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May 21, 2011 12:43 PM

Less expensive but spectacular options in San Sebastian

I wil be traveling to Basque region in June. I've read through the board and am wowed by the fantastic 3* options and Pinxos. I was wondering about other options (say, 1* or unstarred or not to miss)

Our plan is below. The question is what to do Monday.

SAT: We are meeting in Bidarray, France and staying at Hotel Ostape, which seems real nice. We will either eat there or go to Hotel Restaurant Arce for dinner.

SUN: Lunch at Akelarre in San Sebastian. This is obviously our blow-out meal. We can only really afford one of these. Debated here, Azark, Mugaritz, etc. but decided on Akelarre. Hope it's good.

SUN night: Pinxos

MON: San Sebastian. HERE'S THE QUESTION. What should we do. We could do a nice meal, but not 140 euro per person nice. So what's a good option if we're not going to go to another 3* restaurant? We could do a nice lunch and Pinxos again for dinner. Debating going to Hondarriba for the meal but sleeping in SS again.

SO... What would you do for your other "great meal" in San Sebastian understanding that the other 3* restaurants are not at our price point?

TUES: Bilbao for the museum. Any reasonable dining options would be appreciated.

WED: Fly home in the AM

Thanks much!

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  1. I haven't been yet so I'm just speculating but I would switch the Bilbao day to Monday. Some of the most popular pintxo bars in San Se are closed on Sunday night and Monday.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Aleta

      You raise a great point about restaurants being closed Sunday night and Monday. Unfortunately, the Guggenheim in Bilbao is also closed Mondays, at least in June. So that raises an excellent point. If anybody in the know has ideas geared towards the more limited options (particularly Monday) I'd very much appreciate it.

      1. re: evkrieger

        Apologies about the Guggenheim misinformation. I'm planning to go in the summer when it's open on Mondays.

        Urepel is open on Monday for dinner. One of the Ericas ate there and wrote positively about it.

        Bar La Cepa is open daily. It's not the greatest pintxo bar but it should have something decent.

        Another option on my list is Restaurante Rekondo, Paseo Igueldo, 57.

        1. re: Aleta

          Yes most restaurants are closed on Sundays and Mondays - especially Mondays - in San Sé and Bilbao. If you are serious about eating and want "spectacular" food, it is best to avoid going there on Monday.

          1. re: Parigi

            Hola Parigi! :o)

            Do you think La Cuchara de San Telmo opens on Mondays in the summer? I haven't been able to get a straight answer on this.

            1. re: Aleta

              Hola. I was in San Sé once in September and expressly wanted to go to La Cuchara de San Telmo and found it closed, like everything else.

              1. re: Parigi

                Thanks for the advice, all. I have moved some hotel reservations around and now will be in San Sebastian Saturday and Sunday. We will try lunch followed by Pinxtos Saturday and then Alkelarre for a late lunch Sunday and something light on Sunday night. I figure if we finish lunch at 5:30 we won't care much about what is open Sunday PM. So all that leaves is lunch Saturday...

                1. re: evkrieger


                  Are you familiar with the Todopintxos website? They have great info on the pintxo bars, route suggestions and even offer personalized pintxo tours.

                  I've just booked a tasting menu lunch at A Fuego Negro. This is one of the pintxo bars where I want to be SEATED since I expect to be there for a while! I have their book and love their quirky website too.

                  Parigi, thx for your reply on La Cuchara de San Telmo.

                  1. re: Aleta


                    My bible in San Sé.

          2. re: Aleta

            I ate at Rekondo a few years ago and had a very good steak. The restaurant has a very large cellar (100,000 bottles) and we were able to have a double birth year wine dinner (58 and 70) at a very modest price. If you have any interest in drinking older vintages of Spanish wine there is probably no better place.

      2. We highly enjoyed our lunch at Bodegon Alejandro. The tasting menu was 38 euros as I recall, and we enjoyed everything on it and were stuffed to the point of not needing to eat much more than a couple of pintxos for dinner that night.

        You can also order a-la-carte for significantly cheaper. If I remember correctly, they also have daily 3-course specials for around 15-20 euros (though this may have been a lunch-specific deal).

        1 Reply
        1. re: jerkstore

          Am also a fan of Bodegon Alejandro. Excellent classic food.

        2. My favorite was Bar Txpetxa, whose sardines and anchovies were spectacular.

          1. We liked both La Cepa and La Viña well enough to go back twice. Opted for the restaurant as the bars were jammed and didn't feel like standing. I noticed a party of locals at another table ordering tapas.

            Would have gone to Bar Txukun twice, too, but they had closed, so ended up at La Viña a third time just before closing, at which time there was plenty of seating in the bar.

            Went to Rekondo, restaurant was full but they let us drink a bottle of wine in the bar. Amazing list with some great values, probably took me half an hour to decide on a 2000 Chapoutier Croze-Hermitage Les Meysonnieres.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I forgot to mention La Viña's cheesecake. Maybe the best in the world, do not miss it. Supposedly there's a recipe on the souvenir DVD they gave us.