San Sebastián, Spain

San Sebastián is a gorgeous beach town located in the Basque country and is known as the Culinary Capital of Spain with the highest concentrations of Michelin stars in the world. We were in San Sebastián for a family reunion. Mike has a cousin that lives there so we were not visiting to spend hundreds of dollars on fancy meals but to eat as the locals do.

Our first food adventure: Pintxos (Basque tapas). The old part of the city has streets full of Pintxos bars where you order a drink and start noshing on the plates of small bites arranged on the bar. Get ready to get your carbs on – most are slices of bread topped with different goodies. Each has a toothpick in it and when you are ready to leave you hand over your toothpicks to the bartender and he will let you know the amount you owe.

2nd was a traditional meal at Aldanondo restaurante which specializes in grilled steak. Our group of 10 shared a bunch of appetizers and then each ordered a main course. Apps included: white asparagus, tuna salad, prawns, green beans and my new favorite thing grilled peppers with salt. For our main dish Mike and I shared the steak which was HUGE. The meat was perfectly cooked and well seasoned. It came with a simple mixed green salad which we requested instead of fries. Delicious! website:

Our final dinner was at La Fabrica. Here they prepare classic dishes with a new twist. We all decided to order the 3 course prix fixe menu which was cheap by American standards. I started out with the mushroom ravioli with foie gras cream followed by a local white fish with tomato sauce and for dessert an apple tart. Everyone loved the food.  website:

We had a fantastic time in San Sebastián. It’s a very relaxing destination. Mike and I plan to return when we win the lotto so we can try some of the spots with stars.

Non Foodie Note: if you do visit make sure you take a day trip to Bilbao to see the Guggenheim. Out of the 6 museums we visited in Spain/France that was my favorite.


5 Responses

  1. Thanks Nicole for this highly informative post.
    Noticed that on the Alanondo web site, the only steak of ox is offered in 1kg. Do you remember if they would also offer individual portions of Ox steaks (1kg is way too much for 1 person with a moderate appetite like me).
    Also: what would be the ideal time at lunch and at dinner time to go to those pintxos bars if I want to avoid crowd (I presume 1pm is better than 2 or 3 pm for Lunch, 8:00pm would be better than 10pm at night?)
    Thanks for your help

  2. S Lloyd, I don’t believe there was a smaller portion offered for the steak at Aldanondo. Sorry. In regards to avoiding crowds in the bars… for dinner early is always better since they eat very late in Spain. You should be fine with anything b4 10pm.

  3. Nicole,
    One last question (about Aldanondo) please: did you have to reserve a table in advance? Was it full of people when you went there? Can I just show up there or is is so popular that I better reserve (I will probably go there on lunch or dinner time on a Monday, at the end of March…since I presume it should not be as busy as in summer, I was wondering if I still have to book a table in advance) ? After so many research, I’ve decided to go to Aldanondo (Txuleta restaurant seems nice too). Thanks a lot

  4. S LLoyd,
    Because we had a party of 10 we did make a reservation at Aldanondo. I’m not sure if it’s necessary for you but I guess it wouldn’t hurt. Their website has the phone #. When we arrived around 8pm it was not busy but when we left it was packed at 10pm-ish.
    Have a great trip!

  5. Thanks Nicole

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