The spotlight is firmly on San Sebastian, one of this year’s joint European Capitals of Culture. The coastal city is home to no fewer than seven three-Michelin starred restaurants and has one of the highest densities of Michelin stars per square metre in the world.
Alameda [one Michelin star]
This family run restaurant in the French borders town of Hondarribia uses local, homegrown products to help protect and support local food culture, traditions and maintain sustainability of the area. The Head Chef is the talented Gorka Tazpartegi serving up food in the impressive dining hall. The fish is caught daily but also don’t miss the Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Idiazabal cheese.
(00 34 943 642789, restaurantealameda.net)
Arzak [three Michelin stars]
Chefs Elena and Juan Mari continue to push the boundaries of Spanish cuisine, turning food into art. It’s no wonder it is included in the worlds’ 50 best restaurants. The pair was a huge influence when I began writing a book on Basque cuisine and a visit to this San Sebastián landmark will be one of the best food experiences you will ever have.
(34 943 27 84 65, arzak.info)
One of my favourite places in San Sebastián is Bar Nestor in the old part of town. They sell only three things – padrón peppers, tomato salad and txuletón steak. Be prepared to wait for your table as it’s very popular and has a long history, having opened in 1980. It really is the best steak in San Sebastián and well worth the queue.
00 34 943 424873, barnestor.com)
I always go here for the chicken wings and the baked omelette (tortilla). And the last time I went they were better than ever. The tomato salad is also amazing and its secret is probably the Manzanilla Cacereña olive oil. This San Sebastián terrace the perfect place to enjoy the Basque sunshine with a cold beer, cider or local txakoli wine.
(0034 943 011380, bodegadonostiarra.com)
La Cuchara de San Telmo
This is one of my favourite places in San Sebastián; their suckling pig is a must-try. The skin is golden and crispy, while the meat will melt in your mouth. I’m also inspired by their tomato soup, served cold with jamón and Idiazábal cheese. They won’t give you the recipe but you should have a try making your own.
(00 34 943 441655, lacucharadesantelmo.com)
BASQUE: Spanish Recipes from San Sebastián and Beyond by José Pizarro (Hardie Grant, £25.00). José will also be serving a selection of dishes from the book at his London restaurants throughout April (josepizarro.com).