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merriweather_max Jan 8th, 2013 12:08 PM

Attn FOODIES! Must-eats in Bilbao, San Seb, Pays Basque, Zaragosa, Huesca
Hi all foodies! Looking for must-eats in the following cities and surrounding areas:

San Sebastian
French Basque country (coastal and will dictate where we go!)

Open to everything from dive-y hole-in-the-walls to Michelin starred restaurants that require reservations. Will be traveling in late Feb/early March.

All suggestions welcomed!!

Thanks a ton.

Robert2533 Jan 8th, 2013 12:46 PM

The following is from Maribel's Guides (


Akelare - San Sebastian - a Relais & Chateaux
Arzak - San Sebastian - a Relais & Chateaux
Martin Berasategui - Lasarte (Guipuzcoa) - a Relais & Chateaux
Mugaritz - Renteria (Guipuzcoa)
Zuberoa - Oyarzun (Guipuzcoa)
Asador Etxebarri - Aspe (Vizcaya)

Aizian (Hotel Melia) - Bilbao
Etxanobe - Bilbao
Zortziko - Bilbao
Mirador de Ulia - San Sebastian
Fagollaga - Hernani (Guipuzcoa)
Inigo Lavado - Irun (Guipuzcoa)
Azurmendi - Larrabetzu (Vizcaya)
Gaminiz - Zamudio (Vizcaya)
Restaurante Jolastoki - Getxo (Vizcaya)
Restaurante Zaldiaran - Vitoria-Gasteiz (Alava)

Restaurante Kokotxa - San Sebastian
Miramon Arbelaiz - San Sebastian
Urepel - San Sebastian
Xarma - San Sebastian
Restaurante Alameda - Hondarribia (Guipuzcoa)
Restaurante Elkano - Getaria (Guipuzcoa)
Karlos Arguiñano - Zumaia (Guipuzcoa)
Restaurante Kabia - Zumarraga (Guipuzcoa)
Restaurante Gorrotxa - Bilbao
Restaurante Guggenheim - Bilbao
Restaurante Gure Kide - Bilbao
Restaurante Guria - Bilbao
Andra Mari - Galdakao (Vizcaya)
Restaurante Aretxondo - Galdakao (Vizcaya)
Baserri Maitea - Forua (Vizcaya)
Boroa - Amorebieta (Vizcaya)
Restaurante Ikea - Vitoria-Gasteiz (Alava)
Marqués de Riscal - Elciego (Alava)

Rastaguytoday Jan 8th, 2013 12:58 PM

I've eaten at several 3* Michelin restaurants, but my absolute favorite is Arzak in San Sebastian. It is consistently one of the top 10 restaurants in the world.

You will need reservations, but they are not snooty about them, unlike some places I've been to.

For a 3* restaurant, their prices are certainly cheaper than anything in France, and anything by the overrated Thomas Keller.

Here is a short video with Anthony Bourdain and the father-daughter of Arzak.

merriweather_max Jan 8th, 2013 02:00 PM

awesome, thanks for the suggestion - will do arzak!

rialtogrl Jan 8th, 2013 06:33 PM

I hope you'll post when you get back - I am going to Zaragoza in October and would love some foodie recs!

Robert2533 Jan 8th, 2013 06:45 PM

I've been to three of the top four a few times over the last ten years, but would do Akelare before Arzak without a doubt, and possibly Mugaritz. Andoni (Mugaritz) is an excellent chef and making waves. And of course Kokotxa is not to be missed.

kimhe Jan 9th, 2013 06:48 AM

I second the choice of Arzak in food crazy San Sebastián. Have had to unforgettable nights here (1996, 2006), and can't wait to get back in a few months.

And Akelare is of course spectacular:

But you should also go for the famous pintxos in some of the hundreds of pintxos bars. Ferran Adria, the worlds most renowned chef the past decade (El Bulli) has suggested that San Sebastián is the best place to eat in the world "in terms of the average quality of the food, in terms of what you can get at any place you happen to walk into.

Not much wrong you can do in San Sebastián in other words, but here are some of my pintxos bar favourites:

Baby squid brochette, grilled with garlic and parsley at Txalupa:

Just across the street, the famous prawn skewer at Goiz-Argi:

Around the corner is Zeruko with their signature pintxo "The bonfire":

Next door Txepetxa is an institution in town, anchovies heaven:

In one minute walk, the world's best jamón ibérico - litteraly - in traditional La Cepa:

A couple of blocks away is gourmet Cuchara de San Telmo with the wonderful risotto:

Cylinders of beef cheeks with red wine at Astelehena in the corner of Plaza de la Constitución, the main square in the Parte vieja:

Mushroom heaven in Ganbara just off Plaza de la Constitución:

In Gros, on the other side of the city river Urumea, you could have foie with apple at Ramuntxo Berri:

Bodega Donostiarra (Donostia is the Basque name of the city) across the street is a favourite with locals, and no fuzz.

Shark pintxo at Garbola just around the corner. Also known for great coctails:

The signature Txalupa at legendary Bergara:

And when you get tired of the gourmet hype, there so place better than traditional Casa Valles just behind the cathedral in the vibrant Reyes Católicos area (several laid-back music bars long into the night).

All about going for pintxos in San Sebastián, suggested routes etc:

AND, I strongly recommend to go to tiny Getaria just west of san Sebastián to have fish and seafood in one of the fabulous restaurants. Elkano and Kaia-Kaipe are the most famous, but all the small restaurants down in the little harbour are dead serious about their cooking. Had the food experience of my life here some years ago, something like this:

ribeirasacra Jan 9th, 2013 07:26 AM

more suggestions

kimhe Jan 10th, 2013 01:31 AM

And Casa Urola in San Sebastián (Fermín Calbetón, 20) has ropened under chef Pablo Loureiro. My favourite in the city since the late 80's, one of the most embelamtic places in San Sebastián, and the new go gets raving reviews.

goldenautumn Jan 10th, 2013 05:03 AM


if you follow the link ribeirasacra gave you to the Chowhound website and look at its message board for Spain, you will see detailed reports from people who have eaten at most of these restaurants fairly recently, evaluating individual dishes, the service, noting changing menus (important) and giving ballpark figures for price per person as well.

Also, the correct spelling of the name of San Sebastian's famed restaurant is Akelarre, and here is a current Chowhound discussion of Akelarre vs. Arzak

Personally, I think it defeats the adventure of pintxos if you go with a computer printout of where to walk and what to eat, but up to you.

kimhe Jan 10th, 2013 05:19 AM

About Akelaŕe:

Revulgo Jan 10th, 2013 06:57 AM

Something for Zaragoza:

mikelg Jan 12th, 2013 09:19 PM

I had a very bad experience in Arzak...bones in my fish, also some dishes were served cold...I complained and the owner called me to apologize...but for 200eur each, mistakes can´t be made. So I back Mugaritz as the best option for Michelin starred restaurants. The good thing about the Basque Country is that food is our religion and you´ll have great meals almost everywhere.

Rastaguytoday Jan 15th, 2013 01:42 PM

mikelg - who was this owner you complained to.

Rastaguytoday Jan 17th, 2013 08:09 PM

I think mikelg is full of bs.

goldenautumn Jan 17th, 2013 11:55 PM

I think mikelg is one of the best and most honest internet contributors on the entire subject of the basque country. He is a real go-to source for a native point of view that is both sophisticated and down-to-earth real about the place. Almost every other internet source I have come across is really tourist-themed. It tries to make visiting the Basque Country like visiting Barcelona or Provence or Tuscany, the tried and true tourist hits for the middle class tourist who hasn't a clue. They don't really get under the skin of what the Basque country is, which is quite a complexity of cutting edge and unique tradition and roots. If I owned a restaurant in that area, and mikelg blogged he was unhappy with his meal, I'd call him and invite him back for another meal. A lot of people listen to mikelg planning trip to that area.

On the subject of Arzak particularly, you can read reviews of disappointed diners all over the internet. Many people do like it and have had good experiences. But others report problems.

ira Jan 18th, 2013 05:20 AM

Hi mm,

>French Basque country (coastal and inland....<

It is 2 hr from San Sebastian to

It is well worth the trip to have lunch there.


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