Getting down to work

Do you know how many dishes have sardines as their main ingredient?

Sardines are delicious small fish that can be cooked in any number of ways, from the most basic to the most sophisticated.

Pick your favourite recipe and get cooking. On egin!

Sardinas marinadas -Santurtzi
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Marinated sardines

Marinated sardines are prepared in much the same way as marinated anchovies. It couldn’t be easier, and the results are mouth-watering.

Ingredients for four people:

  • 2 dozen sardines;
  • vinegar;
  • virgin olive oil;
  • garlic; 
  • parsley and
  • salt.

Clean the sardines and remove the spine.

Then wash the resulting fillets in very cold water to ensure that they are properly clean.

Dry them on kitchen paper. 

Then place them carefully in a glass dish and cover them with vinegar.

Let them macerate in the fridge for around 3 hours. By then they will have turned whitish.

Drain off the vinegar and season the fillets with virgin olive oil, finely chopped garlic and chopped parsley.

And that’s all there is to it: they’re ready to eat.

Sardinas a la brasa en Santurtzi
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Grilled sardines

Learn to prepare finger-lickingly good grilled sardines Santurtzi style.

Sardines from the Bay of Biscay are not available all year round. The season runs from June to November, though the fish are at their tastiest in mid July around the time of the Feast of Our Lady of Carmel, the patron of Santurtzi.

To be sure that a sardine is fresh, check that it is bright silver in colour, its eyes are clear and bloodless, its body is firm and its gills are bright red.

Sardines go off after 2 or 3 days and begin to smell bad.


  • Fresh, top-quality, medium sized sardines.
  • Coarse salt


The first step is to prepare the fire.

Wood embers are best for grilling, though charcoal is easier to come by.

Light the fire and let the flames die down slowly until only the embers remain. If there is a flame the embers are not yet ready, so wait a little longer. Flames can burn the sardines.

Get the whole sardines ready, without gutting them or removing the scales, so as to protect the flesh while cooking. Add salt.

Place the grill about a hand’s breadth from the embers and arrange the sardines on it.

The grills used to cook sardines are called pailas in Santurtzi.

When the tails of the sardines begin to char, the fish is ready. Season with coarse salt on both sides and serve accompanied by a slice of bread.

They should be eaten while hot, using your fingers: hold the head in one hand and grab a piece of flesh from the back with the other. Pop it straight into your mouth to get the full flavour.

We recommend washing sardines down with Bizkaiko Txakolina designated origin txakoli wine.

Sardinas a la cazuela - Santurtzi
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Casseroled sardines

This recipe is based on one published by Ana María Calera in her book La cocina vasca (1978). A simple, economical, tasty dish for the whole family.

Ingredients for four people:

  • 2 dozen sardines;
  • salt;
  • 1 onion;
  • 2 chilli peppers;
  • 2 cloves of garlic;
  • olive oil;
  • tomato sauce;
  • 1 small glass of white wine;
  • parsley and breadcrumbs.

Sauté the onion, garlic and chilli peppers, and when they are almost done add 1 small cup of tomato sauce.

Place the sardines on the sauce and add 1 small glass of white wine, a spoonful of vinegar and some breadcrumbs. Place in the oven for 10 minutes at 180ºC.

On removing the dish from the oven, sprinkle it with a little chopped parsley.


Places to eat in Santurtzi

Restaurante Mandanga (el hogar del pescador), Santurtzi

Mandanga Restaurant

Grilled fish, Basque cuisine
Suharri Santurtzi

Suharri Restaurant

Grilled meat and fish, winner of the pintxos contest
Kai Alde Berria, restaurante más antiguo deSanturtzi

Kai Alde Berria Restaurant

Grilled meat and fish
restaurante La Oficina, Santurtzi

La Oficina Restaurant

Homemade food, pintxos
Restaurante Casa Galicia Santurtzi

Casa Galicia Restaurant

Traditional Basque and Galician food.
Restaurante Hoberena, Santurtzi

Hoberena Restaurant

Traditional Basque cuisine