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THR Mar 28th, 2013 11:39 PM

San Sebastian michelin restaurants
Hi all,

We're travelling to spain in June and we have five nights in San Sebastian (following visits to Granada, Seville, and Madrid). Trip is for myself and my partner.

We've afforded ourselves one choice each to a nice restaurant. We already have a booking for Akelarre, which is my choice; and my partner is having a little difficulty in choosing his. Current thinking is for Arzak - or Extebarri (which will be a little more difficult unless we hire a car).

Other possible alternatives include a trip to anywhere near or across the French border, if anyone has any suggestions?

Anyway, my question really is - can anyone make any recommendations or provide personal feedback as to what you really enjoyed?

(Obviously we'll be having lots of pintxos while we're there too!)

Rastaguytoday Mar 29th, 2013 12:03 AM

Arzak is a wonderful restaurant. Not only excellent food, service, etc... but the owner, Elena Arzak usually comes out and talks to each table.

Wants to know where you're from, talks about her favorite American chef (Alice Waters) and explains why and how your meal was constructed.

See the listing below for the top 100 restaurants in the world. This list has been out and updated for many many years. You might want to think Mugaritz long before the other 2 restaurants you list.

THR Mar 29th, 2013 12:26 AM

Yeah, we're not keen on Mugaritz. Most of the reviews I have read have been ho-hum about the food, whereas I have heard largely fantastic things about Akelarre, and generally good things about Arzak (with the theme being that most people enjoy Akelarre more than Arzak).

Thanks for the feedback about Arzak!

Marija Mar 29th, 2013 05:53 AM

Have lunch at Akelare. The settings is beautiful. We've eaten at Arzak, Akelare and Mugaritz and Akelare was our favorite. We liked having lunches at the Michelin starred places and then pintxos at night.

Robert2533 Mar 29th, 2013 09:03 AM

Elena is the chef, not the owner of Arzak. It still belongs to her father, Juan Mari.

We've had some of our best meals at Mugaritz (a 3-hour tasting dinner), Akelarre, Kokotxa and Zuberoa, but haven't dined at Arzak in a number of years. Lunch at Asador Etxebarri was one of the most memorable.

If you can make it into the Pays Basque, then you might want to consider having lunch at L'Auberge Basque in Saint-Pée. Cédric Béchade trained under Alain Ducasse in Paris, and is one of the best chefs in the region.

There is also Les Freres Ibarboure in Bidart, La Ferme Gourmande in Ossés and Les Pyrenees in Pied-de-Port, the highest rated restaurant in the entire Basque Country for the last dozen years, but less expensive than dining at Arzak.

BiarritzTaxi Mar 29th, 2013 01:12 PM

I have yet to eat in any of the three star michelin restaurants in San Sebastian. I did have an excellent meal at Kokotxa though and very reasonably priced.

Last year San Sebastian won Which? magazine's award for best destination for food lovers.

THR Mar 29th, 2013 03:25 PM

Thanks all. Robert, I shall start looking at those you mention now! I suppose the best way to get there is to hire a car?

Robert2533 Mar 29th, 2013 03:45 PM

Yes, you'll need transportation if you want to head up to the Pays Basque for lunch. If you want, I can recommend a service in San Sebastian that we use quite often for our clients.

THR Mar 30th, 2013 02:37 AM

L'Auberge Basque sounds good - still reading about the others :)

I would like the recommendation if you don't mind (and rough idea of cost...)?

Robert2533 Mar 30th, 2013 07:10 AM

We use Suital for transfers, but if there are only two of you going over for lunch, it can be expensive. I'd go with a one-day rental and explore the area, using the savings to splurge a little at lunch. Avis offers one-day rentals.

kimhe Mar 30th, 2013 07:22 AM

When in San Sebastián, I also recommend Casa Urola, my favourite in town for decades. A true San Sebastián classic that reopened its doors last August under the famous chef Pablo Loureiro after one year closing. Can't wait to go there this fall.

THR Mar 30th, 2013 07:25 PM

Definitely on our list Kimhe, would try and make a reservation :)

Robert2533 Mar 30th, 2013 07:45 PM

It good to see Casa Urola's reopened. We'll have to stop by in June when we're back in Donostia.

ekscrunchy Mar 31st, 2013 02:09 PM


THR Mar 31st, 2013 05:24 PM

I don't know what ttt means...

Robert2533 Mar 31st, 2013 06:06 PM

ttt means 'to the top'

mikelg Mar 31st, 2013 09:41 PM

Arzak was quite a disappointment to me. Noisy, full, the food was just OK and two of my dishes did not meet the standards of a three star restaurant (bones in my hake and another one served almost 200eur per person). So I can´t recommend it...while Akelarre is a very good choice. Another one I highly support for your choice is, real food in a great environment.

THR Apr 1st, 2013 03:38 AM

Thanks for the feedback mikelg. That actually does seem to be the consensus - Arzak does disappoint a few. And I'm not really wanting to take a risk with a potential disappointment if I'm paying that much money (hence not going to Mugaritz, which is even more expensive).

Thanks for the Zuberoa feedback; I've actually seen that one. But not sure it's really 'us'.

Does anyone know if there are any good day trips - perhaps by boat - from San Sebastian? Doesn't need to be super expensive gourmet restaurant; just something really enjoyable in the surrounds? (PS: I am also researching all of this - I'm not lazy - I just find Fodorite reviews so much more enlightening because it's real experiences.)

Robert2533 Apr 1st, 2013 08:27 AM

You'll miss not going to Mugaritz, but if you want something slightly less expensive, and still get a sense of Andoni's genius, then you can stop by restaurante ni nue at the Kursaal Center (

If you have the chance, then you should try Rekondo (, a quick taxi ride or you can walk up to Paseo de Igeldo, 57. An outside table is perfect on a warm night.

“Wine Spectator” premia al restaurante Rekondo como uno de los 5 mejores del mundo por su bodega (

Egbert Apr 2nd, 2013 10:42 AM

A lunch in Getaria at Kaia or Elkano is old school and some of the best grilled whole fish in the world. On a sunny day you can walk from Zarautz to Getaria along the ocean promenade (about 35 minutes) just get there before the restaurants close for lunch.

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