San Sebastian – We found one of our favourite restaurants thanks to a very friendly and talkative taxi driver. He told us we could find the best food of San Sebastian at the best price…and so it was! Be aware of the opening times (see below).
We went at about 8 pm and of course we were the first customers while stuff was still cleaning the terrace. It was a very hot day with temperatures of about 35 degrees Celsius. When we arrived at the restaurant and drank our apero on the beautiful terrace, the Biscayan wind started to blow very strong, so we chose to sit inside. The food was absolutely delicious and if we would have been capable, we would have eaten much more. The croquetas (that I love anyway) were one of the best. And I still dream of the “Begi Haundi” tagliatelle of octopus (calamari) with shitake mushroom and creamy pepper sauce, tasty, tender and mouth watering as anything!!! Actually one of the best dishes I ever had in Spain. As wine we chose the Mauro V.S. 2009, it was definitively worth the price…..
Between Bilbao and San Sebastian – just overlooking San Juan de Gaztelugatxe…
The Basque language is a little different than any other language of its neighbors and so are the names of the restaurants and locations.
We did a day trip to the coast of Biscay and wanted to see the little church on the islet San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. The little stone bridge that connects the mainland was constructed by men and reminds me a bit of a miniature version of the Chinese Wall.
First I thought the restaurant on top with the view over the sea and islet is just a tourist trap but we were so hungry so we gave it a try.
We ate wonderful fresh local fish (Besugo) and salad. The restaurant actually does only have a few tables with a view. If you just want to enjoy a drink, you can also install on the terrace with the panoramic windows that serve food from the bar.
San Sebastian – This bar is one of the many great pinxtos bars in the old town. Don’t forget to order the hot pinxtos as well and do not only eat the ones displayed at the bar.
Best time to go? Actually, any time of the day. You can go before or after the beach (about 10 mins walk from concha beach) in your flip flops or also in the evening but keep in mind that Spain still has the Siesta in the later afternoon.
Bilbao – The Basque Country has so many good restaurants, but the “La Viña del Ensanche” is one of my favourites in Bilbao! The venue has a bar, a shop and an elegant restaurant with a set menu. The menu contains 7 courses for 50 EUR and changes regularly.
When I go next time, I will probably have the apero in the bar or do one evening with pinxtos in the bar and the other in the restauant.
To reach the restaurant you need to walk through the shop. The delicatessen look great and is full of the best of the Spanish and Basque kitchen…
The dinner itself was just great and we took some ideas home to try to cook at home as for example warm green fettuccine pasta nicely arranged in gazpacho soup.
Bilbao – If you are looking for a really delicious coffee and croissant in the morning you should go to the bar at Plaza Euskadi in Bilbao (just 5 mins from Guggenheim museum). They also serve a wide range of mouth watering cold and hot pinxtos, freshly squeezed orange juice, and wine and beer in the afternoon.
You better don’t go around 10ish, when the Iberdrola office staff queues for their morning break.
no internet page, Plaza Euskadi, Bilbao (next to Iberdrola building)
Bilbao – When we visited the Basque country end of June we knew we will go to the Guggenheim museum and maybe also eat in the restaurant there. In the end we went to Guggenheim twice and had a 3 hours lunch in the Nerua. The whole building complex is just overwhelming!
We went once to see Jeff Koons and the other day we went to see Jean Michel Basquiat (exhibition just started the week we were there). Both exhibitions were just great and touching.
But now more about the Nerua.
We were welcomed by the staff very friendly and led directly to the open the kitchen to greet the chef Josean Alija (1 Michelin star and several awards, in 2015, Nerua has been included for the first time in the World’s 100 Best Restaurants list by the prestigious magazine Restaurant).
He explained his concept and his passion about the products (most local and seasonal).
We had the 9 courses lunch menu and were amazed by the quality of the food. The wine pairing was great (and also the story the sommelier had to tell us about all the wines….) although one of the white wines was a bit peculiar for our taste.
The atmosphere is white, clean, chic and reduced to the max, to put the spotlight on the food. Two tables next to us sat a group of people that seemed to be related to Basquiat. As we knew from the exhibition that he had two sisters, we soon found out that it had to be them. Later other customers of the restaurant approached them to express their dedication to Jean Michel Basquiats art work.
It is definitively worth going – although it strains your wallet quite a bit….