I’ve now been to San Sebastian, Spain twice and that gives me the right to say that this city is truly a safe haven for all foodies. 😉 The amount of thought that the restaurants put into their food is incredible. The cover photo is of anchovies because they had the freshest, shiniest, fattest anchovies I’ve ever seen. The restaurants in San Sebastian focus on highlighting the ingredient and in doing so, everything tastes amazing.
Aside from the delicious taste of the food, I’ve always been a fan of being able to have a variety of food within a meal and San Sebastian pintxos embody that. Pintxo means “spike” which originated from Basque people serving foods on skewers, but this eventually evolved into small bites. Pintxos are the perfect way to try several different types of food and not get too full.
I have 4 places you must go to when in San Sebastian. The first 2 are restaurants for lunch/dinner, the 3rd is a gin & tonic place and the last is for Basque cheesecake.
La Cuchara – amazing for lunch/dinner, but doesn’t take reservations
Zazpi – another great place for lunch/dinner
Atari – gin & tonics, also known for their bread pudding
La Vina – the best cheesecake
Now, I will go into detail about each restaurant:
I’ve been to La Cuchara twice now 4 years apart and they had a different menu each time. This past time in November of 2019, the favorite dishes were the piquillo peppers, razor clams, foie gras and suckling pig. As a note, this restaurant is tiny and you will basically have to eat while standing but it is SO worth it. Also, they do not take reservations.
Piquillo Peppers – these piquillo peppers were one of the sweetest peppers I’ve had. I’m almost certain that the only thing they did to them was char/roast them then put some olive oil and salt on it because that is all that was needed.
Foie Gras – if there is foie gras on the menu, I have to order it and La Cuchara did not disappoint. First of all, look at the size of this foie gras! I can’t remember exactly the price but it was under 20 euros for this brick of foie gras. That would easily go for at least double the price in the US. Secondly, the way it was cooked was just amazing. It was so buttery and comforting with layers of flavor within the foie and in the surrounding sauce.
Razor Clams – I haven’t had razor clams much, but I presume this is the way it’s supposed to be cooked. The clams were so tender and soft with a light sauce that brought out the sweetness of the clams.
Suckling Pig – The crispy skin is what makes this dish… and I guess maybe the amazing tenderness of the pork; oh and also the delicious sauce that goes with this pig. Ok, this dish is perfect and I highly recommend.
Zazpi was a hidden gem that my husband found through google and since it was a block from our airbnb, we decided to check it out. The pintxos were getting better and better with each course. We were super bummed as they were out of their market vegetables for the day, but all of the dishes we got were to die for. Everything here are items that I’ve heard of before, but the difference in flavor of these dishes blew me away. Below is the list of items we had in order of my favorites:
Burnt bread pudding – This has got to be hands down one of the best desserts I’ve had. It was a mix between creme brûlée and tres leches which are basically my two favorite desserts.
Risotto with squid ink – This was a big surprise. The flavor was sweet and savory and delicious and too small, so we ordered 2 more dishes of it. 😉 (pictured on the right covered in foam)
Egg with jamon and truffle – This dish was delicate yet scrumptious. The truffle was definitely apparent but not overpowering then the jamon added just the right amount of salt to the dish. (pictured on the bottom)
Oxtail ravioli – Now, I’ve had oxtail ravioli before, but the way Zazpi did it was so yummy. It was very rich. (pictured on the bottom)
Atari changed my whole view on gin and tonics. Something about gin and tonics in Spain make them taste so refreshing and light. It is a must try! This place is also known for their bread pudding which we had 4 years ago, but they were sold out this past time so I don’t have a picture of it.
La Vina Cheesecake
A colleague had recommended this to me as when him and his girlfriend went to San Sebastian, his girlfriend went to this place 5 times during their visit because she loved it so much. We almost didn’t even make it to this place because they were closed on the night we were planning to go. Then on our last night, we had maybe had a few too many glasses of wines so were fast asleep by dinner time. However, our friend, May, like a champ, walked a whole mile by herself in the rain at 11:00PM (they close at 11:30pm) to pick up cheesecake for all of us and I will never forget her dedication to making me fat on vacay.😉 This cheesecake was so light and fluffy with that burnt outside that gave it a creme brûlée feel. This flavor bomb woke me up from my sleep and gave me enough life to go to a club later that night. Thank you May and thank you La Vina.