San Sebastian Food: A Food Lover’s Dream Destination In Northern Spain
Travelling to San Sebastian?
Amazing food is my vice and San Sebastian, Spain food has some of the best food I ate on my round the world trip. The food is also some of the best in the world. If you love food and travelling, put this destination on your list of must-visit places.
When I went to San Sebastian in 2011, I had a plan to visit for 3 days. Enjoying myself in the city, I extended my stay for a week. After travelling around Europe, I returned weeks later for 3 more weeks over the Christmas holidays. Had I more time on my Schengen visa, I probably would have stayed longer too.
Need accommodations for San Sebastian?
When I returned to San Sebastian, an American traveller named Sean was at my hostel. He was from Florida, kind of brash, and would hit on all the female travellers. Somewhere along the way, he annoyed me less and I became friends with him. Perhaps it was eating around town with a chef that changed my mind. Did I mention Sean is a chef? Sean travelled to Spain to try to get work at one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants in the area. Much later, he got to stage at famed Mugaritz in the area and since has worked at Michelin restaurants in Portugal and London.
Travelling all over Spain, I have had tortilla several hundred times but there was something different about Bar Zabaleta’s. I can still taste its rich creaminess. When I was in San Sebastian, my hardest decision of the day would be to have one tortilla or two in the morning. Hashtag living my best life!
The best Spanish tortilla in the world is at Bar Zabaleta. No contest.
Most days we would hang out for most of the afternoon by going for walks, hikes, or watch movies if it were raining. In the evening, we would have a few drinks, play electronic darts at a pub, and then go into the old town or pintxo bars nearby. Occasionally we would go out to dance at a disco.
In case you’re wondering why I am using the term pintxo and not tapas, here’s the explanation. A pintxo, traditionally in northern Spain, is a small bar snack. They are similar to tapas except that a toothpick holds the ingredients together. When you go into a bar, sometimes you get a plate from the bartender and then pick out the ones you want to eat. Afterward, you pay for them and the toothpick actually does more than just holds your snack together. It also helps the bar staff keep track of what you have eaten.
Food I ate while in San Sebastian:
Not very Basque but I learned how to make paella at my hostel
Kobe beef slider at A Fuego Negro!! The bun is infused with ketchup
Bacalao at A Fuego Negro
Uni and scallop pintxos at Bar Zeruko
Pintxos (I forgot what kind gasp!) at Zeruko
Rose infused lobster pintxo at Zeruko
Video of the infused lobster pintxo at Zeruko
More pintxos! San Sebastian food is the best!
San Sebastian food spots Chef Sean and I recommend:
- Bar Zabaleta for coffee and tortilla
- Bar Zeruko
- A Fuego Negro
- La Cuchara de San Telmo
- Borda Berri
- Bar Nestor
- Atari Gastroteka
When I was there, I hadn’t even scratched the surface eating the best of San Sebastian food. New places of note have opened and now I would like to go back to eat. I would also like to eat the Michelin starred restaurants like Mugaritz and Arzak. Clearly, a return trip is a must for me.
Whatever you do, go with an open mind, empty belly, and take loads of photos to share with me! If you love culinary experiences, I guarantee that you will fall in love San Sebastian!
Enjoy food tours? Here are some by Viator
- Small-Group Old Town Pintxos Food Tour in San Sebastian
- Price: $125.03
- Small-Group Walking Food Tour of San Sebastian
- Price: $99.78
- Spanish Cooking Class in San Sebastian
- Price: $221.02