Etxebarri in Axpe on a Sunday, without reservations

Well, NOT the one Michelin-starred Extebarri upstairs, the 4th “best restaurant in the world” according to “World’s 50 Best Restaurants of 2023” but instead the “other” Etxebarri downstairs.

What is not known to many non-Spaniards is that Bittor Argonmaniz decided in 2018 to open Extebarri’s downstairs bar ONLY on Sunday mornings, starting at 11 am (more or less) for mere mortals, in the village and from further afield to show his appreciation to those in the village and from the surrounding area for their support over the years, from 1990, when this simple village “bar de pueblo” turned into an Asador, and subsequently became world famous.

Here on Sunday mornings until about 2 pm (when they run out of dishes), one can feast on a groaning board of lovely, elaborate pintxos and cazuelitas (little casseroles dishes).

Prices range from 3 for a pintxo (a gilda or a croquette, or a txistorra), to 7 euros for a small cazuelita such as migas topped with green Gernika peppers. to 12 for a larger dish.

To accompany these fine dishes, we enjoyed a red vermouth, or here called a “marianito”. One can have a lovely pre-lunch here for 15-20 euros, plus drinks.
Although we didn’t have dessert, apparently the same smoked milk ice cream that is served upstairs is also available (next time…)

This Sunday experience downstairs is so popular that in fact, by noon, the parking lot is filled as well as other parking spaces in this tiny village and by noon the line to order at the bar reaches out the door.

We arrived prompty at 11, for another walk around this charming hamlet of 1,500 inhabitants then waited patiently until the downstairs bar door opened.
(We had dined at THE Extebarri twice before and stayed overnight at the small rural hotel Mendi Goikoa, up the hill; this year staying at the delightful Oar Cottage in Garai also in the Duranguesado, just a short 15-minute drive south).

At the bar one can choose from a large array of elaborate pintxos that completely fill the bar space and larger popular and very traditional casserole dishes, such as callos, albóndigas, chipirones en su tinta, mejillones en salsa, etc.

One can sit at high tables surrounding the bar or low wood tables, or when it becomes extremely crowded, there are spill over benches outside on the Plaza de San Juan in front of the town hall, the frontón and the village church.

So, if you’re in the area on a Sunday between 11 and 2 and have struck out with snagging that highly coveted Etxebarri reservation, this is a way to sample Bittor’s cooking, created from the leftover ingredients of the week before the Mon. closure, at more than a mere fraction of the price. And it’s fun.


Hi ! I live nearby in France. Can I ask what time of year you were there ? Must try !

I was at Etxebarri this past Sunday, April 28.

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With your mention of Etxebarri…just an ‘off-topic’ comment.
Been eating lunches at establishments like Asador Etxebarri, Disfruta, Eleven Madison Park…etc, all ended up way over 4+ hours!! What’s going on?! They have to start putting patrons in ’ massage chairs ’ soon!
At a recent Disfruta lunch, everyone in our party complained about their buttocks hurt during ’ half-time ’ of our 28 courses plus tasting menu!! :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Thanks ! I’ll try to go in like November to see if its a bit less busy :grinning: Great tip though… ON my “list” !*

But I hope the 4 hours were worth it!

It was worth it for the first couple of hours or so. But fatigue started to set in and the novelty began to wear off! Sometimes, the wait between courses was a bit much too!

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