How to make the most out of beautiful Basque cuisine.
After briefly stopping by last year, I knew I had to return to San Sebastián/ Donostia, an incredible mountainous seaside city in the heart of Basque Country, Spain, with a well earned reputation for innovative and delicious food.
Maybe you’ve heard of it before? Maybe not? Well thanks to some of you guys and the recommendations from the people of the city, I gave it my best shot to eat around the town in two days. If you’re ever in the area, here’s what I’d recommend!
San Sebastián is most famous for its Pintxos! Pintxos (pronounced ‘pinchos’) is an umbrella term for tapas like snacks sold in abundance at specialist Pintxos bars. You simply walk in, grab a plate, load up and show it to the bartender at the end who counts up what you’ve eaten. It’s like pic ‘n’ mix for adults. Most places will have a hot menu for you to order fresh things and if you’re in a big group you can indulge in larger platters or ‘Raciones’. Once you’ve paid and grabbed some wine you fight to find a corner to stand in. Dig in!
The Old Town of the city is packed with hundreds of Pintxos bars which all sport completely ridiculous dishes that are incredibly cheap. From octopus and anchovies on sticks to cheese platters to roasted and cured meats. If you’re hungry for something, you’ll probably find it in one of the bars. It’s the most social way of eating you’ll ever come across and the best thing? Because the bites are all so small, you can try everything. Don’t hold back.
I could sit talking all day about what we ate but a few highlights have to be: Deep fried anemone, goats cheese & quail egg toasts, fois gras & white chocolate, crab stuffed croissants, tuna casserole and thai style paella. Can I go back please?
The best places to go are situated on the oldest road: 31 de Agosto. You can’t go wrong with any of them here. Personal recommendations would be Fuego Negro, Antari and Antari Gastroteka.
An acquired taste and traditional Basque drink is Sagardoa, a flat cider. You’ll see all the locals tucking in with their first courses of pintxos. It’s poured into a glass from a great height. If you can find a bar with a cider barrel, ask to see one poured from that as it’s a great sight as it shoots out across the room.
3. Wine, Wine and More Wine!
If you think the Pintxos is cheap, the wine is cheaper. With every bar you hop to you can try a selection of wines from nearby regions such a Rioja or Ribera Del Duero. The glasses are small, costing between 1-3 euros so you can try lots of different ones. After experimenting you’ll be a master of Spanish wines in no time (and perhaps a little squiffy).
4. Basque Pastries and Coffee in the Square
You’ve probably picked up by now that eating in San Sebastián is all about little and often. It doesn’t stop at sweet treats either. The bakeries show off delicious pastries, cream pies and biscuits.
For breakfast one morning, choose a selection from Pastelería Oiartzun and head to Constitución Plaza for a coffee and a munch. That’s inner peace right there.
5. Ice Cream & Gelato Galore
On every corner there’s an amazing ice cream parlour that boast a reputation from the 80s and earlier. Grab a few scoops and head to Playa De La Concha to look out across the beautiful bay and all the sun worshipers on the beach. I recommend an ice cream a day. It keeps the doctor away.
6. Michelin Starred Restaurants
Something I didn’t do this time around (because Pintxos captured my heart) was head to one of the famed michelin starred restaurants in the city. San Sebastián has earned its reputation as a foodie place because it’s one of the cities with the most michelin starred restaurants per square mile. If you have the budget and the sense to plan a booking- let me know how it goes. I’d love to know.
Got any more recommendations for San Sebastián? Tweet me what your experience was like @hannaheneo.
Are you travelling somewhere new this summer? Why not tweet using the LostandHungry hashtag? We’ll retweet it to our amazing community to ensure you really get the best eats on your trip.
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