An unassuming city in Spain’s Northern Basque region, San Sebastian, surprisingly has more Michelin stars per capita than top world cities around the world. While it boasts many highly-rated restaurants and celebrity chefs, it is the high quality of local food at its pintxos bars and local markets that make the city’s culinary scene really exceptional. By Divya Behl and Vikas Plakkhot
The Finest Pintxos Bars
Pintxos is a style of tapas typically found in the Basque countryside. It is a small slice of toasted bread topped with an interesting range of foods, held together with a toothpick. The perfect place to encounter San Sebastian’s gastronomical fame? At its pintxos bars. Go to Bar Txepetxa for its anchovies and sardines. The anchovies with blueberries deserve a special mention. If you’re not a meat lover, Ganbara‘s wild mushroom pintxos, topped with olive oil, are truly heavenly. For a modern take on classic pintxos, Zeruko offers a plate full of pintxos and lets you choose what you want.
Michelin Starred Restaurants
Who would have known that some of the most exclusive restaurants in Spain were holding prime spots in San Sebastian.
Like the award-winning restaurant Arzak that holds three Michelin Stars since 1989, two years after its inception. The innovative Basque cuisine here focuses on traditional style of cooking. Arzak offers both an a la carte and a seven course tasting menu with delights such as foie gras bonbons, volcanic oysters with smoked vegetables, and chocolate truffle. Average Price: 205€ plus drinks and taxes.
A restaurant is worth crossing borders for, Akelarre offers spectacular views overlooking the Bay of Biscay and fares that are put together by Pedro Subijana, a man with more than 50 years of experience. Try the tasting menu, or order their signature dishes from the Akelarre Classics menu, or combine different options of latest recipes from the Aranori and Bekarki menus. Average price: 195€ per person plus drinks and taxes.
A popular food stylist and cook, Laura Lopez (@lauraponts) is focused on Spanish cuisine, including Basque-style. Her Instagram account is a showcase of colours and vibrancy. Her flat lay food shots are sure to leave a gourmand in awe.