Culinary Weekend in San Sebastian (Basque Country, Spain)
Map of San Sebastian
San Sebastian (also called Donostia in Basque language) is located on the north coast of Spain, in Basque Country
San Sebastian has 200,000 citizens and was built around a beautiful bay, called the Concha. The city is actually pretty old, and was rebuilt a few times (the city was once burned), and fosters beautiful monuments, heritage from the royal family who spend their summer in their royal palace here. San Sebastian has beautiful beaches and landscape, and is one of the best places for food aficionados in Spain.
Let's visit the "Centro" first, visit the low key tapas bars, then stroll around the bay and head east to dine at Akelare, a 3 stars Michelin Restaurant
West side, the Miramar Palace
The town straddles the beautiful and scenic Bay of Concha, with beautiful sea colors, mountains and landscape
Baie de la Concha
You are only a couple streets away from this beautiful view on the Concha Bay. No wonder the queen decided to build her summer palace here ! Who doesn't want to wake up seeing this view every morning ??
The «downtown», or «El Centro»
The centre of the town resembles a typical European center, with old and elegant residential buildings that have galleries and stores on the first floor, and pedestrians reserved streets, making it easy to walk and discover the town
Besides the stores, this part of the town also has bars and restaurants where locals go. If you want to see locals, that's definitely the place to go to. (the place "parte vieja" or "old town" that we will visit next is mainly visited by tourists and can be pricey, so be warned !)
Cathedral Buen Pastor
The Cathedral "Buen Pastor" or "good pastor" is recognizable by its shape, very tall and narrow
The old town («la parte vieja»)
Me, looking happy in the street 31 de Agosto, full of tapas bars
The Basque country is a dream for cooks, as its ocean and mountains provide unique fish, vegetables and meat. No wonder that so many three stars Michelin restaurants can be found around here
Les bars a Tapas de la veille ville
This part of the town is visited by all the tourists, and has a lot of tapas bars. Some are specialized in fish, others in the local ham, others in sheep. It is best to stop at several bars and taste different food
The Beti Jai bar
One of the tapas bars I liked very much, the Beti Jai which I recommend
Enough with "Tapa", it's time to remind everyone that you will not hear of say "Tapas", but "Pintxos", the official name in Basque country ! (although it's actually the same !). Pronounce "Pin-tcho"
What I liked at the Beti Jai besides the quality of the food, is the modern twist. Some of the pintxos are unique, as they are more original than the traditional tapas, with new ingredients combined together
The Beti Jai also has more traditional pintxos. This is a bocadillo, a traditional sandwich made with fresh bread and local ham, freshly cut
The Bartolo bar
Another bar that is worth stopping at, the bar Bartolo, more traditional than the previous one, but a must stop.
They are known for their grilled liver tapas.
The City Hall
Santa Maria Church
Let's now visit the church Santa Maria, and let's walk through the most scenic streets of the town. It looks like you are going back in time! Buildings and streets are beautifully preserved
Plaza de la constitucion
Let's head towards the "parte vieja", or old town. First, let's stop 15 minutes in this beautiful plaza de la constitucion, an enclosed plaza where locals come to relax
The plaza is very relaxing (as it is enclosed, you won't hear any cars), looks like an oasis in this hectic part of the town
Only 15 minutes drive away, and you can dine at the restaurant Akelare, a gem in the town. A three stars Michelin restaurant that is worth the price and experience. Reservation advised !
As I was mentioning above, the region fosters a concentration of fine restaurants, two and three stars Michelin restaurants:
- Akelare (3 stars)
- Martin Berasategui (3 stars)
- Arzak (3 stars)
- Mugaritz (2 stars)
The first impression as you walk in the restaurant is the mesmerizing view on the ocean
The restaurant is built on top of a cliff. You will probably get the best experience at diner time as you will see one of your best sunsets ever while tasting top world class cuisine...
Sophisticated meal, original presentation, and of course de-li-cious ! With this course you can see different items that each taste a different ocean flavor
As you are in Basque Country, a good meal has Fish AND Meat, all locally grown products. The restaurant is especially reputated for its Fish
This course is one of the best famous ones here. A mousse with an unexpected taste, but I will NOT tell anything. Come here to taste it !
The "Tasting Menu" has many different courses that will allow you to taste one of the best Basque Cuisine.
Yet another surprise, you will never guess what it tastes like, and no, I will not say anything about it !
Pedro Subijana is an incredibly talented chef, and very approachable. The entire staff was professional and very nice
A unique experience that concludes the visit of San Sebastian. Come and try Akelare, I guarantee you will NOT be disappointed by this great experience