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San Sebastian on a Monday

We will be in San Sebastian in a few weeks and have reservations at the big 3 -- Extebarri, Akelarre and Mugaritz. Any ideas for what to do on a Monday night? None of these are open on Mondays plus we might want a day of rest... favorite tapas or other thoughts welcome. We will actually be staying outside of SB near Igueldo so out of the town proper is also an option.

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  1. Monday night can be difficult to find a good restaurant. I would just head down to the Parte Vieja and eat at the pinxto bars. This old part of town is packed with so many pinxto places that some will certainly be open on Monday nights. This is what makes San Sebastian such a great food city and is a good break from the 3-star restaurant circuit.

      1. re: PhilD

        Great website! Did you have trouble identifying the individual pintxos on the bar menu? Are they pretty much only in Euskara (sp?)?

      2. Agree wholeheartedly with PBSF. Stayed at the Mercure on Monte Igeldo a few years back. Took the fernicular down, walked around the bay to the Parte Vieja and it was tapas heaven! IMHO, some of the best food in the world. A tapas crawl is almost obligatory.

        1. Also, there's a bunch of posts on the boards regarding the high end options as well as the pintxos req's. Are there any mid range places that one can recommend around the area as well? Something a bit more sit down style than the bars, but where one wouldn't necessarily need a reservation?

          1 Reply
          1. re: daimyo

            For midprice, Anastasio Berri and Zugasti are both very good. I would definitely make a reservation for Friday and Saturday nights.
            Many pinxtos places have a sit down section that serve a more traditional style meal. I like Alona Berri, Txepetxa, Gambarra, La Cucha de San Telmo and I believe la Cepa also. One may not need a reservation but be prepare to wait.

          2. Thanks to all for the advice. We leave Sunday and I hope to have some good reporting to do when I return.

            1. We are in San Sebastian currently on our honeymoon, having a blast. We have had pintxos at several places, but our favorite so far is Bernardo Etxea, in the Parte Vieja. We also had a FANTASTIC, although somewhat pricey, meal at Bodegon Alejandro tonight, which is one of Martin Berasategui's restaurants. COMPLETELY worth the money and flawless dinner. I've noticed that the pintxos bars have menus, but you don't need to use them if you're just having drinks and pintxos- just ask for a plate, fill it up, order a drink, pay and enjoy! So much fun . . .

              1. Hi all, I want to bump this thread. I am currently planning a trip to San Sebastian from Toronto in sept and am also having troubles with monday night. I am going to do a tapas crawl on Sunday night (after lunch at Etxebarri in the day) so may not want to do two tapas crawls in a row. Price is no object. Can you recommend anywhere very good for dinner on monday? Thanks in advance.

                4 Replies
                1. re: hungryabbey

                  "...so may not want to do two tapas crawls in a row."

                  Why not? You will barely scratch the surface if you only sample on one night. There are so many bars in old town its tricky to do more than sample on one night. Add in the other areas and tapas could take weeks to really sample.

                  Also good to remember the bars vary enormously, some loud and raucous, others small and quite, some old and rustic, others modern and on trend.

                  Sit down meals are great - and I always have some in SS - but at least 50% of the eating should be in the tapas bars. Some do breakfast! - but I prefer the little old fashioned cake shop on the edge of the old town, facing the park, near the town hall (at least I think that is what it is) - it has outside tables if the weather is good.

                  1. re: PhilD

                    I'm with PhilD. We were there for three days and basically only ate pintxos (they prefer if you say pintxo) even for one of our breakfasts. There is such variety that you never run out of things to try.

                      1. re: porker

                        Okay, good advice. I'm thinking then I will do Monday In Barrio Gros area, and Sunday in Old Town for tapas. Thank you :)

                2. I'm staying in the Amara area and it's quite a walk to Parte Vieja. Does anyone know how often buses run and if they stop after a certain time?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Negaduck

                    Don't know specifics but I found buses pretty frequent in SS. We stayed at the far end of the beach and got the bus everyday.

                    Its also not a very large city, but there is a vicious one-way system so useful to understand the way the buses route through it.

                  2. Have there been any recent reviews or visits to the 3 stars in San Sebastian? I'm still trying to decide between Akelarre or Mugaritz.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Negaduck

                      Was at both last week.
                      Akelare - maybe the best meal of my life. Choice of 3 separate tasting menus plus a la carte.
                      Mugaritz - much more 'intellectual'. You 'must' eat the single tasting menu which would appear fantastic in black and white photographs. Almost no colour at all in the restaurant or any dish other than a tweezerful of flowers. And each dish contains only a few ingredients; no superfluous elements at all. Technically brilliant, but seems to lack 'heart'.
                      Both are worth a visit but Akelare made my heart sing.