San Sebastian

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dcornutt
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#1 Post by dcornutt » April 30th, 2015, 1:45 pm

I am going to Etxebarri to eat a nice meal.
I want to visit some place in or near San Sebastian also.
Arzak?

Open to all choices not just high starred restaurants.
Thanks.
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#2 Post by Doug Sher » April 30th, 2015, 3:47 pm

I must confess that it has been a while, but the last time I was in San Sebastian I really enjoyed my meal at Rekondo, on Monte Igeldo. The chuleton was very good, but the best part of the restaurant was the 100,000 + bottle wine cellar. I ordered wines from both my and my dining partners birth years (1958 and 1970) for something like $100 between them. Looking at the web site, the restaurant appears to be quite a bit fancier than it was at the time of my visit but the cellar still seems quite good.

Here's a link to their web site: http://www.rekondo.com/about/index.html

Here's a link to the todo pintxos site, which provides ratings for individual pintxos dishes currently available just in case you wish to stop for one or two: http://www.rekondo.com/about/index.html . The Cuchara San Telmo, Gambara and Bar Bergara were all excellent.

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#3 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » April 30th, 2015, 4:22 pm

It's actually Ganbara, not Gambara (common mistake - even the NYT made it and had to issue a correction a few years ago), but agreed it is excellent. We are often there more than once in a day, regardless of where else we are eating. Go there. Just do it. Go other places, too, but do not miss Ganbara. Ask for Amauir (sp?) one of the sons of the family who run it. He speaks good English and has become a friend. You can safely put yourself in his hands, asking for whatever is most fresh, with very little done to it. Avoid the plates of pintxos sitting out - they are all good, and will tempt you, but they do not hold a candle to the cooked dishes you can order. Drink sherry, or rose or txakoli for 3 EUR a glass and you'll be very happy.

We had a terrible experience at Arzak. Inexcusable service errors, and only decent, but often silly food (dry ice? An iPad with waves under the see-through plate of a lobster salad? Ugh) made for the worst 3* experience we've ever had. I posted about it on this board. There are actually quite a few threads about San Sebastian dining you can search for....

We love Mugaritz, and have been several times, but others do not. We love Elkano, as do most. We're going to Ibai for the first time on our upcoming trip and will report back. When are you going, Don? We'll also be hitting Etxebarri on the trip from Galicia to San Sebastian. The three previous meals we've had there have all been delicious and a true pleasure.

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#4 Post by RyanC » April 30th, 2015, 4:27 pm

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:It's actually Ganbara, not Gambara (common mistake - even the NYT made it and had to issue a correction a few years ago), but agreed it is excellent. We are often there more than once in a day, regardless of where else we are eating. Go there. Just do it. Go other places, too, but do not miss Ganbara. Ask for Amauir (sp?) one of the sons of the family who run it. He speaks good English and has become a friend. You can safely put yourself in his hands, asking for whatever is most fresh, with very little done to it. Avoid the plates of pintxos sitting out - they are all good, and will tempt you, but they do not hold a candle to the cooked dishes you can order. Drink sherry, or rose or txakoli for 3 EUR a glass and you'll be very happy.

We had a terrible experience at Arzak. Inexcusable service errors, and only decent, but often silly food (dry ice? An iPad with waves under the see-through plate of a lobster salad? Ugh) made for the worst 3* experience we've ever had. I posted about it on this board. There are actually quite a few threads about San Sebastian dining you can search for....

We love Mugaritz, and have been several times, but others do not. We love Elkano, as do most. We're going to Ibai for the first time on our upcoming trip and will report back. When are you going, Don? We'll also be hitting Etxebarri on the trip from Galicia to San Sebastian. The three previous meals we've had there have all been delicious and a true pleasure.
This. I'd do Mugaritz if you're open-minded and adventurous. I was also underwhelmed by Arzak (except for the killer list of old Rioja), although not as much as Sarah. Elkano is spectacular. I also loved the little seafood places adjoining the harbor/fishing boats. Super fresh, excellent seafood. Numerous other excellent options. I'd love to go to Rekondo.
C@ughey

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#5 Post by ybarselah » April 30th, 2015, 4:51 pm

Elkano

Rekondo
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#6 Post by dcornutt » May 1st, 2015, 2:21 am

Thanks everybody! Great information.

Sarah. We are going in September near labor day in the US. Leaving on the 5th of September.
Looking forward to hearing about your experience this year.
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eat or drink,because eating without a friend is the life of the lion or the wolf." Epicurius

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#7 Post by doug johnson » May 1st, 2015, 6:52 am

I also had a poor experience at Arzak (ok food at best and some inedible food that got returned to the kitchen and poor service and attitude as exemplified by the waiter knocking over a glass of wine and then arguing with me over my suggestion that maybe the restaurant should attempt to replace the spilled wine).

If Arzak is ever as good as their reputation it must be the most inconsistent Michelin 3 star restaurant.

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#8 Post by Russell Faulkner » May 1st, 2015, 9:48 am

We didn't feel the need to try the fancy places in San Sebastian, we ate amazingly and cheaply by following our noses.

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#9 Post by Philip Ente » May 1st, 2015, 11:27 am

Side bar.

We will be in this area in September for 3 days.
Better to do 2 nights in Bilbao and one night in San Sebastian or vice-versa?
Also any restaurants recs in Bilabo

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#10 Post by ybarselah » May 1st, 2015, 11:38 am

Philip Ente wrote:Side bar.

We will be in this area in September for 3 days.
Better to do 2 nights in Bilbao and one night in San Sebastian or vice-versa?
Also any restaurants recs in Bilabo
5 nights in San Seb, zero nights in Bilbao.
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#11 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 1st, 2015, 12:57 pm

Agreed - no need to spend a night in Bilbao. Head there for the museum one morning and have lunch at Etxebarri on the way back to San Sebastian, or at Azurmendi, which is just outside Bilbao. I liked it more than my husband did.

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#12 Post by MBerto » May 1st, 2015, 2:49 pm

Don't bother with restaurant reservations in either city. Head out to the "old town" (both have pretty distinct old downtowns) and just walk around to the crowded places. Note that nothing will be remotely crowded before 10pm. Hit at least 4-5 places, finishing up around 2. SS is best for this, but don't discount Bilbao - it's worth at least one night.
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#13 Post by M Mager » May 1st, 2015, 2:52 pm

Doug Sher wrote:I must confess that it has been a while, but the last time I was in San Sebastian I really enjoyed my meal at Rekondo, on Monte Igeldo. The chuleton was very good, but the best part of the restaurant was the 100,000 + bottle wine cellar. I ordered wines from both my and my dining partners birth years (1958 and 1970) for something like $100 between them. Looking at the web site, the restaurant appears to be quite a bit fancier than it was at the time of my visit but the cellar still seems quite good.
+1 on the comments above about Rekondo. Great breadth and depth on older Spanish wines (especialy Rioja) at pricing that puts American restaurants to shame. Last time we were there, had a sublime bottle of 64 RLdH Tondonia GR, at cost that was significantly less than the price the bodega was offering during one of their library releases at about the same time.

Also, we loved the ambiance of dining out under the trees on the patio.

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#14 Post by Jeremy Holmes » May 2nd, 2015, 1:17 am

Don,

We were down in San Seb last week. Rekondo has just re-opened after a bit of a face lift and is still terrific. Great list of old Rioja at very good prices. Mind blown but palate left wanting at Mugaritz for the second time. They are so creative and there’s great energy to this restaurant but too many dishes just don’t taste all that good. Mirador de Ulia on a hill overlooking San Seb is a 1 star worth visiting. The food is outstanding and worthy of an extra star. The wine list is a bit pedestrian and service haphazard. There are so many great Pinxos bars. Don’t miss the steak at Nestor.

From previous visits Akelare is perhaps the best restaurant of the region for mine. I have liked Arzak the 4-5 times I have been. Berasatagui is very good. We enjoyed the food at Extebarri very much.

have a great trip.

Best Regards
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#15 Post by ybarselah » May 2nd, 2015, 9:45 am

MBerto wrote:Don't bother with restaurant reservations in either city. Head out to the "old town" (both have pretty distinct old downtowns) and just walk around to the crowded places. Note that nothing will be remotely crowded before 10pm. Hit at least 4-5 places, finishing up around 2. SS is best for this, but don't discount Bilbao - it's worth at least one night.
i have to say this isn't very helpful advice. by far most places are rather ordinary and serve the same stuff. it's all okay, but you do need to do some work to find the places that are doing the better pintxos.

ask for a tour of the cellar at rekondo. if the dad is still around, ask him to pick a wine for you.
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#16 Post by dcornutt » May 2nd, 2015, 10:26 am

Thanks to everybody for this great advice. It is going to be a wonderful experience.
DON Cornutt

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eat or drink,because eating without a friend is the life of the lion or the wolf." Epicurius

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#17 Post by M Kelly » May 3rd, 2015, 9:42 am

Don,

Extebarri is AMAZING. We skipped Arzak, based upon the numerous not so great experiences, and went to Bar Ibai instead. That is a must and in the same vein as Extebarri. Elkano is also a MUST. We liked it so much we came back for lunch the day after dinner. I would say Extebarri, Ibai, Elkano really hit on the essence of food for the region. Not all that modern cuisine, which is fun and tasty, but these are places that take simple things, do them perfectly, and make them complex!
Have a blast. Rekondo is fun also.

MK
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#18 Post by dcornutt » May 3rd, 2015, 11:10 am

Thanks for this Mike.
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#19 Post by M Kelly » May 3rd, 2015, 11:43 am

eat as many kokotxa as you can handle! And agree w SK. Ganbara is fantastic.
Carolyn and I are envious.
The baby peas at both Ibai and Extebarri are amongst the greatest dishes I have had.

Sarah - Ibai is wonderful.
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#20 Post by dcornutt » May 9th, 2015, 5:17 am

I appreciate all of the information here. You guys are the greatest!

Reservation at Extebarri is made. Elkano is planned for lunch. Maybe two lunches.
Pinxto crawl every night since my wife can't eat at 9pm. Ganbara and several others on the map there.
I am really looking forward to exploring this area.
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"Before you eat or drink anything, carefully consider with whom you eat or drink rather than what you
eat or drink,because eating without a friend is the life of the lion or the wolf." Epicurius

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#21 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 9th, 2015, 12:12 pm

Since you are adjusting your time zones anyway, can't you just adjust 2 hours earlier, so that she thinks 9 is 7?

Not saying anything is wrong your plan, just that 9 PM isn't an absolute if you're already changing timezones significantly.

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#22 Post by Dan.Gord0n » May 9th, 2015, 1:29 pm

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:Agreed - no need to spend a night in Bilbao. Head there for the museum one morning and have lunch at Etxebarri on the way back to San Sebastian, or at Azurmendi, which is just outside Bilbao. I liked it more than my husband did.
I was thinking about one night in Bilbao and four nights in San Sebastián for our trip at the end of July. Maybe we won't based on the comments.... How long is the drive to Bilbao? Heard the restaurant at the museum is quite good - anyone been there?

Worth driving up to Biaritz for a day trip?

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#23 Post by dcornutt » May 9th, 2015, 3:00 pm

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:Since you are adjusting your time zones anyway, can't you just adjust 2 hours earlier, so that she thinks 9 is 7?

Not saying anything is wrong your plan, just that 9 PM isn't an absolute if you're already changing timezones significantly.
Sarah,
She is finicky woman when it comes to eating. I would love to do another nice restaurant for dinner.
Any personal choice between Akelare or Rekondo?
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#24 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 10th, 2015, 9:01 am

dcornutt wrote: Any personal choice between Akelare or Rekondo?
I would go to Rekondo for the wine list (food is also good, of course) if you are looking to book one other dinner.

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#25 Post by MBerto » May 11th, 2015, 10:41 am

ybarselah wrote:
MBerto wrote:Don't bother with restaurant reservations in either city. Head out to the "old town" (both have pretty distinct old downtowns) and just walk around to the crowded places. Note that nothing will be remotely crowded before 10pm. Hit at least 4-5 places, finishing up around 2. SS is best for this, but don't discount Bilbao - it's worth at least one night.
i have to say this isn't very helpful advice. by far most places are rather ordinary and serve the same stuff. it's all okay, but you do need to do some work to find the places that are doing the better pintxos.

ask for a tour of the cellar at rekondo. if the dad is still around, ask him to pick a wine for you.
Eh. You're going to get really, really good food regardless. It's more about the experience. If one is at all familiar with what basic pintxos are, it's not hard to look at a menu and see if it's just a patatas braves and gambas a la plancha, yeah you can probably pass. Just like any foreign land, find the crowded spot full of locals.
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#26 Post by Russell Faulkner » May 11th, 2015, 10:51 am

Yeah common sense is all you need...

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#27 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 13th, 2015, 9:06 am

MBerto wrote: Just like any foreign land, find the crowded spot full of locals.

Generally great advice. Interestingly, the place I have found this to be completely NOT true is southern Spain. In Sevilla, for instance, we were really struck by how this usually reliable method of finding a good hole-in-the-wall failed us.

We ended up talking to a really nice guy at a wine store who had just opened a higher-end restaurant and he explained that, in that part of Spain, most people want their 5-6 different tapas standards and they want them cheap. There is little interest in more innovative food for the local population, he said, especially if it is more expensive. So he was even finding it hard to find good produce sources, even though most things are grown locally, because they are shipped to parts of Spain where there is more interest. It made total sense and explained to us why, unlike most other places we've been, the places teeming with locals were terrible and some of the best food we found was aimed at tourists!

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#28 Post by mark rudner » May 13th, 2015, 9:22 am

interesting sarah, thanks

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#29 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 13th, 2015, 9:59 am

Dan.Gord0n wrote: I was thinking about one night in Bilbao and four nights in San Sebastián for our trip at the end of July. Maybe we won't based on the comments.... How long is the drive to Bilbao? Heard the restaurant at the museum is quite good - anyone been there?

Worth driving up to Biaritz for a day trip?
The drive to Bilbao is just a little over an hour. The restaurant at the museum is good, but I would not "spend" the meal slot there. In addition to Azurmendi and Etxebarri, there is an exciting restaurant about another hour west from Bilbao called Cenador de Amos. So if you spend a night in the Bilbao area, with those and the Old Town, you certainly won't suffer.

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#30 Post by Dan.Gord0n » May 13th, 2015, 12:14 pm

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
Dan.Gord0n wrote: I was thinking about one night in Bilbao and four nights in San Sebastián for our trip at the end of July. Maybe we won't based on the comments.... How long is the drive to Bilbao? Heard the restaurant at the museum is quite good - anyone been there?

Worth driving up to Biaritz for a day trip?
The drive to Bilbao is just a little over an hour. The restaurant at the museum is good, but I would not "spend" the meal slot there. In addition to Azurmendi and Etxebarri, there is an exciting restaurant about another hour west from Bilbao called Cenador de Amos. So if you spend a night in the Bilbao area, with those and the Old Town, you certainly won't suffer.
Sarah - thanks for the comments - very helpful!! Sounds like a day trip is doable (plus since I am using SPG pts to stay for free at Hotel Maria Christina in San Sebastian, I don't mind the extra night there).

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#31 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 13th, 2015, 12:40 pm

We have done this and it has worked well: leave San Sebastian in the morning and drive to Bilbao. Visit the museum right when it opens at 10 or 10:30. Leave Bilbao around 12:30 and drive to Cenador de Amos for a 1:30 lunch. Linger over the end of the meal and let the wine metabolize. Drive back to Bilbao and walk the Old Quarter, nibbling when we get hungry through the early evening. Drive back to San Sebastian and close the evening with a last round at Ganbara. That way, I don't have to be behind the wheel for more than an hour at a time, with plenty of time to enjoy and absorb both food and alcohol.

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#32 Post by ybarselah » May 16th, 2015, 7:20 am

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
MBerto wrote: Just like any foreign land, find the crowded spot full of locals.

Generally great advice. Interestingly, the place I have found this to be completely NOT true is southern Spain. In Sevilla, for instance, we were really struck by how this usually reliable method of finding a good hole-in-the-wall failed us.

We ended up talking to a really nice guy at a wine store who had just opened a higher-end restaurant and he explained that, in that part of Spain, most people want their 5-6 different tapas standards and they want them cheap. There is little interest in more innovative food for the local population, he said, especially if it is more expensive. So he was even finding it hard to find good produce sources, even though most things are grown locally, because they are shipped to parts of Spain where there is more interest. It made total sense and explained to us why, unlike most other places we've been, the places teeming with locals were terrible and some of the best food we found was aimed at tourists!
yes, THIS is better advice.

i stand by my original comment - if you're coming from the states and you're interested in food, you do need to do some work. whether it's research online or luckily finding interesting locals that care.

i mean, think of it in the reverse: someone is coming from spain to NYC - the locals line up at carmine's in times square.
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#33 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 16th, 2015, 11:25 am

Couldn't agree more. Every other door is a pintxos bar, but most of them are dull and commonplace. We always ask for advice in a gourmet store or good wine store or in a restaurant we enjoy. We found Ganbara the first time (we'd already read about it, but hadn't sought it out yet) by following a delivery guy. We were exploring a gourmet market and saw the most beautiful, enormous porcinis you can imagine. We wanted to buy them to cook at our rental apartment, but the store owner said they were bound for a restaurant. When the delivery person went out, we trailed behind and went into the restaurant (not yet open) where he made his delivery. We then asked the guy cleaning the bar when they opened and how they would prepare the mushrooms. We ended up talking until opening time, and were soon enjoying some of the most exquisite "hongos" I've ever had.

People who work in special food generally care about food and know where to go. Most locals in any given place aren't foodies. The Carmine's example is apt.

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#34 Post by Dan.Gord0n » May 17th, 2015, 9:34 am

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:We have done this and it has worked well: leave San Sebastian in the morning and drive to Bilbao. Visit the museum right when it opens at 10 or 10:30. Leave Bilbao around 12:30 and drive to Cenador de Amos for a 1:30 lunch. Linger over the end of the meal and let the wine metabolize. Drive back to Bilbao and walk the Old Quarter, nibbling when we get hungry through the early evening. Drive back to San Sebastian and close the evening with a last round at Ganbara. That way, I don't have to be behind the wheel for more than an hour at a time, with plenty of time to enjoy and absorb both food and alcohol.
Thanks for the suggestions!

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#35 Post by Michael Bowden » May 23rd, 2015, 9:05 pm

Don,

Any updates on where you went or places you missed or would want to go back to?
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#36 Post by dcornutt » May 24th, 2015, 9:48 am

Michael.
I am taking off for this one in September. Reporting back then.
Hope you have a great trip too!
DON Cornutt

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eat or drink,because eating without a friend is the life of the lion or the wolf." Epicurius

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#37 Post by kristofstevens » May 26th, 2015, 11:51 am

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
Dan.Gord0n wrote: I was thinking about one night in Bilbao and four nights in San Sebastián for our trip at the end of July. Maybe we won't based on the comments.... How long is the drive to Bilbao? Heard the restaurant at the museum is quite good - anyone been there?

Worth driving up to Biaritz for a day trip?
The drive to Bilbao is just a little over an hour. The restaurant at the museum is good, but I would not "spend" the meal slot there. In addition to Azurmendi and Etxebarri, there is an exciting restaurant about another hour west from Bilbao called Cenador de Amos. So if you spend a night in the Bilbao area, with those and the Old Town, you certainly won't suffer.
Indeed the guggenheim resto is not worth the trip. Mugaritz is my preferred resto ever, it is really that great and they had a nice list with reasonable priced drc (fwiw) last time (3y ago). Try the turbot in elkano, it's the best.

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#38 Post by jhowe » May 26th, 2015, 2:47 pm

Don, my son who is 19 is heading to Spain in June with a friend for a couple of weeks. They're spending 4 nights in San Sebastian so I'll give you their take when they return. I'm going to make sure they include at least one really good restaurant, but they're mostly on their own.
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#39 Post by dcornutt » May 27th, 2015, 5:22 am

Thanks Joe.
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#40 Post by Cristian Dezso » June 5th, 2015, 8:40 am

Hello all,

my wife and I (and another couple) are heading over to San Sebastian for a few days and this thread has been extremely helpful in narrowing down the dining choices.

We have two full days and another half day together there. On the first night we are booked for Mugaritz. From the places that you all wrote up, I am pondering how to allocate some of these for one more dinner and three lunches: Elkano, Rekondo, Ganbara, Bar Ibai, Mirador de Ulia, and Akelare. Both couples are into wine, but if say Rekondo is all about the great wine list, then it becomes slightly less of a priority.

Sadly, Etxebarri is closed in August.

Also, since my wife and I will also have an evening and a lunch just ourselves, I was wondering if it is worth trying to go to Bilbao and dine at Azurmendi or Azurmendi Pret-a-Porter?

Thanks for your input!

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#41 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » June 5th, 2015, 9:32 am

Cristian -

Just got back from our fifth trip to San Sebastian and surrounding areas. Mugaritz is one of our favorite restaurants in the world and I hope you like it.

You must not miss Ganbara, but it can be enjoyed as a stop along the way as much as, or more than, a full meal. As with other pintxos places, order off the menu and do not fill up on the already prepared items.

We had a disappointing meal at Elkano this time, and I was told by a local who goes there often that they have slipped, probably due to the overwhelming interest from tourists. My friend thought it was something they will adjust to, though, and they do still get the best available seafood.

Ibai is very nice and serves one of the best Dover soles I have ever had - classic prep and highest quality. The percebes we had there were also outstanding, but I'm not sure if they will still be in season when you are there. It is quite expensive for what it is, though. Not saying it's not worth it, just warning that the prices are higher than I would expect.

I enjoyed Azurmendi more than my husband did. We both thought the food was very good, but he really hated the space and thought the entire rainforest intro set up was plain old silly. The kitchen was oddly cold and sterile and I thought a visit there, which is how they structure your experience (first the "picnic" then the kitchen tour, then the meal), was a detractor from the rest of the meal. The staff was very amateurish when we dined there - amateur and overly formal, which is bad combination. That said, the room might appeal more to some than others and the food is indeed very good - I just don't remember anything about it unless I look at my pictures, which to me is a bad sign.

Rekondo and Akelare are both good as well, though not in our rotation. We really prefer hitting small gourmet stores for provisions and enjoying pintxos at the good places in both the old quarter and Gros. Ganbara, Zeruko, Gandarias, Bar Nestor, Urtxori-Bi and Hidalgo 56 are some favorites. You can sit and eat a good meal in many cities around the world, but the pintxos crawl is unique to the region and is a special experience.

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#42 Post by Cristian Dezso » June 6th, 2015, 8:57 am

Thank you very much Sarah!

I am inclined to follow your advice and instead of booking a dinner, just go for a pintxo crawl one evening. And maybe try Ibai and/or Elkano for lunch.

Thank you again.

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#43 Post by Travis D. » June 11th, 2015, 6:48 am

Thanks to everyone for all the information here and in other threads about San Sebastian. My wife and I are taking out first trip there next Saturday and spending 5 days in SS before moving on. Reservations at Elkano and then Rekondo on my bday. Excited!! Will report back.
Travis D e d e k

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#44 Post by p a u l b a t t a g l i a » June 11th, 2015, 7:00 am

stayed at the hotel maria cristina two summers ago after running with the bulls in pamplona. wonderful hotel that i enjoyed very much. the cocktails were fantastic. only downside was no pool, but a great beach just a short walk away. ate at rekondo, elkano, arzak and mugaritz. arzak was just an incredible dining experience that blew me away- top 10 restaurant experience in my life. rekondo was less spectacular, but eating in the courtyard , drinking unico and then touring the cellar made up for it. elkano has spectacular traditional spanish seafood... it was about a 45 minute bus ride from san sebastian, and i spent a couple hours at the balenciago museum down the road, which is not to be missed. a true genius, visionary and master of his craft.

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#45 Post by Philip Ente » June 23rd, 2015, 9:29 am

Any experiences with Akelarre?

A highly qualified Spanish friend in the area feels Mugaritz is too focused on novelty.

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#46 Post by Chris S p i k e s » June 23rd, 2015, 10:13 am

Philip Ente wrote:Any experiences with Akelarre?

A highly qualified Spanish friend in the area feels Mugaritz is too focused on novelty.
Stunning view, beautiful mid afternoon late lunch! I loved everything about the restaurant, but it was a while back and only had 2 Michelin stars back then. I think it picked up the 3rd at some point, so I'm sure it's better now..... [foilhat.gif]

It's a little out of San Sebastian up on a steep hill overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

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#47 Post by Philip Ente » June 23rd, 2015, 11:14 am

Chris S p i k e s wrote:
Philip Ente wrote:Any experiences with Akelarre?

A highly qualified Spanish friend in the area feels Mugaritz is too focused on novelty.
Stunning view, beautiful mid afternoon late lunch! I loved everything about the restaurant, but it was a while back and only had 2 Michelin stars back then. I think it picked up the 3rd at some point, so I'm sure it's better now..... [foilhat.gif]

It's a little out of San Sebastian up on a steep hill overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Wow, you are making my decision difficult: driving from Bilbao to San Sebastian --- Elkano or Akelarre for lunch ? any ideas?

Side bar-- how many of you can do runs of two blow out meals in one day.Several years ago, I was consulting in Beaujolais and had big business lunches and dinner daily, after a few days I was physically sick with a some sort of disequilibrium syndrome

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#48 Post by Chris S p i k e s » June 23rd, 2015, 11:27 am

Ironically, due to a scheduling mix up, that's exactly what happened with Akelarre. Lunch there, then dinner at Arzak. It was not our first choice and it definitely added some "effort" to the Arzak dinner which was a shame because that was a meal that should have been appreciated. We should have done an earlier Akelarre lunch, but like I said, there was a scheduling miscommunication and we had to take what was available.

I haven't tried Elkano, so I can't comment there.

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#49 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » June 23rd, 2015, 11:41 am

I cannot do two tasting menu meals in a day happily, and will almost always avoid it if I can.

I have not been to Akelarre, and can't comment. Our recent meal at Elkano was a letdown, due to overcooked turbot. A local told me he had the same experience recently, after many years of perfect fish there, and thinks they are a little overwhelmed.

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#50 Post by Jason_H » June 24th, 2015, 8:55 am

Philip Ente wrote:Any experiences with Akelarre?

A highly qualified Spanish friend in the area feels Mugaritz is too focused on novelty.
Just came back last week from San Sebastian. Dined at Rekondo (and just had wine there too), Extebarri, Elkano, Akelarre and Azurmendi among many Pintxo's bars too.

Extebarri was the highlight for the simplicity and quality of ingredients. Only one dish fell flat, the egg and mushroom. Elkano was good, not great as the fish seemed a little more cooked than it should have been. Very muched enjoyed Azurmendi, though the repetitiveness of the filled spheres wore after a while. Akalerre was delicious. Not as molecular or cutting edge as Azurmendi, but over the two different menus we shared, all the dishes shined.
H3LLER - ITB

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