San Sebastian Food Travel Guide
A dream destination for any self-proclaimed foodie, San Sebastian is the home of pintxos, small bites of delicious food. A lot goes into understanding the food culture of San Sebastian. From the private San Sebastian food and gastronomy associations, where generations of male chefs cook for their friends while singing to traditional music. To the many Michelin Star restaurants and contemporary gastronomy. From the cider houses to the local wines. From pintxos that range from simply grilled prawns, to elaborate modern pintxos that require explanations on how to eat.
Check out our San Sebastian Guide to Pintxos
San Sebastian seems to have it all, but there is more to the city than just San Sebastian food. The city itself is stunning, with a fabulous mix of neo-classical and Belle Époque architecture. The city formed between the end of the Napoleonic era and World War I. It’s the most French-looking city in Spain and offers a unique geographical position, surrounded by water on about 5 sides. It’s also a perfect stop on a northern Spain road trip or a San Sebastian bike tour.
Stay near the old town and wander through the city streets, tasting and drinking along the way. This is what San Sebastian food travel is all about.
What to Eat in San Sebastian
(And How to Eat it)
One of the truly unique things about exploring the San Sebastian food travel scene is that the food itself is pretty unique, as is the way they eat. Most people around the world know the concept of tapas, but pintxos are different than tapas. There are two ways to enjoy pintxos in San Sebastian. Most pintxos bars are covered with platters of various pintxos, or small bites. You can pick what you want, or you can point to the pintxo and the bar tender will place it on the plate for you.
But, some of the best pintxos are those that are on the menu, ordered, and made fresh. There actually is a lot that goes into it. This is why we would recommend the Devour San Sebastian pintxos and wine tour. Not only does the tour make at least 6 stops for pintxos, wine, cider, and even sherry, but they teach the ins and outs. We took the San Sebastian pintxos tour our first night in San Sebastian and it taught us everything we needed to know for the rest of our San Sebastian food travel tour.
Devour San Sebastian Tours start at €99. Book here.
What Pintxos to Eat in San Sebastian
One of the main reasons to travel to San Sebastian is to explore all of the pintxos bars, which offer fabulous little bits of deliciousness. They are similar to tapas, but oh so different.
We conducted a ton of research (it was quite the sacrifice) to put together this San Sebastian food travel guide, and, in particular our list of the top 10 pintxos to eat while dining in San Sebastian. Some of these are typical pintxos, that you can find at many bars. But, some are super unique to a single bar, and are the must east pintxos for that location.
Check out our recommendation of the Top 10 Pintxos to Eat in San Sebastian.
Bar Borda-Berri San Sebastian
C/Fermin Calbeton 12
What to eat: “Kebab” de Costilla de Cerdo (pork rib) and Risotto with Idiazabal cheese
Bar Goiz Argi
C/Fermin Calbeton 4
What to eat: Brocheta de gambas (shrimp skewers)
La Cuchara de San Telmo
C/ 31 Agosto 28 (in the square)
What to eat: Modern pintxos, including cochino (suckling pig)
C/ San Jeronimo 21
What to eat: Txangurro (crab) including crab tartlet
C/Pescaderia 2 (in the corner of the square)
What to eat: Gambas gabardina (fried shrimp tempura style)
C/ 31 Agosto 9
What to eat: Pimento bonito (pepper stuffed with tuna) and grilled octopus
C/ Pescaderia 10
What to eat: Modern pintxos including “La Hoguera”
Top Recommendation: Arzak
3 Michelin Star Restaurant just 10 minutes outside of the center of town. Arzak is one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and is open 5 days a week, for lunch and dinner. They are closed Sunday and Monday. The average price per person is €210. Reservations can be made via their website. You are required to provide a credit card to secure the reservation, and must re-confirm one week out.
Michelin Star San Sebastian Restaurants
There are plenty of San Sebastian Michelin Star restaurants. It’s the epitome of the San Sebastian food travel scene to dine at one Michelin Star restaurant during a visit.
It’s a good idea to make reservations way ahead of time. Many of the restaurants also close down for a few weeks or a month during the year, so plan you trip accordingly. Plan to spend between €100-€300 per person, on the higher end if wine is involved.
Order a full copy of the Michelin Guide to Spain.
3 Michelin Star Restaurants
2 Michelin Star Restaurants
1 Michelin Star Restaurants
Hotels in San Sebastian Spain
There are loads of hotels both within San Sebastian and in the surrounding area. Within the San Sebastian old town there are a lot of hostels and pensions, but it can get loud and crazy in the heart of the land of pintxos and cider. Particularly at night and on weekends.
Instead, there are two recommendations for places on the periphery of the old town. It’s a great place to base yourself on a San Sebastian food trip because you can walk everywhere, and can go back to the hotel to rest throughout the day. If choosing a hotel outside of town, remember you will need to find parking in town, which can be difficult.
We stayed at the Hotel Parma, where rooms without a view start at only €50 in the low season. Rooms with a view of the sea are a lot more. They also have parking available for €15 a night. (Check TripAdvisor reviews here | Book here)
Get more recommendations for San Sebastian hotels.