Our Story

Basque Cultural Center

The Basque community has a rich cultural heritage with a love of dance, music, food, pilota and more. Basques in the Bay Area would gather on Sunday mornings at the Helen Wills Playground at Broadway and Larkin Streets in San Francisco to play pilota (Basque handball) on the back wall of a bowling alley.

In late 1978, the owner sold the property and it was learned that the building was going to be demolished. After a long search and multiple denied requests to build a fronton (a handball court), members gathered to come up with a solution.

Basques banded together, donating and loaning money to open the member built Basque Cultural Center, where they could build a handball court and member’s hall. In order to offset the increasing costs of land and construction, it was decided to turn the “member’s lounge” into a restaurant.

Click image below for link to the BCC cultural page.

The members’ grand opening celebration took place on February 14, 1982, Valentine’s Day, appropriate because the place was built with love. The restaurant and bar opened to the general public on February 22, 1982 by restaurant managers Ganix and Anna Iriartborde and Chef Gabriel Elicetche (all members).
Today, the Basque Cultural Center continues to operate under the leadership of Director of Operations Aimee Goyhenetche-Rocha, and Executive Chef, Nash Rook.

Our Cuisine

There are specials every day at lunch and dinner, in addition to a daily prix fixe menu (previously called “family style”). The cuisine has an upscale appeal while welcoming in the casual diner. With three banquet rooms, a spacious dining room, and an outdoor covered solarium, the Basque Cultural Center hosts many diners, banquets and parties daily.

From various preparations of lamb, duck legs and fresh fish, the restaurant serves large portions with the flare of the old country.

The Basque Cultural Center has been recognized yearly by Zagat and numerous newspaper reviews for its great taste and service. Other acknowledgements include:

  • South San Francisco Chamber of Commerce’s 2002 and 2017 Outstanding Business Award in the category of Business Success.
  • Voted Best Bite of 2007 on a list of top 10 places for great tastes in San Francisco
  • Featured on KQED’s Check, Please! Bay Area “European Adventures” Themed Restaurants.

Dine in or Take Out

We are open for dine in and take out. Reservations highly recommended.

Basque Cultural Center

599 Railroad Avenue
South San Francisco, CA 94080
Free Parking


Wednesday 11 AM–2 PM, 5–8:30 PM
Thursday 11 AM–2 PM, 5–8:30 PM
Friday 11 AM–2 PM, 5–8:30 PM
Saturday 11 AM–2 PM, 5–8:30 PM
Sunday 11 AM–2 PM, 5–8:30 PM
Monday Closed
Tuesday 11 AM–2 PM, 5–8:30 PM