Wednesday 22 August 2018

Where to eat in San Sebastisn - Donostia

This is the first in a new series entitled, “Where to eat in…”. These posts will be a little different to my previous “Best of…” or “Beginner’s guide…” lists, as they will be more personally tailored to ten places where and what I like to eat when in a particular city. 

To make the list more accessible and suitable to any budget, I have left out the Michelin starred places in favour of a combination of those I’ve categorised as either a Must DoHidden GemTraditional or Personal Fave

Must DoGanbara (San Jeronimo Kalea, 19) 
A favourite of 3 Michelin starred chef Elena Arzak, Ganbara are lauded for their use of the finest seasonal and local ingredients. The crab tartlets are the perfect amuse bouche to enjoy while you wait for your selection from the day’s impressive display to be freshly cooked. 

Ganbara – Surtido de Setascon Yema

Ganbara – Espárragos Fresco

Ganbara – Antxoas

Ganbara – Angluas

Ganbara – Txipiron Plancha

Ganbara – Tartaleta de Txangurro

Must DoBar Néstor (Arrandegi Kalea, 11) 
The retired dairy cow txuleta steaks are what most head here for but my ‘must do’ is their legendary tortilla. Néstor cooks just two a day – served at 1pm and 8pm. To indulge, your best chance is to arrive a good 1/2 hour beforehand to put your name down for a piece; then hang around. This way, you’ll also have a seat for when the kitchen opens and steak orders are taken. 

They also offer a tomato salad and fried Gernika peppers (not Padrón peppers as most blog posts tells you). Note these are not sides and will be served before your steak arrives. I generally swerve the tomatoes but order the peppers. 

Bar Néstor – Pimientos de Gernika

Bar Néstor – Tortilla de Patatas, Cebolla y Pimientos

Bar Néstor – Txuleta de Vaca Vieja

Must DoAtari Gastroteka (Calle Mayor, 18) 
One of the busiest and best spots for people watching with its outside tables. It has a good vibe at both lunch and in the evenings. With regards to pintxos, they have an extensive selection on the bar and prepare various hot ‘classics’. Look above the bar for the specials boards too

Atari Gastroteka – Platillo de Bonito, Antxoas y Guindillas

Atari Gastroteka – Txipirón Relleno en su Tinta con Arroz

Atari Gastroteka – Callos al Estilo de la Amona

Atari Gastroteka – Espárragos de Navarro con Texturas de Coco y Mini Verduras

Must doA Fuego Negro (Calle 31 de Agosto, 31) 
For fans of ‘modern, experimental pintxos’, A Fuego Negro is a must do. For me, it’s at its best in the evenings when the neon lights and cool soundtrack maximise the vibe. They serve a pintxos ‘tasting menu’ (booking recommended) but I prefer propping up the bar and grazing. The Makobe slider is the thing that everyone orders but my favourite thing on the menu is the house pickles.

A Fuego Negro  Encurtidos de Kasa

A Fuego Negro  Aceitunas Con Vermu

A Fuego Negro  Black Rabas

A Fuego Negro – Makobe with Txips

Hidden GemLa Espiga (Calle San Marcial, 48
Being honest, there are no real hidden gems in San Sebastián but due to its location in Centro I consider La Espiga one as it’s not on the main tourist trail in the Old Town. As such, it has more of a feel of a place for locals. They serve one of my favourite dishes in San Seb… the Antxoas Galicia


La Espiga  Antxoas Galicia


La Espiga – Alcachofa Frita


La Espiga – Morro en Salsa


La Espiga – Seso de Ternera

TraditionalBar Haizea (Aldamar Kalea, 8) 
Sure there are swankier places dotted around with more exhaustive selection of pintxos but I always love the warm welcome and traditional vibe in Haizea

Bar Haizea- Espárrago Fresco

Bar Haizea– Manita de Cerdo

Bar Haizea– Foie Fresco con Manzana

Bar Haizea – Bañuelos de Bacalao y Gamba

TraditionalCasa Urola (Fermin Calbeton Kalea, 20) 
Another popular place, although not as much as some on the tourist trail. One of my fave dishes is their seasonal salad with coffee vinaigrette… don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.  

Casa Urola – Ensalada Primavera con Vinagreta de Café

Casa Urola – Anchoa en Salazón

Casa Urola – Foie a la Plancha, Pochas Estofadas y Salsa de Pato

Casa Urola – Alcachofa de Tudela, Mojo y Praliné de Almendra

TraditionalBar Sport (Fermin Calbeton, 10) 
In general, the food here may not be as gastronomic as some places that didn’t make this list but it has other qualities: they are amongst the first to open in the morning and stay open during “siesta” time. They serve a wide range of pintxos - both set out on the counter and on a chalk board. Service is always friendly, as are the old boys who prop up the bar.

Bar Sport – Txangurro al Horno

Bar Sport – Foie a la Plancha

Bar Sport – Erizo de Mar

Personal FaveBorda Berri (Fermin Calbeton Kalea, 12) 
My favourite place in San Seb. On every visit I always do my best to work my way through the entire menu as it’s all good! At Borda Berri you will not find counter displays of pintxos, instead they have a daily changing chalkboard menu which features signature dishes alongside seasonal specials. 

Borda Berri – Guisante Lagrima con Hongos

Borda Berri – Oreja de Cerdo con Romescu

Borda Berri – “Kebab” de Costilla de Cerdo

Personal FaveLa Cuchara de San Telmo (Santa Korda Kalea, 4) 
A close second to Borda Berri as my favourite place; the menu is similar and also features a daily changing chalkboard menu of signature dishes and seasonal specials.  


La Cuchara de San Telmo – Tomate Feo de Tudela, Remolatxa, Pepino a Idiazábal

La Cuchara de San Telmo – Pulpo Gallego con Berza y Tocino a Guijuelo

La Cuchara de San Telmo – Navajas Gallegas y Espárragos Navarros

La Cuchara de San Telmo – Oreja de Cerdo Prensada con Puré de Lentejas del Puy

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