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My guide to a foodie weekend in San Sebastián, without breaking the bank

Somewhat of a bucket list destination for any self-respecting foodie, San Sebastián has it all. Sun, sea, sand, and delicious food wherever you look. For my birthday this year, we were lucky enough to spend 48hrs in this Basque food mecca.

There are plenty of Michelin starred restaurants in San Sebastián and the surrounding area, but you can eat incredibly well here for far less money. Instead of searching for stars, we spent our time hopping from bar to bar, eating pintxos and drinking txakoli.

You’ll find cold pintxos on the bar, which are great but the made to order hot dishes are what the chefs pride themselves on, so don’t miss out.

Here’s what we found.

The first place we hit, straight after getting off the bus from Bilbao. Buzzy, loud and busy, it was a high energy first foray into pinxto culture, and couldn’t have been a better start.

The hardest thing about San Sebastián is pacing yourself. It’s so easy to get carried away and fill yourself up in one place, but aim for 2-3 dishes in each bar and hopefully you’ll last long into the evening.

Personal favourites

  • Langoustine ravioli in Martini sauce
  • Crispy oxtail
  • Igeldo

One of the more hectic bars we went to, but the staff manage to remain calm (if a little shouty). No frills, just super tasty dishes being knocked out of an unfeasibly tiny kitchen.

The ‘Kebab’ which is actually a pork rib, and the rich and indulgent Risotto are both a must.

Personal favourites

  • "Kebab"
  • Risotto

One of places recommend most to me, and I can totally understand why. Standing room only, hot, busy, it fit perfectly with my preconceptions of San Sebastian. There’s a very strong menu of dishes, available in different sizes to match your appetite and budget.

Personal favourites

  • Octopus
  • Suckling Pig
  • Foie Gras
  • Razor Clams

One of the more modern bars, Atari Gastroleku is comfy and takes reservations. Here you’ll find the banging caramelised french toast, and slow cooked egg dish that featured on Travel Man.

A great option if you want the luxury of sitting down whilst eating delicious things.

Personal favourites

  • French Toast
  • Slow Cooked Egg

Another modern option, serving up some of the best things we ate all weekend. Kapadokia is a comfortable and modern bar, which is much less hectic than the more famous places that you’ll find on most lists.

In particular, the Squid Spaghetti w/ Bolognese was both clever and absolutely delicious. The sangria here is also great, and massive.

Personal favourites

  • Squid Spaghetti w/ Bolognese
  • Russian Salad
  • Slow Cooked Egg
  • Scallops
  • Sangria

Ganbara is the fanciest and priciest place we went to, and I’d certainly recommend a visit if you can get a seat at the bar (we arrived 5mins before evening service and were seated straightaway).

The dishes are classic and simple but pretty flawless in their execution. Think tomato salad, grilled local squid, wild mushrooms served with an egg yolk. Lovely stuff, and the cold pintxos were also absolutely top drawer.

Personal favourites

  • Monkfish & Langoustine Brochette
  • Tomato Salad
  • Grilled Squid
  • Gilda

Old school tavern, showcasing anchovy based snacks & sandwiches. The menu is full of made-to-order marinated anchovies with a variety of toppings.

Personal favourites

  • Anchovy & Spider Crab

The go-to place for basque cheesecake. Head here to finish off your evening’s pintxo crawl and experience a basque cheesecake that manages to be indulgent, rich and light all at the same time with a perfect consistency.

Finally, don’t forget to take breaks from all that eating and spend some time on the beautiful La Concha beach with its clear, warm water, and soft sand.

Published: 18th July 2023