Travel San Sebastian/Bilbao/Logrono - June 2018 - Further Help

Discussion in 'UK Wine Forum' started by Filippo Nanni, Feb 15, 2018.

  1. Dear All,

    I am due in Logrono on Jun 14-17. Alas the only direct flight to Bilbao is on Jun 13. I swiftly decided to go by myself for 1 night to San Sebastian.

    I am trying to secure a booking at Arzak (I would like to go traditional rather than Mugarritz and Rekondo is closed) but wouldn't it be better to wander around for pinxtos? I would like to pick the brains of those who have been.

    You are welcome to join.


  2. Tom Cannavan

    Tom Cannavan Administrator

    Arzak in September was superb, but the comparison with that and Pinxtos is too difficult for me to make a sensible comment apart from that! If you want expensive, luxurious and lingering fine dining go for Arzak with confidence based on my experience.
  3. Not been to Arzak but if I only had one day there and hadn’t been before I’d be wandering.
  4. I assume you will have a car Filippo

    Not a direct answer to your question but I enjoyed Elkano in Getaria (fish only) and Etxebarri, which are easy to get to from Bilbao
  5. I got loads of great advice on here before our trip about a month ago so if you search Madrid/San Sebastián/Haro it will pop up.
  6. Thank you all.

    I will have a look at the forum. However it is clear will not be an easy decision.

    My initial thought is to leave the it to the weather which is not easy to predict.

    If sunny and warm I shall wander around, if wet I may seek refuge in Arzak.

    Simplistic yet liberating decision pattern but this is a classic win-win situation
  7. If its wet you probably don't want to go to Arzak and its on the outskirts of town. You might think you can just hail a cab, but its San Sebastian and you can't do that... instead you must find a taxi stand because 95% of drivers will not stop and pick you up at the side of the road, doesn't matter if the rain is biblical either. If you are staying at a hotel rather than an AirBNB, they can call you one.

    Alameda (Fuenmayor) - The best ox chop you will find, cooked by a grill jedi. Seafood is also quite good here. This is also really close to Logrono, so if you can swing this on your way in...
    Epeleta (Lekunberri) - If you can't make it to Alameda or just love amazing steak, this is another place that uses better quality meat than all of the famous places including Extebarri. Open lunch only.
    Ibai (San Sebastian) - The best restaurant in San Sebastian for seafood. Open weekday lunches only.
    Portuetxe (San Sebastian) - If you missed the other two asadors I mentioned and want a steak in town, this is your place.
    Pintxos (San Sebastian) - Ganbara, Zazpi, Antonio, Borda Berri, Casa Urola, Cuchara de San Telmo all good.

    Arzak is the best molecular restaurant out of the bunch, I would take it any day over Akelarre, Berasategui, Mugaritz, etc but it isn't traditional. If you are there only one night (ie: evening) for dinner, I would visit the pintxo places above. Ganbara has good wines BTG (or bottle, if you feel so inclined). Extebarri is the best of the bunch, but since last spring reservations are much harder to come by.
    Chris Davies likes this.
  8. That sounds particularly enticing, even more so if it is cash only. I love a f*ck off restaurant!
    Stephen Kollmann likes this.
  9. They are the very definition of f*ck off, but in the nicest way... they rarely pick up the phone to take bookings because they can't be bothered. Chef is in his 70s, clearly they are comfortable financially and they intentionally make reservations difficult because it caters to local repeat customers. Small well-selected wine list as well (Fefinanes III Ano, Do Ferreiro Cepas Vellas, As Sortes, etc) and if they know everyone in the restaurant, its probably OK to light your cigar after lunch... laws be damned.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2018
  10. I haven't been to San Sebastian for years but this really sounds unmissable.
  11. I am planning to go for a few days in early July.

    Thanks for the reccos!
  12. I would like to thanks Tom and others for pouring knowledge into this.

    Thanks you all very much. I shall report.

    Trying to flying early in the morning as aiming at the triple: lunch, pinxtos and dinner.
    Alex Jagger likes this.
  13. Two of Nicholas Lander's "Best Restaurants of 2017" were in San Sebastian - Ganbara and Portuetxe - Subscribe to read.

    Never been but they sound heavenly (and reasonably priced).
  14. Filippo

    Don't think I can get to San S before Logrono, but will be at the latter June 14-17 - look forward to seeing you there
  15. I have only been once, last year. I found the pinxtos bars fun but somewhat overrated, but had my mind truly bended by Martin Berasategui, one of the best meals I have had.
  16. Thank you again everyone. I am still trying to arrive for dinner on Tue. It seems that only 1 day of gluttony is not appropriate for the location.

    Thanks Malcolm and Dan.

    Jasper, I will see you in Logrono. Should you plan change please do not hesitate to contact me. I would be delighted to have a glass of wine with you.
  17. Filippo, it might yet happen! I cant easily get to Logrono from Beaune by air or train so I may end up driving and coming round the west end of the Pyrenees appears to be indicated as the quickest route. So the night of 13th in san sebastien would be tempting. I know Dominique Lfon is coming to the symposium (he hasd better since he is a speaker) so we might even come mob handed
  18. A variety of threads I could post in but this came up in,my search.
    We’ve just returned from 3 nights in Bilbao and 4 nights in San Sebastián.

    Dinner at Azurmendi was a good experience. Some very clever technical dishes. Great theatre in the place with truffles eggs in the kitchen, nibbles in the greenhouse and a sedate restaurant. This was however only half full on a Friday night. The wine list was ok but the listed vintages were mostly too young and no real bargains to be had. One dish of sea urchin was just too intense in flavour and too large a portion. Overall it failed to live up to our expectations and preconceived ideas, not least fuelled by the glowing reviews from Andy Hayley and Elizabeth on food. Dont get me wrong it was solid cooking but perhaps rather soulless.

    Moving on however our visit to Asador Extebarri exceded all expectations. It was probably the most enjoyable meal I can recall eating. Simple cooking but executed so well. Each course continued to impress culminating in a fine piece of steak. Other highlights included a simple dish of local peas and another of ho e made buffalo mozzarella from their own herd. The small grilled sea cucumber came with tiny broad beans. A very well priced wine list with lots of interest. Engaging staff throughout. A visit to the simple kitchen at the end rounded things off. Of note we went for Sunday lunch and visited the bar downstairs first. Amazing pintxos on the bar which took all of our restraint not to indulge in. Full of locals. The main restaurant seems under rated at one star and will surely achieve a second star soon.

    San Sebastián was very wet! Nevertheless we managed to do justice to the pintxos bars. Highlights included Atari Gastroteka and Ganbara. The latter served very good ceps, truffles and artichokes amongst others washed down with a well priced Egon Muller Scharzhofberger kabinett.

    Lunch at Rekondo was a joy. The food is very good here too. The cellar is legendary and do ask for a visit. I’m not convinced it is as well priced as it used to be but bargains are still to be found, especially in the old Riojas.

    A final dinner at Casa Urola was also very good. A great dish of artichokes with jamon, almonds and ajo blanco, followed by a seasonal salad and a grilled turbot expertly cooked.
  19. F2131CE9-FD28-4FA7-8674-0EFADD884F48.jpeg Menu from Asador Extebarri
  20. 5E68E1E8-E71B-47FF-AFAA-86441BA1E162.jpeg D03E77A9-3BA4-41D8-BED1-A059BB2B49B6.jpeg C3000EBC-C8B9-43E6-B88E-640AD76035E4.jpeg D9F9D6B9-AADB-4C20-A194-A5B4D36114EA.jpeg

    Ceps and eggs with truffles at Ganbara
  21. AECC6AED-9891-4692-9347-4A89DFF0EC86.jpeg B34425CE-9A13-4A4A-8D6E-7DF428D78428.jpeg B25B5909-BAA8-460D-B851-198BB9147E01.jpeg Casa Urola
  22. Wow... looks great...

    Artichokes are my very favourite vegetable, but are horribly difficult with wine - can't imagine them with Valbuena!.:rolleyes: How did that go, Ian?
  23. Not a great match with artichokes but great with the turbot!
  24. OK, not so surprised at that! Hoping for some artichokes in Crete, if we're not too late. They need a pretty aromatic white, in my experience.
  25. Good to hear on Etxebarri, but I have had "substandard" meals there recently, probably do to their new found popularity. Keep in mind, Etxebarri's version of substandard is better than pretty much every restaurant in the UK, including Hedone on most days. Full of locals it used to be, so I am very surprised to hear this and its very much geared to the W50B crowd these days.

    Seems like you did quite well, most of my favourites in there and no duds. Ceps @ Ganbara look fantastic, but that turbot is far too small to be more than good, probably better off with sole for two diners. You definitely missed Ibai, the best restaurant in all of SS, but I think we agree on Azurmendi.

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