San Sebastian

San Sebastian is heaven for food lovers.  Officially known as Donostia-San Sebastian (Donostia being the Basque name, and San Sebastian the Spanish), this small city on the northern coast of Spain has been a mecca for travellers for decades, looking for tasty morsels amongst the pintxos bars of the Old Town.

Whether your food cravings are satisfied by a simple Tortilla de Patata dish washed down with a glass of Txakoli wine, or by a multi-course degustation menu from one of the many fine dining restaurants in and around San Sebastian, foodies from all walks of life will find their Shangri-La here in San Sebastian.

Delivering bread in the old town in San Sebastian

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Eating and Drinking in Donostia-San Sebastian

Foodies are more than spoilt for choice when it comes to finding good food and drink experiences in Donostia-San Sebastian.  Here are our highlights.

  • Wander the streets through the Old Town, stopping in at a few of the many pintxos bars that populate this small neighbourhood.  Pintxos get their name from the small toothpick that skewers these small snacks, and differ from tapas which are more commonly found in the rest of Spain.  And being on the coast, there is a wide range of different seafood to be enjoyed with these bite-sized snacks.
  • One of our top tips to a good pintxos crawl is make sure you don’t over-indulge at the first stop (which can be extremely tempting).  Locals looking for an apertif before dinner will quite often stop at a bar for one quick bite and a drink, then move on to the next bar and repeat the process.  Although, if you find a great pintxos bar, feel free to throw the rule-book out the window, and settle in for a few rounds of tasty morsels!  A couple of our favourites are Restaurant SSua Arde Donostia (just across from the Basilica of Santa Maria in the Old Town), and La Cuchara de San Telmo (which is very popular, so be warned, it can get crowded).
  • Make sure you don’t limit yourself to just the Old Town.  A stroll along the beachfront promenade overlooking Donostia-San Sebastian’s beautiful La Concha Bay will take you past La Perla Taberna Jatetxea, where you can enjoy a glass of your favourite tipple in the sun while you watch the beach-goers.  A little further on will take you to the neighbourhood of Antiguo, where the local restaurants and bars have fewer tourists than the Old Town.
  • If fine dining is more your thing, then you are in luck.  Donostia-San Sebastian boasts several top end and Michelin-starred restaurants, including the renowned Arzak and Akelarre.  Our favourite is in the town of Pasaia, a short drive from Donostia-San Sebastian, where Casa Cámara has been serving up amazing seafood dishes since 1884.
  • To walk off all those pintxos and work up an appetite for more, we recommend a hike up Monte Urgull to check out the Castillo de la Mota, an 800 year old fort with amazing views over Donostia-San Sebastian.  As you will more than likely work up a thirst after the steep climb, just below the Castillo is Urgulleko Polboriña, an open-air bar (which is only open when the weather is good), where you can enjoy an Aperol Spritz or a cold beer (one of our favourite local craft breweries is Basqueland Brewing – their Zumo Hazy IPA is very tasty).
  • Join one of the many cooking classes available, where you can learn the secrets of Basque or  Spanish cooking.  Options include how to make the perfect pintxos, or the secrets of haute cuisine, the choice is yours.
  • Finally, whilst you are in the neighbourhood of northern Spain, maybe take a day tour to the famous Rioja wine region a couple of hours south, to taste some fine Spanish wines, and enjoy a traditional lunch from the La Rioja region.

Top Food and Drink Experiences in Donostia-San Sebastian