February 2019: Guia Repsol & Basque Restaurants

It's a mighty tome. It comes in a sturdy cardboard box with a carry tag.

Repsol [fuel], like Michelin [tyres], sponsor a guide encouraging motorists to travel to good restaurants, recommended hotels and visit intriguing locations. It’s available in printed form, on line and via an app, but it’s limited to Spain — and it’s island territories — and only available in Spanish.

The binding on the guide is a very large plastic spiral. Pages lie flat and very easy to access.

It has recommendations for restaurants and lodging locations all over Spain, plus a comprehensive map section and features on these topics and the personalities associated with them on the on-line version. 

Top: Typical text page with clearly identificable locations and a well organised heirarchy of information reflected in the typography.

Lower: Maps have a letter/number grid to locate recommendations in the text. Pages have two folds to be contained in the body of the book.

It's in two sections, the main text of alphabetically arranged locations and the map section arranged geographically east/west and north to south with each page having two folds and divided into a grid with numbers and letters to pinpoint the entries. 

The 2018 edition has an additional ‘inspiraciones’ book highlighting specific locations around Spain and the islands.

Design is by La FactorÍa, a specialist publication and web design company in Madrid.

The Guia Repsol has ‘Sols’ ['suns' 3/2/1 like Michelin stars] indicating the top establishments plus recommends for less sophisticated cooking too — accessible via a regional interactive map on the web and app versions. The ‘inspiraciones’ book has side bar features of recommendations by chefs and personalities from the hospitality industry.

Football's big in Bilbao. A Guia Repsol recommendation is the restaurant at the San Mamés stadium — especially on match days!

Some regions of Spain have a profusion of recommendations, others less so. We’ve mapped Guia Repsol recommendations for our favourite Basque region of Spain and we’ve also included the equivalent Michelin recommendations too. Some establishments have comparable recommendations from both organisations, others highly recommended by one are not even mentioned by the other! We've split the map to ensure all the recommendations are more easily readable.

Guia Repsol & Michelin restaurant recommendations in the western Basque region.

Guia Repsol & Michelin restaurant recommendations in the eastern Basque region. 

Symbols: °°° °° ° Repsol Sols, *** ** * Michelin Stars, 1: Repsol Recommendation, 2: Repsol Suggestion, ©: Michelin Bib Gourmand, ®: Michelin Recommendation

What's on the maps

Araba/Alava; Bizkaia/Vizcaya and Gipuzcoa/Guipuzcoa are the three Basque provinces. Vitoria Gastiez is the administrative centre for the whole region. We've also included northern Nafoarra/Navarra — Basque language and culture is prevalent south to around Iruña/Pamplona, a city with a lively bar culture and pinxtos scene.

Why bother with a guide?

As an indication of the sheer number of establishments visited and reommended, the guides are a great overview of the hospitality industry in Spain. Plus there's the possibility of finding yet more establishments off the beaten track — some surprisingly sophisticated  — and expensive, others offering amazing food at great prices.

Towns just beyond the Basque region but worthy of investigation are Logroño and Haro. Both are in the Rioja wine region; the former has a very lively pinxtos/bar scene and a number of recommended restauarants. Haro is a centre of wine production with bodegas offering tasting, tours and sales.

Try the web or app version

Here are some screen shots from the web version showing the entries and interactive maps.

Current home page and restaurant recommendations for Tolosa in the Basque Region.