari). If you order a glass of wine you won’t regret it, seeing as this is one of their specialties.
All of the à la carte options have a strong local character associated with the culinary tradition of Biscay. The restaurant Pitis is one of the most popular places in the town, an establishment with home-style cooking where you can get dishes made with locally-sourced products for a reasonable price. They have a good menú del peregrino (pilgrim’s menu) where you can order anything from steak and potatoes to a good bowl of lentils. At Restaurante Niko-Jatetxe you’ll find a decent daily prix fixe menu and a delicious veal fillet in sauce.
Itxas Lur is another place we recommend for eating in Markina-Xemein, due to their fare based on the Basque tradition as well as the fact that it’s an economical option. They have good meat and stuffed cuttlefish.
A good option for eating in Markina-Xemein is the cider house Axpe, where it’s possible to try the cider produced in-house. However, customers must cook their own food, and the owners supply the necessary cooking implements as well as all the cider you can drink.
If you’re looking for someplace in Markina-Xemein that specializes in wedding celebrations, communions, and special events, Bauskain Farm offers customers everything that is needed to host events like these. They make delicious oysters.
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