Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Spain/Portugal >
Sep 19, 2008 02:42 AM

What time to eat Tapas in San Sebastain?

I know there is a small window when locals cram the excellent tapas bars to pickup the best offering. But what time is this in the evenings.

Also if you fine dine is any of the michelin star restuarants & you choose not to drink wine ( for alcohol consumption reasons) is this frowned upon.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Tapas, every hour of the day (well, from noon-ish to closing time), you can get them at lunch (2pm+) before dinner (6pm+) and for dinner (9pm+). (my references are only Sevilla and Madrid)

    If you don't drink alcool, try to get the best bottle of water available.

    1. In San Sebastián we head to the Old Quarter (Parte Vieja) for pintxos (what tapas are called here) around 9 pm.

      For pre-lunch pintxos, around 1 pm.
      The kitchen of the fantastic La Cuchara de San Telmo doesn't open until 12:30 pm for their miniature haute cuisine made fresh in the tiny kitchen. We hit this one early, when it opens, since later on, this small space becomes extremely crowded, 3 deep (or more) at the bar.

      No problem with not ordering wine in any restaurant, Michelin starred or otherwise.

      1. In Spain restaurants don't mark up the wine that much (and thus expect to make a killing on it), so you don't need to worry at all about not ordering it. If you're at a 3-star kind of place and you mention that you won't be ordering any alcohol, but might be interested in some non-alcoholic pairings, you might get some interesting concoctions...

        1. I find that there is a difference between north and south Spain for eating times.
          In San Sebastian most people eat reaonably early compared to southern Spain.

          Therefore (in San Seb) I would think it is best to eat tapas between 7:00 and 10:00 (at the latest), after 10:00 it does get a lot quiter with a lot of bars emptying out and many closing. For lunch I found the selection started to decline after 2:00 so 1:00pm is probably a good target time.