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Jun 10, 2011 10:12 PM

Dining suggestion for Biarritz

We are staying for 2 nights in Biarritz and are looking for restaurant recommendations in Biarritz. After Biarritz, we will be staying at Maison Olhabidea . thank you.

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  1. We love Biaritz, but alas a good few years since we visited. There is some OK tapas, and a great charcuterie stall near the market (that serves good winw) for an early evening snack. Beware there are some prettu awful tourist traps (for French tourists). Our best meal was in "Sisinou" a small local bistro. The best bar for a sundowner was on a rocky outcrop almost in the sea off the small cove between the two main beach

    1. I would suggest Ahizipak - it means 'three sisters' in Basque, and is run, as you might expect, by three Basque sisters. They serve good modern bistro fare with a Basque twist, and at reasonable prices. I ate there twice last year. But if you have a car and can move, the Basque country is full of gems... (are you planning on going to Bayonne or crossing the Spanish border? Because if so, the place is full of good eating eating options. Though, as PhilD mentioned, tourist traps aren't lacking either.

      7 Replies
      1. re: LongBeak

        We are coming from San Sebastian so would like to stay around to explore the Pays Basque for 4 days before dropping our car off in Pamplona. We will visit St Jean de Luz, Bayonne, Espellete, Ainhoa .

        1. re: brigdo

          Great itinerary ! Here are three different places I've been to and enjoy.

          Very close to San Sebastian, there is a little town called Getaria, and there is a restaurant there called "El Kano" which has fabulous fish and seafood, including produce you don't find often in France (percebes, kokoxas...). Count on 60 euros per person.

          For eating in Bayonne I would suggest Le comptoir de la Nive. Simple, honest bistrot food, terrasse on the Nive river that runs through Bayonne. Nice wine list made up by Camille Benat, who also has a wine shop that does tapas in the back on the "Petit Bayonne" side of the Nive.

          Finally, when you go up into the Pyrenees, on the French side there is an auberge/restaurant called Etcheimaïté. It is in the gorgeous village of Larrau, just under the Pic d'Orhy, which is the highest summit of the Soule (part of the Basque Country). Beautiful Basque villa, excellent local produce and Basque cooking with refinement, very good value (evening menus start at 34 euros, lunch at 18 euros).

          1. re: LongBeak

            Thanks! The pix of El Kano on the website looks wonderful.. I think we will put that town on itinerary. Do you recommend Getaria over Hondaribbia?

            1. re: brigdo

              That's a hard one!!

              Getaria is a much smaller town than Hondarrabia, and it really is very close to San Sebastian - around 17 km I would guess. If you are staying in San Sebastien, it won't take much time to get there and have a wander before eating. It's charming, the old part of the town running down a steep hill to a fishing port. ElKano really is excellent. They are passionate about fish, and it shows.

              I also like Hondarrabia a lot, and you can eat well there too. The tapas at Gran Sol are good (even if they put too much bechamel sauce in their piquillos stuffed with salted cod fish for my liking).

              1. re: LongBeak

                Why is everyone recommending getting out of Biarritz? I think it is a great little town with lots of faded charm. Worth a visit in its own right. The countryside is great but don't miss the town.

                1. re: PhilD

                  Hi PhilD,

                  I never intended to turn anyone away from Biarritz, and I did begin with a recommendation for eating in the town. This is not the forum for tourist-guide style comments about the merits of Biarritz - a 19th century sea-resort like so many others across Europe - versus other towns in the Basque country. My suggestions are based on (a) my own culinary experience of the region through relatively regular visits over the last seven years, and (b) on brigdo's itinerary, which, as you can see, goes beyond Biarritz. Of course, there is lots about Biarritz I don't know. I have never eaten at the place you recommend, Sissanou, for example, although I've heard good things about it from serious eaters in the past, and will have to put it on my list.

                  Concerning ElKano, I just wanted to add - in order to not to create any false expectations - that the kind of cooking here is not experimental nor is it "inventive." It is product-driven, to the point that I would describe the cooking style as being that of fish fundamentalists: not so much as a single potato is served as a "garnish" with the fish. But what fish!!! The turbot I ate there in 2005 remains unbeaten by any other turbot I've eaten since, except perhaps the one I ate at ElKano again in 2009... As for other things I would recommend trying there: kokoxas and the chipirons (small squid), if they are in season (either stuffed with their tentacles and an onion compote or in an ink sauce - a Basque traditional favourite - or grilled with nothing else. You can order a mixed plate of all three)...

                  1. re: LongBeak

                    LB - not a comment directed at you, more a general comment that few are recommending in town and it isn't a bad place especially for a quick break without a car (esp if flying in from Paris or the UK).

      2. You should not miss La Table des Freres Ibarboure, in Bidart, very near Biarritz. Wonderful food, charming atmosphere and service, lovely setting.

        1. Try La Cucuracha in Bidart - run by a Basque family, great fish and good wine list - very popular locally so you need to book. This is a place where you could eat every night.

          1 Reply
          1. re: kerriar

            Thanks for all the suggestions, we are leaving today! Looking forward to sampling all the wonderful food.