We are often asked by our customers and friends about where to eat, how to get to, where to stay in San Sebastian. We are no experts but very keen tourists with an insatiable appetite for Basque cuisine and drink. In the following post we would like to share our discoveries in San Sebastian, beginning with; where to eat.
Donostia is famous for its gastronomy. The town and its surrounding area has the highest number of Michelin stared restaurants by square mile. Mugaritz, Arzak, Akelare are just some of the well know names. We salute these ambassadors of modern Basque cuisine but our focus is more on the everyday pintxo bars and restaurants. Ones you can visit several times during your stay and which will not make your credit card provider jump with joy.
Old Town Pintxo crawl
A Fuego Negro – Modern pintxo bar, famous for the mini kobe style burgers, a must try! Our Head Chef Tomaz spent a couple of weeks working here before we opened Donostia in London. To drink, try the Enate Chardonnay 234 from Somontano. www.afuegonegro.com
Txepetxa at Calle Pescaderia 5 which specialises in boquerones/white anchovies. A personal favourite is the coconut anchovy pintxo. Also worth trying the boiled chorizo. Drink: Txakoli!
Nearby is Bar Zeruko at Calle Pescaderia 10, a relatively new place but the spread on the bar is a sight to see! Eat…well, everything. www.barzeruko.com
Gandarias: traditional Basque pintxo bar and restaurant. There is a bit of a story with us and this particular restaurant. When we first stopped in Donostia to get some rest from driving all day from London we stayed in a hostel on Calle 31 de Agosto. I had never heard of San Sebastian until then and had no idea about the food. So when we ventured out looking for somewhere to eat we used a well know technique of spotting out restaurants where old geezers gathered. These guys have a nose for sniffing out good food at reasonable prices…they know! We had one of the best meals ever and can now credit their vaca vieja txuleton (old cow rib eye steak) as a life and career changing experience.
We visited Gandarias many times since and have become close friends with the owners who, once we decided to open Donostia in London, gave us loads of advice, put us in touch with their suppliers (Txakoli Agerre just one example) and fed us through some tough times during the restaurant opening period. Soon to feature on our menu is their Vaca Vieja Txuleton direct from Gandarias. Try the suckling pig, the roasted Gernika peppers, these are seasonal and available in summer only. The restaurant is also very good for simple rustic pintxos. Fantastic wine list featuring some well-known names from Rioja and Ribera del Duero. www.restaurantegandarias.com/en/
A video about Pintxos in Donostia and Gandarias
The fun thing in San Sebastian is to walk around and find your own food discoveries. The list above is just a small selection of popular places. Please add in comments below the many other pintxo bars and restaurants I have missed.
If you fancy taking a guided tour, I’d recommend Jon Warren, a friend of ours who runs www.sansebastianfood.com