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Jan 20, 2011 05:22 AM

Restaurants in San Sebastian for us and a 9-year old on Monday and Tuesday?

We're taking a trip to France and planned to go to San Se before going to Bilbao for 1 day before taking a flight from Bilbao.

I don't see our daughter enjoying standing at pintxo bars, but I'm not sure whether kids even go to the bars. If kids go, we'd bring her for a short stop or two or three. This may not be an issue, as so many places are closed on Monday and Tuesday.

So here's my challenge: Where can the family go from Monday afternoon through Wednesday late morning that would be good for a family (2 adults and the kid) and not super-expensive? Although my daughter would not like standing and eating for a long time, in fairnerness to her, she is an adventurous eater. Of course, we could go to the market, pick up meats and cheeses and take a picnic near/at the beach or Mount Igueldo. The market looks fun.

We don't plan to have a rental car, but we could take one if places outside the city would be open or if recommended for sightseeing. We could also skip San Sebastian, stay in southwest France and then travel to Bilbao for one day before our early morning flight.

I realize that our timing is not great for San Sebastian restaurants, but our flight from Bilbao is set. Thanks for any suggestions.

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  1. Hi there. I don't know any specific places in San Sebastian to recommend. However, I've been there a handful of times on day trips from Bilbao.

    Kids definitely go to the bars. We've had our kids in tow lots of times in the bars in San Sebastian and Bilbao. They've always found it entertaining, since we rarely spend more than a half hour in each bar.

    Both are great cities to walk around--especially in the old parts. And the Basque Country of France is also beautiful.

    If you're not looking for some specific fancy place, then for mid-day meals during the week, I recommend checking out the menus del dia in the various restaurants. They'll all have a handwritten menu posted at the door. You'll find plenty of great three course lunches (including wine, but not coffee) for cheap.

    Also, I think the pintxo bars in the old part of Bilbao (siete calles) are totally under rated.

    6 Replies
    1. re: ChrisB

      Thanks for the response. My nine-year old daughter will be fine bar hopping and trying new foods (and we'll be very happy to do it). Between the market and the menu del dia, I'm sure we'll find some good food. We are definitiely not looking for fancy--just tasty.

      And if you have any recommendations for Bilbao (pintxos or not), we're all ears. We'll only be there for a Wednesday. We'll look at the outside of the Guggenheim and give a short visit to the Fine Arts Museum, which will be free when we're there (Wednesday). Otherwise, more pintxos and old city walking.

      We're probably going to too many places for the amount of time we have (we're going to Strasbourg, Paris, Dordogne sites, and northern Spain over 2 weeks before going to Athens for 3 days), but we'll just have to make the most of it.

      1. re: torncalfguy

        Hey Torncalfguy! I know you from TA. Not only do we have "inverted itineraries" for Spain and the Dordogne, I'll be in Athens BEFORE Spain. Go figure!

        Sunday and Monday are the days I'd worry about re; pintxo bars. They should be open on Tuesdays. A few have tasting menus and if you book in advance, you get to sit down. Those include Zeruko, A Fuego Negro and Bergara.
        La Cepa is open daily.

        1. re: Aleta

          Hello Alete/GM (as I see the picture is the same, even if the name isn't). Yes, it's odd that we'd be doing the same trip in reverse. Maybe you can tell us of finds in Athens and we can tell you of something in Sarlat! A Fuego Negro has some picture-worthy concoctions. If they still have it, I think my daughter is interested in something called, "Dove. Shot. Pum!" It's a small pigeon breast made to look as if it has been hit with silver bullets [edible] with blood splatter [plum juice, I believe]. Somewhat revolting and somewhat amusing, but here's a picture of the plate: http://thepleasuremonger.files.wordpr.... I'd try the salad where you shake a hard ball with salad and the dressing explodes within the ball. Then I guess you open it up and eat. Cepa seems like a good Monday bet.

          I've probably spent a month looking at travel sites and blogs for a trip that will be 16 days. I think this is part of the fun of it, though no one in my family would proabably agree wholeheartedly. Thanks for the suggestions.

          By the way, our trip is more of a whirlwind, simply because we don't know when/if we'll be able to do this again. We're also visiting Paris and Strasbourg a few days each before heading down to the Dordogne.

          1. re: torncalfguy

            Hello! I can tell you now where I'm eating in Athens since I'm going back to the same places we ate at 2yrs ago. I'll send you a PM about it since it's not appropriate for this forum. If Athens is your last stop, you may be happy with just a salad by then. Your 5 senses will have been so stimulated by time spent in Spain and France!
            If you don't mind me saying so, your daughter has a very black sense of humour! (a good thing). She would probably enjoy reading the book on A Fuego Negro. It has great pictures, recipes and weird food-related manga. You can buy it on the todopintxos website or thru Amazon. It doesn't have a picture of the "Dove. Shot. Pum!" however. Could you check your link? It doesn't seem to work and I would really like to see the picture.

            While you are in the Dordogne, are you going to try a ferme-auberge? Parigi had suggested some last year.

            1. re: Aleta

              My daughter and I share a similar sense of humor, so I don't mind at all.

              Try this link for an interesting summary of lots of San Sebastian eating (and the photo): The description and picture of "Dove..." is about a quarter way down the page. If that doesn't work, you could just use the .com address and on the front page, top right (just below a twitter bird) is a link to her San Sebastian culinary adventures. Thanks for the mention of the book on A Fuego Negro; we would probably all like reading/looking at it if we can get a copy.

              Until your message, I hadn't considered trying a ferme auberge, but it sounds like a great idea if we can work one into our schedule.

              I'll look forward to any Athens info you might have. I can't yet refer to my daughter as a "foodie," unlike your son, but in a few years I think she'll be there. At least she's adventurous and willing to try just about anything excelt lamb. They're too cute.

              1. re: torncalfguy

                Thanks for the link! I just bookmarked it and will read it more thoroughly later this week. What a dark and weird concept for a pintxo!
                Lamb IS cute! And delicious. If your daughter says no to lamb, I guess she's going to pass too on cochinillo asado :-P But will she eat foie gras? My son loves foie gras that is served in cubes, like the crosmesquis at Pied de Cochon in Montreal (bad picture linked here), but he's not keen about the natural slices. No worries! I love foie gras in any form.

                I just sent you a PM with the Athens dining info.

    2. Your daughter will enjoy the railway funicular and the vintage amusement park at the top of Monte Igueldo. Also, from Monte Igueldo you can see the most wonderful view of San Sebastian.

      Monte Igueldo from the beach.

      Good 'menu del dia' at Café Okendo (8 Okendo Street) next to the Bulevar, Barbakana (20 San Jeronimo Street).
      For the sweet-tooth, try the 'pantxineta' and the 'pastel ruso' at Otaegui (15 Narrica Street, Old Town).

      1 Reply
      1. re: JuanDoe

        Thank you for the comment. We're definitely planning on a surprise trip to Monte Igueldo for the roller coaster and the view. We almost stayed at Leku Eder nearby, but we thought it would be more convenient to be in walking distance from La Concha and all the restaurants.

        Thank you for the suggestions. Everyone comments on the restaurants, but a little info on the pastry and sweets shops is always good to know!