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lobo bar

Lobo bars are one of the most popular places in San Sebastian. Located on some of the most crowded streets of the city, they attract both locals who come here for their favorite Basque dishes and Galician beer, as well as tourists who appreciate the combination of price and quality and want to dive into the atmosphere of the bar, where there are not only tourists but also dwellers. In addition, the kitchen in Lobo is open all day, so in contrast to the traditional bars/restaurants of the city, you will be fed here at any time. In the morning, Lobo bars offer compact and mouth-watering breakfasts such as a toast or a Spanish biscuit with coffee and a dish of the day with a dessert and a drink at lunch. The rest of the day you can choose a full or a half portion from the menu. Here you will find a signature tartar of red tuna or salmon with shrimps, juicy burgers from selected meat, famous jamon, and even a s stewed oxtail. At the bar, elegant pinchos are always waiting for you. On the other hand, you can go to Lobo and just drink a glass of wine or order cocktails, which are prepared with lots of love here!
Address: Peña y Goñi, 6
Details here

mimo-pop-up-bar

mimo pop-up bar

A new unusual bar opened up atthe San Martin grocery market in the very center of San Sebastián.  While walking by the market’s stands with delicacies, colorful fruits and vegetables from local farms and beautiful flowers - stop for a bite to eat at the stylish Mimo bar.  There you can try famous Basque snacks in the original Mimo’s recreation, while discussing shopping and watching the local crowd.  Mimo’s chef Mateus Mendez, of French and Brazilian origin, cooks local dishes in his interpretation: Basque fish soup, but with a taste of red curry or a delicious freshly caught hake yet cooked in banana leaves.  Hurry to visit this unique bar as it will only be open  until the end of September.
Address: Urbieta Kalea, 9
Mercado San Martín
Details here

 

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Bar-restaurant Cepa

If you came to San Sebastian to see how the Basques live, what bars they go to, what dishes they prefer, then this place is for you. La Cepa is a classic Basque bar-restaurant with a traditional menu.  At the entrance you will see a long bar lined with the famous pintxos and cured pork legs hanging from the ceiling.  This world-famous jamon will be cut right in front of you, so that you can taste this delicacy.  It is for the jamon and other Iberian charcuterie La Cepa is famous. However, their classic seasonal dishes are just as good: green pappers Guindias from the surrounding fields, stewed white mushrooms from the forests of Navarra and, of course, the freshest fish and seafood straight from the ocean.  La Cepa also offers options for people with nutritional restrictions: at your request, the chef can prepare any dish from the restaurant or bar menu taking into account the peculiarities of your diet.
Address: 31 de Agosto, 7
Details here

The most exquisite vegetarian menu

 

Misura restaurant will surprise even the biggest experts of eco-gastronomy. Its chef carefully selects all ingredients from local farmers and eco-butcheries. The menu is quite diverse: there is something for high-quality meat lovers, vegetarians and even people with dietary restrictions. Misura is the only restaurant in town where there is not only a standard tasting menu but also vegan and vegetarian menu options. Be sure to try gazpacho of organic tomatoes, beats and grapes. It is also worth checking out the wine list, where you will find not only classic Spanish, but also the best foreign wines, as well as interesting options from ecological and bio-dynamic wineries. Misura’s exquisite organic cuisine is combined with a unique location. The restaurant is immersed in greenery surrounded by the Miramon forest. So, if you sit by the window, then besides the wonderful food, you can enjoy the stunning green landscape. If you prefer a table near the kitchen, then a whole culinary spectacle will be revealed before you as it is separated from the dining area by a special glass, so that guests can watch a fascinating process of cooking.
Details here

 

Where to try the best ice cream in town?

 

Carlos Arribas ice cream is not an ordinary dessert but a culinary artwork. The obsession of Basques with gastronomy affected even the creation of ice cream. Carlos has been creating ice cream from natural products with unique flavors for nearly 30 years. In his shop, one won’t find a usual display with all sorts of colorful ice cream. This shop uses the technology of closed containers, so that the contents won’t dry out or oxidize. This method of storage came from Italy, reviving the traditions of last century ice cream. It is not necessary to see the contents of the container for the selection of taste. A visual menu on the wall of the store and a sommelier-seller will help you choose your favorite sort of ice cream or the one that you wanted to try for a long time but did not dare. Here you will find ice cream with taste of the traditional Basque rice with milk (arroz con leche) with pieces of rice and cinnamon powder as well as flavors like Oreo cookies, Kinder chocolate and condensed milk. A real highlight is the ice cream with the taste of cuajada dessert that is loved by all Basques and is made with sheep's milk directly from the farm in Navarra. Fruit sorbets here also have a fantastic taste and contain pieces of fruits from which they are made: from mango and passion fruit to raspberry and lemon - a total of 48 flavors of fun! To try them out, stop by at one of the two shops of Carlos Arribas in the old town of San Sebastián or the main shop in the charming coastal village of Zarautz.
Address:
Location 1: Portu Kalea, 20
Location 2: Esterlines, 2
Details here

 

Spend your lunch at the restaurant overlooking the river.

 

Restaurant Urepel with a view of Kursaal and Urumea River, which solemnly flows here into the Atlantic, is located in the most picturesque part of the Old Town.  Urepel serves traditional Basque dishes in a unique interpretation of its chef using only the freshest seasonal ingredients for cooking.
It makes sense to stock up on time and carefully study the menu of the day: as a starter try a lobster salad, Amelié oysters with Per Sé caviar, squids with clams, or rice a la carabinero and accompany it with white semisparkling Basque wine Txakoli rich of citric and creamy shades.  As a main dish, this restaurant on the waterfront offers seasonal fish like freshly caught turbot or cuttlefish, which can be grilled or baked to your taste.  Among meats - a piglet or lamb on the coals make an excellent dish from the local chef.  The wine list could also become a pleasant surprise as it includes the best products of European wineries from Spain, France, Germany, Italy. When you visit Urepel, you will get aesthetic pleasure not only from food but also from the restaurant itself. Wonderful view from the window is complemented by the paintings of Basque artists from the late XX century as well as the works of contemporary authors.  All this creates a pleasant, cozy and refined atmosphere.
Check with the restaurant manager for additional tourist services provided by Urepel in collaboration with local guides.  There are special offers for leisure including cooking courses and city tours. 
Details: here

 

Where to find the best selection of wine?

 

When you go wandering through the cozy streets of the Old Town make sure to stop by the legendary Solbes shop. It is located next to the La Bretxa market on Aldamar street. Solbes is a family business that has been around for 125 years. In the XIX century, the company was engaged in bottling wine and cider, and in the XX century, they started selling the best wines from Spain and Portugal. Nowadays, it is basically a quality mark of the Basque Country. If you go to Michelin-starred restaurants of famous chefs like Arzak or Berasategui and any of the wines served there charm you, be certain that you will definitely find it in Solbes. After all, this company supplies wines to famous restaurants and specialized boutiques. In Solbes, you will find a huge selection and very reasonable prices not only for wines, but also for local delicacies. Gourmet products became available in Solbes stores, when management was passed to the current fourth-generation owner Joaquin Solbes. It was him, who made sure that customers would be able to accompany their wines with traditional delights from north Spain and Atlantic coast such as anchovies, northern tuna, guindilla peppers, olives, hard cheese Idiazabal made of raw sheep milk, and, of course, jamon serrano or iberico depending on your preferences. A bonus for pintxo lovers is ready-to-eat Gilda snack in a sealed package for a Basque party in your home.
Address: Aldamar, 4
Details here

 

Where is the best cheesecake prepared?

 

One of the most known streets in the Old Town of San Sebastian - the world-famous gastronomy street "31 de Agosto" - hosts a family restaurant La Viña with the traditional Basque cuisine.
It was opened in 1959, and in 1960 the current owner and chef of the restaurant Santiago Ribera was born. According to him, he preserves recipes handed down from generation to generation, and refines traditional dishes following the trends of the New Basque cuisine. In the menu of the restaurant there are classic dishes such as the monkfish and donostiarra style crab Changurro, and at the bar - unique pincho-snacks. In 2016, the restaurant received Más Gastronomía award as the best pincho bar. Be sure to try the chef's recommendation: a waffle cone filled with mousse from the tenderest young cheese and topped with a piquant anchovy.
However, locals and hundreds of tourists from different parts of the world have been coming to this place for several decades to eat the most famous dish of La Viña - its cheesecake.  A unique recipe of this cheesecake makes its texture unusually light & creamy inside with light caramel crust outside. Thanks to the mastery of the chef, this sweet dish is one of the top 10 Spanish cheesecakes in the ABC edition. Details here.
Details here

 

Enjoy grilled octopus and a magnificent view of
Basilica of Santa Maria

 

Atari is a universal place in San Sebastian.  Everyone meets here - deliberately or accidentally.   It is an excellent place to begin or end a day. It is equally nice for having breakfast, lunch or dinner as well as for tasting cocktails. Locals and foreigners love to come here. Quinoa salad and a traditional Basque aperitif with anchovies, tuna and olives co-exist perfectly in the menu here.  Despite the great overflow of tourists all year round, the waiters here remain polite and the food never loses its quality. Most importantly - if you did not find an unoccupied table on the terrace or inside - you can still order your food (even if it is a Chuleta steak) and eat it on the conveniently-located steps of a nearby church. And you won't be alone with this intention. The menu here is small, but sensible: you can choose from cold pinchos from the bar or start with light snacks and salads from their menu. There is also an excellent chuleta there and five amazing desserts. However, the number one dish with unrivaled taste in the unspoken local ranking is a grilled octopus, which is served with baked potatoes, and slowly grilled onions and red peppers. This is an absolute “food porn”, in both the taste and aesthetic senses.
Details here

 

Enjoy most spectacular views from the top of the mountain

 

The five hundred meters tall Mount Igeldo, located on the west side of the city, offers the most breathtaking view of San Sebastian. Igeldo was once a village inhabited by farmers, who breed poultry and cattle, but in times of local “belle époque”, in the early 20th century, several remarkable landmarks such as the funicular, gardens, casino and luxury hotel appeared here. Many of these developments, like the funicular, survive to the present day and have barely changed. The hotel was renovated in the late 60's, and since then time seems to have stopped here. To us, the hotel resembles Wes Anderson's "Hotel Budapest" and the mysterious hotel "Dolphin" from Haruki Murakami’s book "Dance, Dance, Dance" by the personalities of its guests, the musical accompaniment in the restaurant, and the color of the sofas in the lobby. When the French network of hotels, Accor, acquired Monte Igueldo hotel, it was awarded another star for the view from huge windows in the lobby which is truly magnificent. Travel through time here taking in the views of the endless ocean with a glass of wine in hand.
Details here

 

Try tasty cocktails in the Old Town

 

The famous gastro-pub on the corner of Calle Mayor and Calle 31 de Agosto is called a Sirimiri Academy and follows the same gastronomical concept as of the famous adjacent restaurant Atari. Sirimiri’s young English chef Lancelot Krejfer modifies the menu several times a year and easily adds British humor and the international approach to the established Basque culinary traditions. In the menu there is always a large nachos plate with a mix of hot sauces for sharing, as well as several types of croquets as an appetizer. However, the bar is mostly known for its octopus cooked at low temperature and served with seasonal vegetables and Chinese spicy sauce. The academic approach is read not only in the ingenious bar logo - an elegantly drawn knife ending with a fountain pen, but also in an extensive cocktail menu.  Fifteen cocktails - among which are the great Vanilla Fizz, Bramble and Moscow Mule - are a decisive argument in favor for a weekend or even a weekday evening in Sirimiri.
Details here

 

Get a brief excursion into the finesse of Basque cuisine

 

Mimo San Sebastián was created by a young British entrepreneur who fell in love with Basque Country and its gastronomy. Offering customers diverse experiences - from pintxo tours in the old town to wine tastings in the province of Rioja, Mimo concentrated on its strategically important endeavor - the culinary school. Located in the hotel Maria Cristina, this magnificently equipped culinary school with inspiring modern interiors is a great opportunity for gastro-tourists to realize their big dream - become a chef for a couple of hours. Choosing between "the essential pintxo" or "Michelin star secrets" classes is not difficult; each masterclass offers a set of amazing recipes and skills that participants could use in their daily culinary practice. The class begins with a visit to a local farmers' market as Mimo focuses on seasonal local products. You can learn the texture of fresh artichokes, admire the variety of fish and find out exactly what ingredients are needed to prepare winter vegetable soup. Further, while sipping local crianza, following detailed instructions of an experienced chef (in Spanish and English languages) you will clean a squid for the first time in your life and, suddenly, chop an onion as it is done only in commercials. The magic of this four-hour class is a grand finale with self-cooked three-course lunch that will exceed your highest expectations with respect to your own culinary abilities.  You will leave the grounds of the school extremely pleased with yourself and with Mimo San Sebastián experience.
Details here

 

Dance away to the great music and amazing views

 

San Sebastian is hardly considered a nightlife Mecca but rather a gastronomic pearl, yet after satisfying your taste receptors during a very late dinner or a delayed midnight “pincho hunting" – a nice cocktail followed by dancing is a fairly common practice. Gu in this sense is an absolutely unique place. Located, let's say, on the upper deck of the “ship” that is both a landmark of the city and a private sea club, Gu has a terrace with magnificent views of the bay and a bar with a grand selection of cocktails, which after eleven gradually turns into one of the most popular night clubs in the city and runs until five in the morning. Back in the day, an intellectual techno or a very moderate lounge played here, attracting fans of club music in its refined, European version. Nowadays music variation is much broader - you might hear a cheerful regatón and ironic covers on pop hits, to which the whole city starts dancing. Gu’s location is also ideal for events and private parties.
Details here

 

Let rare meat melt in your mouth

Many San Sebastian tourists are interested in the question: what, if not pintxos? Tired of sandwiches and snacks at the end of the third day in the city, they start planning a real dinner. Perhaps the most popular option here, if you don’t choose fresh fish and seafood, is chuleta. The most common version is the beefsteak on the bone prepared on charcoals. Traditionally chuleta is served rare. Of course, it is possible to order it well-done, but the chef (and the waiter) would be skeptical of this idea and immediately guess that you are ordering chuleta for the third time in your life and haven’t had a chance to really taste it.
How do you make sure that rare meat is delicious and melts in your mouth? The owner of Nestor Bar said that it is important to have two components: meat quality and the way it must be hung for several days to develop a deep red color and juicy texture. Many restaurants in the Old Part work mainly with local produce. For the Basques it is a question of prestige and quality. Nestor Bar on Pescaderia Street in the old town is a truly unique place. In the menu: unbeatable tortilla, traditional tomato salad with sea salt flakes and olive oil, chuleta, and fried green peppers of Gipuzkoa. There's only one table in the bar - people are ready to eat standing up.  The secret here is quality and, in some sense,  the quantity: tortilla is prepared twice a day and sold only to those who made a reservation one hour prior to serving.  Fashionable French writer Begbedder and Olsen twins stand in line here for chuleta. Come and see for yourself.
Details here

Enjoy the spirit of an old Spanish plaza

 

Plaza de Constitución is one of the most coziest squares in the city. It was once a bullring that to the present day displays box numbers on the balcony doors.  Today it is a typical tourist must have - a square where guides bring their groups, where pigeons wonder and children play, where live music is often played and can be enjoyed from the cozy bar terraces. This is the place where Tamborrada starts on San Sebastian's Day and where Santo Tomás is celebrated. 
The terrace of Lanbroa bar is one of the most inviting and attractive. Its terracotta umbrellas and green garlands create an atmosphere of a homely terrace at night, and during the day perfectly correlate with strict facades. People mostly come here to have a snack or cocktails. The menu of the bar consists of small dishes, jamon and local cheeses served on traditional wooden cut-boards. Among cocktails there’s Kir Roayl, Pina Colada, Margarita - standard worldwide and yet hard-to-find in San Sebastian. One can spend quite a long time here in the evening with a glass of crianza while watching people, shadows in the sky or rainwater streams – the terrace is especially comfy when it rains.
Details here.

 

Attend an internationally renowned jazz festival

 

At the height of summer, in San Sebastian, all the street corners are filled with the sound of jazz. One of the oldest European jazz festivals, ‘Jazzaldia’, (nowadays with an added sponsor title Heineken) is held here annually and is internationally renowned. Famous (and some not so famous) bands from Europe, Asia, Africa and America perform in many, sometimes unexpected, places in the city. Among others is the ‘Plaza Trinidad’, a stage in the heart of the old town at the foot of Mount Urgul, where the festival was launched in 1966. Natural acoustics can be experienced here. This is what makes this spot the most romantic of the festival. The glass cubes of the expo center Kursal with its adjoining terrace and Zuriola beach, is a very spacious area where people can come with their families and friends. The magical patio of San Telmo museum (an architectural masterpiece of the 16th century) is a must to visit at night. Here, you can usually attend concerts with sophisticated Scandinavian experimentalists. The famous stage of the Victoria Eugenia Theater features professional musicians. 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of Jazzaldia.  There was an impressive collection of headlining artists, such as British pop jazz musician Jamie Calm, American avant-garde player John Zorn, as well as Norwegian jazz and Basque experimentalists in the joint project PUNKT.
Details here

 

San Sebastian is not only a great vacation city but also a place for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions.  View this video for more details: