[San Sebastian] Which 3 Star - Mugaritz, Arkelare or Martin Berasategui?

Yes, for our third trip we were taking a friend who really wanted to try it l. we haven’t been back since and unless we see more consistency from there we probably won’t revisit given the array of options in Bilbao.

K5 seems to be popular. Had it at Etxebarri & Elkano. Very nice. Markedly better than the house pours at the pintxos places

Yes, K5 is excellent!

Went to Casa Julian today was supervised they use German Friesian beef rather than Rubia Gallega.

They used to use or still do use the local Carnicas Goya as their purveyor. But Carnicas Goya says, "Seleccionamos las mejores carnes en los mejores mataderos de la península y del resto de Europa.

The menu of their Madrid outpost on the Cava Baja states " Chuletón de vacuno mayor de origen nacional* (6 ó 7 años de edad, con una maduración media de 25 días, de razas nacionales y extranjeras)

Several meat temples in Madrid, such as Charrúa, also offer Holstein, Simmental and Tomahawk from Finland on their menus.

Well, the Tolosa original uses Holstein cattle now, also aged for 25 days. The bloke at the oven made it pretty clear.

It had the same yellow fat as the Rubia Gallega from the aging. It was a very good steak. One of the best I’ve had. Different from the Chuleton at Etxebarri which was also good but with a different texture - more bite That was decidedly Rubia as both the server & Bittor clarified.

Glad you like the txuleta at Casa Julián.

You´re having quite a gastronomic extravaganza!
We’re headed to San Sebastián on Oct 8 for the yearly S.S. Gastronmika conference and I can hardly wait!

@Maribel - I have read your posts - very insightful on San Sebastian.
We are 3 couples visiting San Sebastian for the first time at the end of June 2024.
We are there for 3 days and 3 nights.
I’d really appreciate if you could recommend a few dinner and lunch spots including Michelin star restaurants. Also if you could recommend places with amazing wine lists. One couple is vegetarian (no fish either) - any recommendation for them.

In the city (w/o a taxi ride): for all of these one must reserve

Casa Urola in the Old Quarter (closed Tues/Wed)
Ganbara in the Old Quarter (closed Sun. night & all day Mon)
Narru in the Hotel Arbaso (open daily)
Rekondo in Antiguo–amazing wine list (closed Tues/Wed)

Outside of town-
Martín Berasategui in Lasarte, 3 Michelin stars (closed Sun nights + Mon/Tues)
Akelaŕe on Igueldo, 2 Michelin stars (closed Sun/Mon in June)

For vegetarians-
Mirador de Ulía with 2 Repsol suns has a vegetarian menu (closed Mon/Tues)

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Ganbara must be enjoying well-earned success if reservations are now required. (Somewhere on this site, someone identified for us the next door freshly made potato chip stand.) If a ride to Martin Bersategui is a bit too much for the stars, there’s Arzak in town – to be sure, a different style.

I much preferred MB to Arzak for many reasons, despite the taxi ride required to MB. That’s the reason I didn’t mention Arzak. But YMMV. Just a personal preference.

Yes, reservations are absolutely required for the dining room of Ganbara, and in fact, in the bar area, if one doesn’t arrive when they open, as soon as the bar area gets filled, they allow no others in until there’s extra room. We experienced this during the last Tamborrada and we’re headed there this Friday for another, but if we don’t arrive at Ganbara when they open, we’ll be dining at their “table 15”, which is out in the street, propping up our wine and pintxos on the slab on the wall.

The pintxos scene has changed considerably in Donostia in the last 2 years with the tremendous crowds.

Would greatly appreciate your feedback on the following:

What was the size of your party? How much beef did you order?
Our party of 3 ( 2 ’ carnivore ’ male and a lady ) will be having lunch there, in the middle of April this year.
Would 1 Kg be enough since we’ll be ordering other side dishes and desserts as well?!
Besides the Asparagus, any stand-out dishes you would like to recommend?
Thx in advance!

Which restaurant are you referring to?
Julián de Tolosa?

Casa Julian in Tolosa

The confit peppers at Casa Julian are a must order. I also like the arroz con leche.

My experience in terms of portion size is that they can calibrate the number of diners to some extent. I’m not sure if there is a -1.5kg cut though. You are likely looking at 1.2-1.3 or 2 cuts at 2kg.

If you are trekking to Tolosa, we really enjoyed Ama as well.

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@Maribel - Thank you for the feedback. I have already reserved MB, Rekindo, Casa Julian & Kaia Kaipe.
I’d appreciate if you have any recommendations on where to stay in San Sebastian?
Also any recommendation where to stay in Bordeaux and Saint Emillion?
Thank you

We are here in San Sebastián right now attending the Tamborrada.
There are now many lovely lodging options, but for something very central and highly recommended, I would look at the Hotel Arbaso facing the cathedral ( we’re dining there tonight at Narru) or for something facing the bay we like Lasala Plaza. If those aren’t available, there is the Roomate Gorka facing a pretty square or Villa Favorita facing La Concha beach, which is the small boutique property of the Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra:
The María Cristina is the Grande Dame but is now Marriott branded for better or worse.
The Ari a and the Akelare just are too removed from the center.

Im seconding the rec for the Arbaso. San Sebastián has become so over touristed and the Arbaso being a bit farther south (just a 10-15 walk) from the old town removes you a bit from this but still easy access to everywhere walking.

The hotel at Akelarre had amazing views, super modern etc. It’s also extremely expensive and you will need taxis to get to and from the city.

We’re here in Donostia this weekend for Tamborrada and are going to the Arbaso to its Narru for dinner. In summer it’s actually a repite to be in the Catedral del Buen Pastor area, away from the hordes on La Conch beach or in the Old Quarter.

Neither better nor worse. Marriott succeeded Westin/Starwood as the marketing/booking brand. We’re confident the Grande Dame operation and reputation can survive the necessary alliance.