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Jun 21, 2007 07:26 AM

Where should we stay and eat in the Basque country?

I would like to find a B and B outside of St.-Jean-de-Luz or Bayonne. Of course, I need to find out about the restaurants and am willing to drive in any direction at least an hour, including dropping into San Sebastion in Spain and going up the moutain to Espelette. I am open to all levels of restaurants, bistros, etc. Stars are not important.

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  1. I liked Kaiku in St. Jean de Luz. Great seafood in a casual atmosphere.

    In Bayonne, Cheval Blanc has a Michelin star. I had a very good meal here last fall but the service is a bit cold. I can look at my notes if you want more detail..

    In San Sebastian, Cuchara de San Telmo has amazing tapas; their specialty is foie but there are lots of seafood and meat pintxos as well. I ate through the entire menu on three successive nights in the city.

    1. Do try to make it over to San Sebastian where you will many of Spain's finest restaurants as well as some of the best pinxtos. One can dine at three star restaurants such as Arzak, Akelare and Martin Berasategui for about half the cost of those in Paris. La Parte Vieja in San Sebastian are filled with terrific tapas/pinxtos places. One can't go wrong by just dropping by on any that looks good, have a few pinxtos then move on to the next. Some of the best are the above mentioned Cuchara de San Telmo, Ganbara, Alona Berrie, La Cepa and Bergara. They are all clustered together so hopping from one to another is the common practice. You can find many postings on the Spain board. On weekends, cars with French license plates are very common in the parking areas of many of the restaurants in the Spanish Basque area.

      4 Replies
      1. re: PBSF

        I second Akelare where I had a wondeful dinner. They so kind as to accomodate thier menu with half portions so that we coudl taste more dishes. I still have a vivid memory of the portk trotter.
        On the other hand I was slightly desappointed by Arzak which was suppoed to be the highlight of the trip. I am sure it is a very good restaurant if you're around, but it is not worth the trip as El Bulli can be.

        1. re: Theobroma

          These are great posts. Any more? I also want to post on he wine page for advise on the southwest French wines to look for in the French side of the Basque Country. We have booked to places: one is outside of St.-Jean-de-Luz and the other is south of Lourdes.

          1. re: Alta Bob

            I am not a big specialist of the area, but I feel someone need to mention Michel Guerard in Eugenie les Bains. He is a very subtle cook, of historical importance, and, unlike say Bocuse, he is still inventing. He is, among other things, a master of fireplace cooking. His place is a delicious one, and he invented the "grande cuisine minceur". see

            Unlike other historical chefs, he retains top gradings in all guides. My next trip to southwest would definitely include him, Etxebarri, Mugaritz and Marx. And I am certain that all those fine restaurants will have wine tips for you in the region.

            1. re: Alta Bob

              One white I liked is Pacheranc de Vic Bilh, a small SW appelation. Surprisingly the sweet Gaillac whites are often served before the meal in this region. In Basque Spain, try the txacoli.