This year for my birthday I revisited San Sebastián. Having been there last year (you can read my blog here), I knew what to expect and I had a better idea of how to plan my very own food tour. I also learned that no matter how much research you do, sometimes things don’t work out! For example some restaurants were closed, either because of renovations or maybe because of the season.
As you know, San Sebastián is the food capital of Spain, and it has the most Michelin star restaurants per square meter in the world! I did not visit any of the Michelin star restaurants though. Instead I went bar hopping for my 2 full days in this lively town.
- Order pintxos of course (what’s on display), but most importantly there is a hot menu, so ask always for the specialties of the restaurant.
- Arriving on a Sunday or Monday? Some restaurants will be closed so don’t forget to check the hours.
- Go with friends! The more the better so you can order different plates to share.
Travel Cost Breakdown
BCN –> EAS (San Sebastián) Vueling Airlines: Booked with Chase UR Portal for 5,860 points
Hotel Pension Peñaflorida: $113/night
Bus from San Sebastián to Santander (next destination): $15 via omio.com
How to get from the airport to the city center
- Taxi – around 40€ (via google search)
- Bus – use your google maps for this. You’ll have to exit the airport and walk along a busy highway for around 11 minutes (kinda scary but there is shoulder room). Cross the street and it’s bus E#21 for 2.65€ – Cash only!
To accompany your food I suggest ordering Txakoli (pronounced chah-kuh-lee), which is a white wine. The demonstration is kinda cool because the server will pour it from high up to give the drink some bubbles. If you don’t like white wine of you simply get tired of it, then you can always order a Rioja (red wine) or a cider.
My # 1 place to go because it opens early, so if you need time to kill before check-in, flight, train etc. definitely come here. Their displays of pintxos are beautiful. From the hot menu order the foi, beef cheek, and stuffed calamari with crab meat.
(Closed Mondays) CASH ONLY!
This place gets packed really quick so yes..I am one of those people who goes and waits
before the restaurant opens. There’s standing space inside or 2 outside standing tables. Did you know that every time I left this place I was craving their sheep cheese risotto? Nothing can compare. They offer the risotto in small, medium, or large portions. Save yourself and order at least a medium. The pig ear is so crispy and mouth watering. The cod tripe on pil-pil was a new dish that I tried and I loved it (very gelatinous). Try also the pork ribs kebab and the veal cheek. This time they didn’t have the gazpacho (boo), and the “spider” fish was alright but not as good as the other dishes.
La Cuchara de San Telmo
I went right at 6pm when they opened to snag an outside table. The inside of the restaurant is incredibly small and narrow. This restaurant serves the biggest foi that I have ever seen and for such a great price. Also, get the octopus and the suckling pig.
Not the best customer service but whatever. It’s Spain. I came in the morning when the pintxos were fresh and back in the evening to eat the beef cheeks and the pork belly. The dessert Torrija is a MUST HAVE (kind of a mix between French Toast and creme brûlée).
Not too many pintxos on display but don’t worry. You’re not here for that. This restaurant is known for its cheesecake! We decided to have a full on lunch so we sat in the dining area in the back. The rib-eye (txuleton or chuleton) was pretty big and quite good. The Spanish tortilla was juicy, jamón croquettes exploded with flavor, and my little salmon/shrimp pintxo was alright. Don’t forget the cheesecake for your final treat.
This place is always popping but we managed to get one of the outside standing tables. We were quite full so we didn’t order as much: duck bruschette, scallop and shrimp bruschette, beef skewer, and beef cheeks.
Before traveling to San Sebastián I watched a youtube video of new places to eat on the other side of the bridge, where the locals supposedly eat. I was so excited but the food itself was a disappointment. Not only that, some of the places were closed 😦 I’ll write about it anyways so you don’t go there and waste your time.
- Morcilla (blood pudding) with egg – not tasty at all
- Ravioli with mushrooms – missing flavor and salt
- Beef carpaccio – decent but nothing out of the ordinary
Bar Begara – closed for renovations. I heard the chalupas are the thing to order.
Bar Zeruko – no idea why they were closed. I checked the hours and everything. Anyways…if you do go and they’re open, I heard the cod is the best thing to get.
I can’t wait to return next year with a list of new restaurants to try. If you have any suggestions please leave a comment below.