San Sebastián may well be Spain’s—if not Europe’s—No. 1 gastronomic hot spot, with everything from Michelin-starred temples of food to casual bars that do a roaring trade in pintxos (Basque Country tapas), found here. Here’s what you need to know about eating in San Sebastián.
Two influences are most obvious in the San Sebastián food scene: the first is its coastal setting, with seafood playing a starring role on plates, while the second is its Basque heritage. Pintxos (tapas-like bar snacks) are a popular option here and range from traditional potato omelets to slices of white bread topped with cured meats and cheeses. Pintxos are typically paired with txakoli, a slightly effervescent white wine, or Basque cider.
Other commonly consumed Basque seafood dishes include bacalao al pil-pil (salt cod), txangurro (spider crab), txipirones (baby squid in ink sauce), and marmitako (a chunky tuna stew). Meatier fare includes txistorra (the Basque version of chorizo) and txuleta (beef steak from cows reared on the Basque Country hill slopes—typically cooked over coals).
- Bar-hop around the old town during a wine and pintxos tour.
- Explore a local produce market and visit an exclusive invitation-only gastronomic club during a food tour of San Sebastián.
- Take part in wine tastings and winery tours in Rioja Alavesa, the Basque Country sub-region of La Rioja.
- Discover the secrets of the Basque kitchen during cooking classes with local chefs.
- Learn about Basque Country dairy during a cheese farm and factory tour.
- Delve into the world of Basque cider at a museum devoted to the drink, before stopping for lunch in a traditional cider house.