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Feb 7, 2010 01:36 PM

Pays Basque in March

We'll be staying a few days in San Sebastian in Spain. We're planning to travel across the border for sight seeing and want try two restaurants in Pais Basque, France. We've already dined at Arzak and Akelare in SB.

Wondering if anybody been to these two, how's the food and are they worth a visti.

Thanks in advance.

L'Auberge Basque, Saint-Pee-Sur-Nivelle - 1 Michelin Star

Hotel Les Pyrenees the restaurant, Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port - 2 Michelin Stars.

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  1. Hegia is, in my opinion, a must. If you're two adults.

    9 Replies
      1. re: mangeur

        a blank page? that's what I got.

        1. re: ChefJune

          Hmmm. It continues to work for me. As Souphie says, the photos are poetry and I'll add that the music is so soothing that it is one website that I don't mute.

      2. re: souphie

        Cost for food per person? I only seem to have found room rates.
        Thanks in advance.

        1. re: dietndesire

          The cost is for a couple all included. That's the only option available. Come in the afternoon, chose your room if you're early enough, hang out, cook with Daguin if you'd like, or drink and smoke cigars or lie in the gras if you prefer. Then share a tasting menu with all guests, and the next morning there is more deliciousness and exquisite conversations with the hosts and the other guests. When you reserve, Daguin wlll give you his cell phone, both so you can find the house and so he can guide you through the country if you want to do other things before or after.

          I was going to link to my pics, but they have updated the website and theirs are better, as much as it hurts to acknowledge.

          1. re: souphie

            Thank you for the specific info. Seems they charge 170EU for dinner for 2 by extrapolation though my math skills are not so good.
            If your pics were better than those on the site, that would be quite a feat.

            1. re: dietndesire

              Unfortunately, it's the other way around: I'm not aware that there is a dinner only option. It's a B&B, in a word.

              1. re: souphie

                I understood your explanation but from the site it is 650 for bed and breakfast and 480 for bed, breakfast and dinner. Just noting what they are considering the dinner charge, not that it can be had on its own.

                1. re: souphie

                  Read Souphie's 2nd post.
                  Due to the usual crappy servers on this site, this reply is meant for Nutella below but obviously it was too much to handle. Hopefully, this negative comment will be deleted with this post. And yes, I did have it in a separate reply to Nutella's comment. Spend some money on your infrastructure and connections.

        2. While it has been a while, was not in the least impressed with Hotel Les Pyrenees. Service was very haughty and the menu not appealing to me at the time. Stuff was prepared well but was uninteresting

          2 Replies
          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

            Deluca, how long has it been since you visited? Curious.

            1. re: Quimbombo

              As a guess, late nineties, had the stars then

          2. L'Auberge Basque, oui!
            But nearby...
            Loved, just loved Olhabidea, beautiful farm-restaurant outside beautiful Sare.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Parigi

              Parigi, Olhabidea looks outstanding and beautiful. Is the restaurant exclusively for those staying at the inn?


              Thank you.

              1. re: Quimbombo

                "Is the restaurant exclusively for those staying at the inn?"

                No, the place has only 4 rooms in fact. The restaurant has about 35 seats only, therefore book early.

                1. re: Parigi

                  Thank you. Tried L'Abuberge and seem the restaurant is closed on most days the time we'll be there.

                  Olhabidea is the next try and this one, which appears to be owned by the same family:

                  Thanks much.

                  1. re: Quimbombo

                    Arraya is very pretty and has good eats, also run by Fagoaga, in the village square of Sare, itself worth a visit.

                2. re: Quimbombo

                  Do they serve lunch? Do you know what the general price for lunch would be?

                  1. re: nutella

                    Read Souphie's 2nd post(or one of them anyway).

              2. We arrive in San Sebastian late afternoon so we'll do the pintxo circuit for the evening.

                Made reservations for Martin Berastegui for almuerzo the next day.

                Wanted to do lunch for Olhabidea and L'Auberge Basque However, they're open only in the evening at the time we're going. So we made reservations for dinner on consecutive evenings.

                I like to thank everyone for their great suggestions, all very helpful.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Quimbombo

                  San Sé? Pintxos?
                  Astelena Astelena !
                  (C/ Euskalerría 3, old town)

                  1. re: Parigi


                    Fully noted and now written on my journal as a must visit for pintxos.

                    Thanks a bunch !!

                2. Just got back yesterday.

                  Dining at one of the 2 planned destinations were better than I expected.

                  Olhabidea was by far my favorite of the two. We drove from San Sebastian for our 8:30 PM reservation and got hopelessly lost on our way to Sare. Unfortunately unknown to us our GPS was programmed to take the scenic route. It's not the way to go driving in a terribly dark night not knowing the roads.

                  But then we got to Olhabidea. It was enchanting walking into a 16th century Maison and greeted by our truly gracious host, Jean, whose family home it is.

                  The food <menu is a suprise> was really incredible and delicious. We started with champagne on the house to relax us due to us getting lost. We sat in a beautifully decorated living room lightly scented with freshly picked flowers.

                  Once we sat for dinner <only 4 tables, the Maison has only 3 rooms> we started with small dish of pureed potatoes in a heavy veal consomme. The perfect start into what turned out to be an incredible meal. The bread freshly baked, the top nice and crusty.

                  The next course was perfectly grilled calamar on a bed of asparagus, carrots lima beans and other vegetebles. This was followed by superbly grilled hake with vegetables deliciously flavorful and fish very fresh. Being a dessert fan this one was a WOW. A shortcake topped with pureed pear, topped with lemon verbena ice cream and a very light lemon verbena syrup. Heavenly. Followed by what is most likely the best tea/infusion I think I ever had. Lemon verbena tea.

                  Our host Jean mentioned during one of our conversations his brother Guillame <the chef and quite shy, not coming out to greet the diners> worked as a chef at Martin Berasategui. No wonder the food was so outstanding. Guillame also grows and serves all the veggies in his dishes.

                  Thank you Parigi and others for this treasured suggestion.


                  Next was L'Auberge Basque. Spouse's food selection was very good. Mine not so much. The appetizer was delicious. I choosed the Jamon Iberico small plate. The main course I did not choose so well, the merluza was good <by itself> but it was swimming in a tomato sauce that overpowered everything else. It was hard separating the fish from the sauce. The dessert was a rice pudding and that was very good. Spouse left contented. I left dissapointed. The service and the room were quite pleasant and unassuming. The ride there from SS was easier to get to.


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Quimbombo

                    So glad you liked my "secret". It is already hard to find with a normal GPS !
                    Can't wait to hear the rest as we are returning to the Basque coast in April…
                    I love this forum and how we share and update each other's experience.

                    1. re: Parigi

                      Be aware of the need to book well in time for Olhabidea.

                      For this summer, have just found out that two months,even with some flexibility on dates, is not nearly far enough in advance. Not so sure about about other times of the year.