You have absolutely NO IDEA how much I LOVE San Sebastian, over the total of 11 nights I spent there, across 2 trips in 2016 & one in 2019. Yup, I enjoyed the trip so much, I’ve been there thrice and have every intention of going back.
Prior to my trips here, I heard that this area of Spain has the highest concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants, so I had high hopes, and the city's collection of restaurants didn't fail me or my tastebuds. Jump on board, and let's go!
Tip: San Sebastian (and the Basque Country in general) is famous for pintxos (not tapas!). Your best bet is to cover as much ground as possible, so do a maximum or 2 or 3 pintxos at one spot with a cerveza con limon (beer with lemonade), then hop to the next one to do the same, and bring your tummy on an exploratory gastronomic adventure till it's just about ready to burst at the seams!
Restaurant & Food Recommendations
Address: Calle 31 de Agosto, 31, 20003 San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa, Spain, San Sebastián
Hours: 6pm-12mn (Tue-Fri), 11.30am-12am (Sat-Sun). Closed on Mondays
Info: €€ - McKobe burger (I know the colour can be a bit scary, but it's damn yummy and a must have) + pulpo a la parilla + risotto. Stick to ordering pintxos at the bar, don’t bother with the tasting menu in the sit down dining room.
Hours: 12.30pm-3.30pm (Wed-Sun), 7.30pm-11pm (Wed-Sat). Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Info: € - Beef Cheeks are a MUST. Melt in your mouth, so soft you can tear it apart with just a fork.
Address: Arrandegi Kalea, 11, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Hours: 1pm-3pm (Tue-Sun), 8pm-11pm (Tue-Sat). Closed on Mondays.
Info: €€ - Holy Grail of Tortilla de Patatas - like, it really is. They only cook and serve two tortilla de patatas in a day: at 1pm and 8pm. Make sure you get your ass there early (I suggest 12nn) and reserve a slice, or two or 4. Size wise, each piece is approximately as big as a pack of cigarettes. You can hop to Bar Zeruko for a drink, and wait for Bar Nestor to officially open at 1pm. They also serve an awesome traditional Basque steak, so if you have the numbers to manage, get that too (Txuleta - pronounced "Chu-Leh-Ta"). I didn't manage to try it cos I was alone and that MOFO is MASSIVE (they'll come round to show you the size of the slab of meat before you nod and place your order), but my friends tried it and swear it's the best steak they've had in her LIFE. Pimentos (green peppers) were also recommended, and tomatoes were super fresh, juicy and sweet too! It's a far cry from the tomatoes we get here in Singapore, worth a try for sure!
Address: Arrandegi Kalea, 10, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Hours: 12.30pm-4pm (Tue-Sun), 7.30pm-11.30pm (Tue-Sat). Closed on Mondays.
Info: €€ - My friend recommended going for dinner and ordering the tasting menu- 8 small courses for 36 euros w a glass of wine. Award winning modern tapas. 1 Michelin Star. I didn't listen and just went nuts at the pintxo bar, good enough for me! Slightly more fancy that some of the other bars, prices also generally slightly higher here too. This is right opp Bar Nestor, so reserve your tortilla then head over here while you wait for Bar Nestor to open at lunch. If you're having the steak at Bar Nestor, then please have strong will, hold yourself back, and don't eat so much here.
La Cuchara de San Telmo
Address: 31 de Agosto Kalea, 28, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Hours: 12nn-3.30pm (Wed-Sun), 7.30pm-11pm (Tue-Sun). Closed on Mondays.
Info: €€ - Space here is as tight as Size XS leggings on my thunder thighs, but this place you MUST GO. Go early, and wait outside even before it opens, or you might not even get a chance to squeeze in. Don't sit outdoors - you'll be forced to order raciones, or the bigger portion of everything. Stand indoors instead, do your best to charm your way to the counter, and smile your way into getting the waiter's attention, because that's all that matters: THEY are the KEY to you getting ANY food AT ALL. Everything I had there was good. Grilled Foie Gras was amazing, try the Grilled Octopus (Pulpo) and Beef Cheek too, the Risotto if you have space. I also saw people having Razor Clams with Burrata, I tried ordering but they ran out. My friends managed to try the clams and said it was really good too. I tried ordering it when I returned in December, but sadly, it's only on the Summer menu. *sobs* Don't miss out on this place for sure!
Bar Senra Zaharrean
Address: Calle 31 de Agosto, 28, 20003
Hours: 11.30am-11pm (Sun-Tue & Thu), 11.30am-12mn (Fri & Sat). Closed on Wednesdays.
Info: € - Stumbled upon this newly opened place, they serve the best sopa de pescado (fish soup) I've had in Spain. Tried many others, they don't match up. Maybe we were hungry, maybe we were cold, but I still think about this fish soup all the time!
Hours: 7am-10pm (Mon-Sat). Closed on Sundays.
Info: € - One of the only places in the old part that's open early for breakfast, so many locals go there. Huge spread, just stand at the counter, and have your pick of the pintxos. It's like a buffet spread every day, go early enough and you can watch them as they prepare the dishes and lay it out, one-by-one. The guys behind the counter are SUPER nice (my sister & I had breakfast & coffee there almost every day, we had lots of fun chatting with them and other locals, we even bumped into one of them at another pintxo bar after hours, and he insisted on buying us a drink!), was sad when we had our last day there!
Hours: 1pm-4pm (Sat & Sun), 7pm-12mn (Mon, Wed, Thu & Sun), 7pm-12.30am (Fri & Sat). Closed on Tuesdays.
Info: Crazy good food. Think fancy plating and delicious marriage of flavours at great prices. We had scallops with pork neck that was SO good we had it twice. Baby squid croquetas were awesome too, as was the octopus with vegetables. Basically, forget about taking pintxos at this bar cos you'll want to save stomach space for their hot dishes (raciones), it's definitely worth popping in.
Hours: 12.30pm-11pm (Wed-Mon). Closed on Tuesdays.
Info: They have this steak and fries dish (think it's called the solomillo) that doesn't just taste really good, it looks super cute too (has a small quail bullseye egg). I went back twice for this!
Address: Arrandegi Kalea, 2, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Hours: 10am-11pm daily.
Info: € - MUST TRY: Mushroom (Txampis Tamboril). Come even if you just do that one pintxo. Sauce is damn shiok. I thought to skip the free bread they offer up with the pintxo, wanted to save myself from the carbs, but the sauce was so yummy, I couldn't help myself!
Address: San Jeronimo Kalea, 19, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain, San Sebastián
Hours: 12.30pm-3.30pm (Tue-Sun), 8pm-11.30pm (Tue-Sat). Closed on Mondays.
Info: € - Tons of pintxos, you can try the crab tart here. Good place to people watch too, apparently!
Bar Goiz Argi
Address: Fermin Calbeton Kalea, 4, Gipuzkoa, Spain , San Sebastián
Hours: 10am-4pm (Tue-Sun), 6.30pm-11.30pm (Wed-Sun), Closed on Mondays
Info: €€ - Grilled Prawns (Gambas) and Squid (pulpo). I think the prawns here were the best - I don't know what magic they sprinkle on it, but the flavour was amazeballs.
Address: 31 de Agosto Kalea, 23, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Hours: 11am-12mn daily. Kitchen opens at 12nn.
Info: Gets pretty packed, another one of those pinxto bars, great for people watching. A few people recommended the steak here (solomillo) but I found it to be not as good as some of the others I tried... But maybe it was a bad day when I got there!
Mercado de la Bretxa
Address: Boulevard Zumardia, 3, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Hours: 8am-9pm (Mon-Sat). Closed on Sundays.
Info: Someone told me this was a good place to do breakfast - it's an underground market. I say this is a great place to go stock up on bottled water (there's a supermarket downstairs) at a literal fraction of the price outside. I also spotted wine at less than 2 euros a bottle - can't vouch if it's good or if it's a direct journey to a terrible hangover, but if you do give it a try, please let me know how it goes!
Address: 20003 San Sebastian, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Info: I did not bother climbing this because the weather wasn't that great when I was there (and I was lazy), but this is the hill with a giant statue of Christ of the Sacred Heart, which is 12 metres high. This hill and its statue dominate the landscape of the bay.
Address: Funikular Plaza, 4, 20008 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Hours: Visit this website to find out the operating hours of the Funicular.
Info: This one is a bit of a trek, past the Ondarreta beach to the other end. I think it's worth it though, for the view. I got lazy (you can actually walk up the hill) so I took the funicular railway up for about 3euros. Super awesome view on a clear day. It was a cloudy day when I was there and I already was blown away. The operating hours of the funicular changes day-by-day, depending on the season too, so do check the schedule on the site linked above, and don't get there too early!
All the restaurants I've listed are within walking distance of each other, within the Parte Vieja or Old Part. In fact, I can pretty much find my way to each restaurant without a map now - it's really THAT easy to navigate after you've spent a couple of days roaming the streets to locate these restaurants!
I hope you'll enjoy all the eats that I've recommended - should you find any discrepancies in opening hours or discover that any restaurants have moved or closed its doors, please do let me know, so that I may update this list. Thanks in advance, and hasta luego! :)