Café Iruña - Pamplona

The Café Iruña has been around for over a century in Pamplona and has come to be an integral part of the city, sharing in its history. Due to its historic standing, this Spanish restaurant serves mostly traditional Spanish food and at a reasonable price.

The Restaurant

The Café Iruña certainly embodies the spirit of Pamplona and its history. It was founded in 1888 in the 'Plaza del Castillo' (Castle Square) by a group of people from Pamplona. The name comes from the Basque language's name for the city of Pamplona, 'Iruña'. Furthermore, this restaurant was the first establishment in the city to have electric lights installed.


When it first opened its doors to the public, Pamplona was in the middle of the famous Sanfermines celebrations and according to some of the publications of the time, was filled to the ceiling with people. Consequently, year after year, this café has become a meeting place for locals and tourists alike during this annual fiesta. If you ever visit Pamplona during the Sanfermines, and need a break from running in front of the bulls, you could always stop for a traditional drink and a meal at the Café Iruña like so many people in history have done before you.

Aside from being so popular during the Sanfermines, the cafés other claim to fame is that it was often visited by the American writer, Ernest Hemingway. In fact, just next to the café there is a section devoted to the famous writer called Hemingway Corner that you can visit on prior request. This spot is a tranquil place in the old quarter of the city and is perfect if you want a quiet place to relax, just as Hemingway did all those years ago. The Café Iruña pays their own homage to Ernest Hemingway with a large bronze bust of the writer which can be found at the end of the bar.

Entering the interior of the restaurant is like stepping back in time. The Café Iruña has tried to maintain as many of the original features as possible including the lights both hanging from the ceiling and those held by the female statues along the walls, the intricate wooden windows, the giant mirrors on the walls and the fantastically beautiful columns that span the whole length of the café. The café is an exhibition of the finest architecture and interior design from the 19th Century.

Aside from the main café and dining rooms, the Café Iruña also has a large terrace at the front of the restaurant which is open during the summer months. This terrace is the perfect place to enjoy a cooling drink while watching the people milling around the 'Plaza del Castillo' (Castle Square).

The Menu

The Café Iruña does not have an 'à la carte menu' as such as it is more of a café-restaurant. However it does offer a Daily Menu and then separate menus for Fridays and Saturdays. The menus also change depending on the season so you can be assured that you are eating correctly for the time of year.

Some of the highlights of the Café Iruña's menu include 'Filete de Ternera a la Plancha con Patatas Fritas y Piquillos' (Veal fillet steak with chips and Piquillo peppers), 'Filete de Lenguado a la Romana' (Sole fillet romana style), and 'Chipirones rellenos en su Tinta con Arroz Blanco' (Baby squid in red wine sauce with white rice'.

Due to its historic status and classic appearance, the Café Iruña also offers itself as a location for weddings and banquets. For this, the Spanish restaurant provides a special menu that is both traditional and vanguard. So if you ever travel to Spain to tie the knot, why not hold the ceremony at this famous restaurant in Pamplona!