San Sebastian / Donostia

Feb 7th, 2015, 04:50 PM
  #21  
kja
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@ kimhe &
@ mikelg -
You are my heroes!

NOW I get the lay-out of Pasajes San Pedro and Pasajes San Juan/Donibane! Thanks - and thanks for the link to the video. There really is footage of just about everything, isn't there?

Thanks again for the restaurant suggestions and for your comments on the markets. I hadn't realized that the Mercado de la Bretxa had been modernized and am very glad to know that in advance! I'll be sure to swing by the San Martin Market when I visit the cathedral. And I won't try to visit a fish market on a Monday.

The Magdalena walk is in, the walk to Cabo Mayor is out, Castro Urdailes is in, as is a stop to the faro de Santa Katalina. My trip is shaping up SO nicely

I greatly appreciate the information and help in prioritizing!
kja is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2015, 12:05 AM
  #22  
 
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Hi,
I am not sure if this is proper forum procedure, but since I have loved all of the information provided so far and since I am also from Seattle and enjoying the 50-60 degree sunny skies - I thought it might be ok for me to jump in with a question.

My family will be in San Sebastian for 4 days in early July. Are there any restaurants/activities that you might recommend for a family with four teenagers (16 and 18) that might not have been mentioned above? My kids love food - but we need to be able to pay the bill at the end of the night also! We are more interested in local cuisine/culture than trying the Michelin star restaurants for this trip. Any additions you have to this great post that would be perfect for teenagers would be appreciated.

Thanks
Lisabu is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2015, 12:55 AM
  #23  
 
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Lisabu:

Activities for 16-18 years old:

Great surfing and lots of sports at the Zurriola city beach: http://www.surfline.com/surf-report/...la-spain_6896/
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractio...e_Country.html

Several very popular discos: http://www.sansebastianturismo.com/e...ghtlife/discos

And early July (from 6-14) will be very influenced by the festive spirit of the close by San Sermin festival in Pamplona. Many use San Sebastian as a base for the festival, or come here before and/or after. http://www.turismo.navarra.es/eng/pr...llo/fiesta.htm

Restaurants
A few no fuss, but excellent and more affordable restaurants in Calle Matia in the Antiguo district Close to the end of the La Concha Beach promenade.

And you get bargain deals at fabulous La Muralla in the Parte vieja/Old town. Three to five courses menus with drinks for 30-45€. http://www.restaurantelamuralla.com/es/

But first and foremost it is both fun and affordable to go from bar to bar for the fabulous pintxos. All about this quintessential San Sebastian experience:
http://www.todopintxos.com/home/home.php?lang=en

You can't do much wrong here, but these routes offer some suggestions: http://www.todopintxos.com/ruta/ruta.php
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Feb 22nd, 2015, 08:39 AM
  #24  
kja
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@ Lisabu - there is some GREAT info here, isn't there?

@ kimhe - as always, thanks!
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Feb 22nd, 2015, 12:21 PM
  #25  
 
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Most posters on San Sebastian seem worried about eating at Michelin starred restaurants and not spending too much. For your info, SS is full of "normal" restaurants, people living there are mostly middle class and you don´t see any Ferraris on the street. It´s normal life, a culture based on food (as it´s in Bilbao, Vitoria, Pamplona, and many other cities in Spain) and good wine, but 99% of restaurants are NOT Michelin starred. And it´s not a beach resort, either...the weather does not allow it.
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Feb 22nd, 2015, 12:57 PM
  #26  
 
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Also, there is little peedestrian ferry, very inexpensive, that takes you across the river from Hondaribbia to Hendaye, France. We loved this part of the world.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
Feb 22nd, 2015, 07:20 PM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Question for my trip in late May: For 5 days in San Sebastian, should I rent a car so I can see Hondarribia and Bilbao, or will bus trips work as well? If I rent a car, is there reasonable parking in/around San Sebastian?
cduke is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2015, 07:25 PM
  #28  
 
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Or, do you suggest I stay in Hondarribia and take day trips into San Sebastian? Thx!
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Feb 22nd, 2015, 07:41 PM
  #29  
 
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>Or, do you suggest I stay in Hondarribia and take day trips into San Sebastian?< I wouldn't! I'd rather base myself in Donostia and take day trips from there.
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Feb 22nd, 2015, 09:28 PM
  #30  
kja
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@ mikelg -- FWIW, my initial interest in visiting San Sebastian / Donostia was because of its reputation for outstanding cuisine (without regard to Michelin ratings), the chance to learn more about Basque culture, and some superb scenery (but not beach time per se -- not my thing!)

After doing some research and exploring options that I learned about, at least in part, through you and kimhe and others -- I, for one, have decided to forego dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant while in San Sebastian. As you say, there are lots of wonderful alternatives! I'd rather save my "splurge" for somewhere where it might matter! ;-)

@ HappyTrvlr -- thanks for the info!

@ cduke &
@ Robert - thanks for confirming that San Sebastian / Donostia should be a good base from which to visit Hondarribia.
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Feb 22nd, 2015, 11:52 PM
  #31  
 
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kja, I was not referring to you specifically...it´s a good number of Fodor´s posters that think that SS is a high scale town, where you can only eat at top restaurants. Not true, and in all of the Basque Country (in fact, I have a blog, in Spanish, for those places where you can eat for around 10eur per person including wine. Even in SS (although i have not added any place there yet). www.laguiamikelin.com, playing with my real name and the Michelin guide. No publicity of any kind on it, and mostly places around Bilbao.
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Feb 23rd, 2015, 01:01 AM
  #32  
kja
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@ mikelg - I'm glad to know that you realize that I had not fallen into that misconception -- and I'm sure it is a common one!

Unfortunately, my Spanish is too limited to translate your new blog, but if it is anything like your other blogs, I'm SURE that many people will find it helpful!

(Of course, restaurant suggestions for Bilbao will be appreciated! I'll be there 2 nights.)
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Feb 23rd, 2015, 01:33 AM
  #33  
 
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In SS you can for example have a three course lunchtime Menú del día with drinks included together with the locals for 11€ at La Zurri. Excellent, traditional Basque food. http://www.restaurantelazurri.com/
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restauran...e_Country.html
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Feb 23rd, 2015, 06:08 PM
  #34  
kja
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@ kimhe -- OMG, yet another mouth-watering suggestion! If I lived in Spain, I think I would have to take up flamenco just to burn off all the calories! ;-) Thanks so much!
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Feb 23rd, 2015, 07:27 PM
  #35  
 
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I can't really say that an 11€ menu anywhere would be considered much more than a basic meal. The cost of ingredients (a good cut of red meat, seafood, etc.) drives the price of the menu more then anything else. All you have to do is visit the market in Donostia where you can see what things cost.

The "cheap" menu del dia at Bodegon Alejandro last summer was 23€, plus VAT, up from 16€ the summer before. My personal experience is that if it is less than 18€ to 20€, then it will be marginal.

Had great pintxos at Bar Antonio (www.antoniobar.com) with Gabriella last summer, very reasonably priced, but it's somewhere few tourist would go. And Viento Sur (www.vientosur.es) offers an excellent Andalucian/Asian pintxos/tapas assortment.
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Feb 23rd, 2015, 07:51 PM
  #36  
kja
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OMG, I love Fodor's!

@ Robert -- Antonio's looks wonderful and is close to where I'll be staying. Once again, I appreciate the advice and the suggestions.
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Feb 23rd, 2015, 08:05 PM
  #37  
 
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The Basque have a saying, “nola jan jakitea, nahikoa jakitea da”, to know how to eat is to know enough! There are so many places where this holds true, on both the Spanish side and French side. And as Mikel has pointed out, one doesn't need to spend your entire inheritance to eat well in the Basque country.
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Feb 23rd, 2015, 08:44 PM
  #38  
kja
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@ Robert -- so I'm learning! And what a great saying -- it communicates SO much about the Basque!

As I mentioned above, I had initially thought I would include an expensive meal in my plans for San Sebastian, but I've completely abandoned that idea -- there are simply TOO many great options for outstanding food in the area!

My current "plan" for dining in San Sebastian:
- Dinner at Casa Urola on my first evening
- Breakfast pintxos somewhere near my hotel -- maybe Bar Antonio?
- Lunch (which for me is a rarity) at Txulotxo in Donibane/Pasajes San Juan after walking there from SS/D
- and that night, pintxos, sampling tasty bits at places mentioned in todopintxos and perhaps the Bar Antonio.
- another pintxos breakfast near my hotel (it seems I have lots of options!)
(And then, unfortunately, I will move on to other wonderful places )

Any and all suggestions for revision are welcome!
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Feb 24th, 2015, 12:54 AM
  #39  
 
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You should get used to lunch, the main meal of the day for most people in Spain, and bargain deals in most restaurants. Go where the locals go, and they usually don't pay more than 8-12€ for a hearty three course lunch with drinks incl (Menú del día). http://www.eyeonspain.com/spain-maga...u-del-dia.aspx

Txulotxo in Donibane is a special treat and more expensive. Menú del día is 22€ here (Monday to Friday).
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Feb 24th, 2015, 08:54 AM
  #40  
 
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I normally agree with Robert, but not this time about the menú del día. For around 10 to 13eur you can have wonderful quality meals, at least in Bilbao. The list of restaurants offering a two course meal, plus dessert, wine and bread included, is endless. I love San Gotardo, right on the city centre...quality homemade meals at 13eur, with a full wine bottle for two. Near my place I like to have a complete alubiada (bean stew with chorizo, morcilla,...) plus fish or meat, plus dessert and wine for just 8,5eur...

But I do agree Bodegón Alejandro is a very good option of a meal, menu or daily menu, expect to pay around 50eur per person on a menu basis, or those 23 on the daily menu. Very good.
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