Best Fish in Basque Country: Meson Arropain

meson arropain review

The picture perfect town of Lekeitio has more to offer than stunning views and small town charm. It’s also home to what may very well be the best fish in Basque Country— and that’s saying a lot in the food-obsessed culture of Bizkaia!

Meson Arropain is a quaint Basque restaurant on the outskirts of Lekeitio (meaning it’s a whopping 15 minute walk from the center of town). It’s owned by Javier, a Basque man and Lekeitio local and his Tibetan wife, Sonam Dolma. He entertains guests while serving his dining room with pride, and she runs the kitchen, cooking fish after fish to absolute perfection.

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What we tried

best restaurant in Lekeitio
Homemade momos

Although the menu is undoubtedly Basque and specializes in fresh local fish, Dolma adds her Tibetan touch by offering an appetizer of Tibetan dumplings, momos. Delicious (though slightly out of place), I’m sure they are the best in the region and a way for local diners to connect to Meson Arropain on a more personal level.

Meson Arropain Lekeitio
Cured lomo ibérico

The menu is short yet it’s still difficult to decide. Luckily Javier brings us some complimentary lomo Ibérico while we debate. With something to nibble on and a refreshing glass of local txakoli, we aren’t in any rush.

fish soup at Meson Arropain in Lekeitio
Sopa de pescado

I couldn’t resist trying their famous sopa de pescado, fish soup in the classic Basque style. It was perfection in a bowl, and one of the most flavorful broths I’ve ever tried. I have set a personal goal to learn how to make this one day.

meson arropain review
Merluza a la koskera

For our main course we shared two fish dishes (although I would have liked to have tried them all). The Basque style hake with prawns and clams was covered in a delicious sauce and the fish was extremely fresh.

best fish restaurant in lekeitio
Lenguado

But the star for me was the simply grilled sole, literally cooked to absolute perfection. It was so simple but so flavorful and was truly a sign of how perfect technique and the best quality products can be magical. Forget sauce and spice, this is an example of simplicity at its best.

meson Arropain review
Brownie

Dessert didn’t measure up as is usual in our Spanish dining experiences. It was a brownie with ice cream, nothing more.

Our enormous meal (we were stuffed) with one dessert, one coffee and a bottle of wine came to 92€. We felt it was well worth it and a must stop in Lekeitio.

The Highs: Fish cooked to perfection in a home-like ambiance.

The Lows: The dessert simply wasn’t on the level of the food, which is a shame.

The Verdict: I will be back every time I’m in the region.

Meson Arropain

Website

Iñigo Artieta Hiribidea, 5

Comments

  1. Are those padron peppers with the sole? Are you able to get those often and what is your opinion of those?

    Especially enjoy your latest posts, Lauren. You seem to be on a roll. Keep it up please.

    1. Hi David! Thanks so much for the encouragement, it’s been really hard to find the time to write lately with Madrid Food Tour and Devour Barcelona so busy! But I’m definitely trying to keep a hold of Spanish Sabores and was excited to present the redesign (and have some fun projects in store!). Anyway– to your question! Yes, those are padrón peppers (which I adore), I especially love the occasionally spicy ones. Although they come from the north they are very popular in Madrid and I eat them often. Have you tried them?

      1. I’ve never had them on my trips to Spain but for some reason I have become obsessed with them recently just reading about them. Sounds kind of like edame Spanish-style. Next trip definitely.

      2. Not padron at all, they are pimientos de Gernika (they have a sort of DOI), or similiar, grown in the Basque country. Longer, and always sweet.

        And I am going there just for the momos!

  2. Reading this made me really hungry! This year I’m living in Logroño, La Rioja just south of the Basque Country, so I’m hoping to explore that region a lot. I’ll definitely keep this on my radar for when I visit! Thanks for sharing, even though now I might be forced to commit the equivalent of a Spanish sin and eat lunch at 12:30…

  3. Hi! I am LOVING your sites! Thank you so much for all the wonderful info! We are planning a trip in March 2020 and I’m wondering if we should stay in San Sebastian or Lekeitio?
    We are driving from Madrid up to the coast, if you have any recommendations for where to stop mid-way, I would be so thankful!!
    Beth 🙂

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