Thanks again for @Maribel for this gem of a recommendation! One of the best meals of the trip.
Grilled besugo was excellent-moist and juicy and the chuleta was the best we had all trip. Pricy but worth it.
Most of the produce is grown in their gardens and the location is spectaculars built on a small bend in a river in zumaia. A fully enclosed glass dining space allows you to escape the summer heat.
Doesn’t seem to be mentioned in any guides but packed to the gills with locals. You do have to call for reservations but we were able to secure them same day for lunch by going right when they opened.
It’s in zumaia which is a slight detour between Bilbao and San Sebastián but pretty much on the way. Plus you can drive the coast towns and see flyschs on the way.
The additional sides and desserts we had. Every bite was top notch from the txakoli to the pimientos to the salad! Only thing that was surprising was their home grown summer tomatoes were not as sweet as the ones we get in California but maybe that’s why we are the produce capital of the world.
San Sebastián - pinxtos galore
I’m going be posting many random pinxtos in this thread. There’s an overwhelming amount of choices in San Sebastián. We used a combination of @Maribels San Sebastián guide along with a map provided by a hotel that our friends gave us plus using http://www.todopintxos.com/home/home.php to pinpoint what was exactly popular at each location as to avoid overstuffing. I’m not even sure if todopintxos is still alive and updated but it was a very good resource for us. Many of the restaurants serve similar items so be sure to be discerning. Also we much preferred the freshly cooked pintxo over the bar pinxto but there were some random surprises.
La cuchara San telmo
Best pintxo stop of San Sebastián hands down. All pinxtos are cooked fresh. Packed to the gill with tourists (that’s ok since we are tourists too) but it’s a must stop. We had a night where we did a pintxo crawl and I stopped here twice and basically ate half the menu. They have a couple of tables where they serve additional items but they are very difficult to get if you want them you should go at least 30 minutes before they open if not more.
Their popular items currently are the crispy pig, the squid rice, and the foie gras (which they did not have that night but we had an equally good morcilla in the same style). I could probably have eaten here every night.
Additional photos of the second stop we made at cuchara on the same night.
Bar sport for their foie on plancha pinxto it was ok.
Txepexta taverna they are known for their anchovy pinxtos the most famous one being crab and anchovy.
Also a bocadillo from the pinxto bar across the street from bar sport.
Bar Antonio - a great more localish pinxto bar outside of the old neighborhood. Delicious ensalada rusa (not pictured) and ravioli pinxto.
One of the more well liked spots when we were visiting. We tried to go again on the night of our pinxtos crawl but they were slammed. They have a sister spot on boulevard but the reviews aren’t great over there.
Love your photos and your report!
Yes, La Cuchara de San Telmo is a must! For anyone contemplating a visit, just get there before they open to grab a space at the counter, don’t mind standing knee deep at the bar when it gets crowded, and be patient, as everything is cooked to order. No groaning board of pintxos at the bar here!
The websites that I use for pintxos dining, since todopintxos hasn’t been kept up to date
- The guide of the Instituto del Pintxo, created to protect the traditions and uphold the standards of the city’s pintxos bars. They give the Barandillas awards, 1, 2 and 3 barandillas, to the best bars of the city.
- The 99 Best Pintxos of San Sebastián, selected by Michelin starred chefs. You can download the app.
Your meal at Bedua looks wonderful. Wish I were there right now! Bedua also makes an outstanding tortilla. Those pimientos look divine!
The pimientos were awesome! Bedua’a garlic vinegar olive oil sauce for the grilled besugo is so delicious.
During our pinxto crawl we ended up at narru in the downtown area of San Sebastián. There was some confusion because I think todo pinxto was referring to the narru in a hotel lobby near the large beach but we had very good raviolis at this location. They weren’t very friendly with us maybe because we didn’t have a reservation or because they thought we were poor tourists but we enjoyed our bite and our glass of wine and would definitely return for more food in the future.
Walking back from narru we tried to stop at Antonio but it was packed so we walked back to the old neighborhood and tried out paco bueno.
This is what I imagine an old style pinxto bar to be, before the michelinization and gentrification of all things food. Just canas, txakoli, rioja or blanco along with some bites definitely a place you could hang out with friends and get drunk at.The fried shrimp and the bikini style club sandwich did not disappoint. I think they are also known for their bocadillos but I didn’t try any of them.
Please return to Narru for more food in the future. The food is phenomenal. The chef, Iñigo Peña… super talented.
During the Tamborrada in Jan. we ate here at the bar every night so that we could see the goings on in this large, well equipped kitchen.
Iñigo won a Repsol sun in 2022 after moving Narru from the Hotel Niza facing La Concha beach to the new Hotel Arbaso across from the Catedral de Buen Pastor. He now has a much larger space with outdoor terrace, and the bar serves breakfast as well.
Narru isn’t inexpensive by any means (but not Michelin star expensive either), but the quality is quite high. His grilled wild fish and txuleta excel.
(that’s what I was referring to by todopintxos.com not being kept up to date–it still has his former location)
We continued our crawl to borda berri which according to @Maribel is owned by the same family as cuchara. Which also explains why I loved their food. Most items were sold out but we did manage to grab fish, pig oreja, and their interpretation of salmarejo.
Oreja was our favorite, it wasn’t actually the eyeball but I believe the facial muscles around the eye which were soft and luscious yet super crisped up on the plancha with a vinegary punch.
Overall not as good as cuchara but still a must try.
Ahhh that makes perfect sense. Yes I was very intrigued by the menu when I stumbled upon the location and after seeing the quality of food moving out of the kitchen and the staffs preparation in the kitchen which we could see from their small bar seating area we definitely wanted to order a lot.
However, since we were on a crawl I didn’t want to fill up and over commit since I wasn’t sure what to get from the menu but if I’m ever back I will!
There were people eating other things but I only came here for the cheesecake I ended up getting two orders. One order is two slices. I’m so glad I did because I didn’t get to eat it another time on the trip.
Right outside the casco viejo another local spot. They are known for their shrimp and bacalo brick. Both were very good but maybe not top level. Packed with locals for lunch.
Bodega donostorria gros
Not part of the crawl but a great meal! In the gros neighborhood next to zurriola. They do a lot of grilled items which were all highly enjoyed and have quite a few more selections of vegetabes compared to most carb/meat heavy restaurants in the area. A very delicious dinner. They recommend reservations we waited a bit but it was worth it
La cepa de bernardo
A pinxto and Asador spot that is pretty old school and one of the older restaurants in the casco viejo I think. We went here after getting skunked for a table at la cuchara, A very good affordable meal. Fresh seafood from the tanks plus a solid chuleta no complaints. I think they are known for their croquettes but we didn’t get any.
This is one of my favorites in Gros, along with Bar Bergara, one of the founders of the “miniature haute cuisine” movement in Donostia and Matalauva.
We go to Bodega Donostiarra for breakfast, lunch, just pintxos or dinner. And there´s table seating, as there always has been in these classic places in Gros.
On our last visit, we tried their more ¨formal" but tiny restaurant space across the street, La Maskerida de Gros, which we really enjoyed, especially their soupy rice with red mullet. Nice wine list as well.
La Cepa has improved significantly since taken over by Bernardo. Good to know you enjoyed your meal!