San Sebastián and its surrounding area, in the Basque region of Spain is known for a high concentration of excellent restaurants that have been awarded Michelin stars. One of the specialties of the regions is a tasty snack known as pintxos, the local word for small bites, similar to tapas.
In a good pintxos bar, its customary for customers to drop their napkins on the floor when they’ve finished eating. So when you’re scouting for somewhere to dine check the pintxos bar floors: the more cluttered it is with napkins, the more delicious the pintxos!
As tempting as the displays of pintxos on the counter may be, order off the chalkboard menu with daily specials. This where you'll find the cream of the crop of what's on offer!
With so many great restaurants and bars from which to choose, the following is a list of my favourites:
Borda Berri (Fermin Calbetón street)
Borda Berri was definitely my favourite little pintxos bar. I would especially recommend the pulpo con membrillo (octopus with quince jelly) and risotto de Idiazábal (Idiazábal cheese risotto).
La Mejillonera (Puerto street)
While nondescript in appearance, La Mejillonera is known for its tasty patatas bravas, calamares bravas (potatoes or calamari with a spicy tomato sauce). The tigres (mussels with spicy tomato sauce) are also tender and delicious.
Santa Lucia (Puerto street)
Santa Lucia serves tasty churros, a traditional Spanish dessert, stuffed with delectable fillings and accompanied by a cup of thick hot chocolate. In addition, this restaurant also serves a full breakfast, perfect for soaking up any previous night's indiscretions.
Gandarias (31 de Agosto street)
In the cosy Gandarias bar, several wine varieties are available on tap. Along with delicious tapas, try the racion de piparrak (small green peppers) and jamón de bellota (acorn ham).
Bar Sport (Fermin Calbetón street)
The calamari at Bar Sport is especially good but I also recommend the txipiron con vinagre de modena y salsa de ajo y perejil (baby cuttlefish with modena balsamic vinegar and parsley and garlic sauce) and the gamba gabardina, which translates as 'prawn with a raincoat': with such a catchy name, it must be good!
La Cuchara de San Telmo (31 de Agosto Kalea)
As this popular spot is packed during peak times, I recommend either arriving either early or late in the evening to avoid the crowds.
I highly recommend the delicious foie gras con vainilla, sal gris y caramelos de sidra and veal cheeks. The house cider is a wonderful accompaniment to the meals. As a bit of drama, the waiters pour the cider from quite a height to activate the bubbles. Who doesn't love a bit of theatre with their meal?