Tag: best pinchos in san sebastian

The bar at Gandarias

The bar at Gandarias

Oh San Sebastian, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

1. THE FOOD

Where do I start?? I think I’ll let the pictures do the talking. Here’s my top 5…

1 - The best steak we have ever eaten.

1 – The best steak we have ever eaten.

Gratuitous close up.

 

2 – The best pinchos of the trip. Sea urchin chopped up with an amazing sauce then grilled. *sigh*

3 – ‘Tigres’. Chopped tiger mussels in a bechamel sauce, sprinkled with breadcrumbs then grilled.

4 – Gernika peppers. Fried and covered in salt. PERFECT beer snack!

5 – Jamon Iberico drenched in acorn oil. OH. MY. GOD.

 

2. THE WINE

My friend Anna posted a link to this article on my Facebook timeline and Jim and I were both intrigued by the fact that you could get  ‘…the finest wine in Spain, by the glass?’ at Gandarias. Well – we had to try it didn’t we?!

And oh, dear reader, am I glad we did. For Belondrade y Lurton was a glass of wine so delicious that I will be forever changed. It’s up there with the best Torrontes we drank in Argentina. With the delicious Tokaji we imbibed in Budapest. With my favourite Chablis, Sancerre and Australian Chardonnay. It was GLORIOUS.

We were drinking the 2006 in Gandarias (impossible to find in the shops) but you can buy the 2009 HERE. Jim and I brought some back with us and we’re going to keep it to drink on our two year anniversary next year 🙂

OK on to our second favourite wine of the trip – Senorio de P. Pecina Crianza a delicious Tempranillo from La Rioja. To be honest – we didn’t try one BAD red whilst we were there – all the wines from La Rioja were exceptionally delicious, very easy drinking and the polar opposite to the earthy Malbec we both love. But this badboy topped the lot for me – and we managed to drink at least one glass of it every night we were in San Sebastian  – wahey!

Third favourite wine of the trip has to be a lovely Pago del Vicario Petit Verdot Rosado (rose) which was one of the darkest, most delicious pink wines I’ve ever tasted. It wasn’t really pink to be fair – really dark in colour and an intense, almost sparkling raspberry flavour. DELISH.

Of the above wine’s the Belondrade was the most expensive at 5 Euros per glass but the other two were cheap as chips at around 2 Euros per glass – bargain!

3. THE BEACHES

Nobody tells you about the beaches in San Sebastian. Well – nobody told us. Bloody hell they’re beautiful! And there’s THREE of them! The one closest to our pension – Zurriola Beach – is a mecca for surfers as the waves tend to be on the large side…

View of Zurriola Beach from Monte Urgull

 

Then you’ve got Ondaretta Beach which literally means ‘little beach’ in Euskera (the local language). Jim and I had an impromptu picnic here on the second day – it was lovely…

Ondaretta Beach – just to the right of Jim’s shoulder! This was taken at the very top of Monte Igueldo which gave the best views of the city…

 

The third beach in San Sebastian is the beautiful La Concha. It curves around the bay from the old town to Ondaretta (they are separated by a small walkway that becomes inaccessible during high tide). At 40 meters wide and 1,340 meters long this is considered ‘the’ beach in San Sebastian…

View of the beach from ‘Cafe de la Concha’. Check out the seniors in their chairs!

 

4. THE CITY

San Sebastian is a such a beautiful city. The Parte Vieja (Old Town) is said to have more bars than any other neighbourhood in the world (can’t think why Jim and I loved it so much *cough*) the modern, pedestrianised shopping area (known as the Centro Romántic) is dotted with beautiful Art Nouveau buildings and trees and just across the Puente de la Zurriola the ‘Gros’ district – where we stayed – has a fantastically vibrant feel to it with the Kursaal Centre looming on the sea front, beautiful churches and yet more pincho bars…

View from the Old Town of the sun setting behind Monte Igueldo

Busy Saturday night in the Old Town

The Kursaal building in the Gros district

San Vincente Church

 

Beautiful light in the Old Town

Art Nouveau building in the Centro Romantico

 

5. THE CULTURE

The Basques are an amazingly social bunch. Every night they’d be out in large (mostly single sexed) groups either chatting in the local square or visiting the multitude of pincho bars. They love nothing more than a chat, a snack and a drink. They are all unwaveringly friendly (apart from the bloke in a record shop who kicked Jim out for eating an apple), ferociously proud of their culture and heritage and some of the biggest ‘foodies’ I have ever met. To say Jim and I felt at home would be a huge understatement!

There aren’t a lot of cities that I would happily visit more than once – New York, San Francisco, Buenos Aires off the top of my head – but I would happily visit San Sebastian once a year for the rest of my life. It’s that good.

A few of my favourite things to do in San Sebastian:

  • Gandarias for the best steak you will ever eat and a quite astonishing wine selection
  • Zeruko for the best ‘nuevo’ pinchos in town
  • Bar Azkena for being a sssshhhhhh hidden gem (downstairs in the food market) with fab pinchos and lovely beer
  • Bar Munto for fried gernika peppers and cider
  • Txuleto for calamari and the free portions of paella on a Sunday
  • Iberico ham – no matter where you eat it, it will be DIVINE
  • Monte Igueldo for the best views of the city (and if it’s open – a lovely outdoor pool)
  • Cafe de la Concha for breakfast (make sure you get the cheese, ham and egg toastie)
  • Walking around Monte Urgull along the Paseo Nuevo at about 6pm and seeing people get soaked by the waves (tip – don’t wear your nice new vintage dress from Paris)
  • Sunbathing/swimming on any of the three beautiful beaches

We stayed at the lovely Pension Altair in the Gros district – a bargainous 65 euros per night for a lovely room that had a beautiful arched window and was cleaned daily. Nice!

I think that’s about it! I probably haven’t done it justice but believe me when I say San Sebastian is NOT TO BE MISSED!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Mrs L xxx

PS – if you want to see the rest of our pictures you can do so HERE