Open restaurants in Bilbao on Sunday nights seem to be as rare as low Spanish unemployment rates. The desk at Hotel Miro pointed us to Larruzz, and we got a marginal meal. The modus opperandi is to serve the tourist trade, as the little touts on the table reassure you, and indeed, the crowd seemed to be all tourists when we dined. Ambiance is faux bistro, maybe a hundred or so covers, nice big windows if you get a good table (we did), and not too bright lighting.
Beef carpaccio and tuna carpaccio to start were very nice, and the highlight of the meal. Paella is the big deal here, with a dozen dry paellas, and a similar number of the more liquid style. We had the dry shrimp (two shrimp) and prawn (exactly one prawn) paella, which was okay, with decent shellfish stock base, and the moister baby octopus and artichoke paella. In a non-miracle, the artichokes seem to have transmogrified into green beans; no excuses or apologies were offered. Both paellas were overly imbued with oil. Desserts were awful; the worst kind of portion-controlled, pre-made, mass market dreck. The cheese cake with strawberries and cream was bland cheesecake with a thin top layer of processed berry product, and the cream had been replaced with honey. No explanations here either. Apple tart was vague and mostly dry crust.
The two waitresses struggled to handle the crowd (about 75% full), so service was not a strong point. Stemware was really crude compared to a lot of less expensive places we have dined in two weeks in Spain. Food and wine were overpriced for the mediocre quality. Split of inferior cava, bottle of rosé, two starters, two paellas, two bad desserts, and a couple of coffees came to 97€. Come if you have to on a Sunday night, but consider the virtues of fasting first.
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