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San Sebastian Splurge Meal- Best value

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We're going to San Sebastian in 2 weeks (the 17th-19th). The 4 of us are a bunch of foodies. We like getting good value for our money but feel compelled to splurge on a REALLY nice Michelin star meal. We would like to get a meal that is unique and one that we cannot get anywhere else. We were considering Arzak, Akelare, Mugaritz, and Restaurante Martín Berasategui but if all the cuisine is on a similar level, we'll go with one with the cheapest tasting menu. I have narrowed it down to Akelare and Mugartiz from what I have read but would love all your input. Also, should we go for lunch instead of dinner? Would lunch be cheaper? Wine isnt as big of a deal for us so a more affordable wine list isnt as important to us. Thanks in advance for your feedback!

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  1. There is not much difference in the cost of the tasting menu of the four restaurants on your list. The menu and cost is the same for for lunch and dinner. You might take into consideration the logistics and the cost of transportation depending on the where you are staying, etc.

    4 Replies
    1. re: PBSF

      Thanks for the reply. Looking at the menus and reviews, I think we're leaning towards Mugaritz especially considering that they have a cheaper menu option. The day we do the splurge meal, our other meal will probably be pintxos. Do you recommend doing Mugaritz for lunch and pintxos for dinner or vice versa?

      1. re: bmoeljad

        After having two meals at Mugaritz (2008, 2010), I am not a big fan because to me, they stress conceptual ideas and aesthetics more than taste. Maybe they are just too intellectual for me. I have not had their cheaper lunch menu so I don't know how it compares it to their regular tasting menu.

        1. re: bmoeljad

          Some pinxto places are not open for lunch. Pinxto bars are fun, but the more popular ones can be extremely crowded and hectic. Honestly, the only thing we would rush back for is the cheesecake at La Vina

          1. re: bmoeljad

            As the above poster stated, pinxto bars can be hectic but it is huge part of the Basque eating culture. It is how most locals eat and spend their evenings with friends. It is not only about the food but a way of everyday life. The food can be as rewarding as any 3 star restaurant. The Basque is not only about star restaurants. They are for wealthy locals, an occasional celebratory splurge and viisitors. If one only eat at the star places, it gives a distorted picture of what Basque food and eating is about. Except for Arzak, one of my favorite restaurant (not solely because of the food), I would return to San Sebastian for the pinxtos before any of the 2 or 3 star Michelin places.

        2. We ate at all of these about a month ago and would rank them (top down) Arzak, M. Berasategui, Akelare, and Mugaritz. Mugaritz is more casual, but perhaps less flavorful for taking the most modernist direction. Akelare and Mugaritz are outside of town with nice views at lunch. After all the starred meals, one of our favorite dinners was at Rekondo--amazing and very reasonable wine list.
          Charles

          1. FWIW, there is a wonderful trip report of northern Spain food on eGullet. Akelare is one subject.

            1. I am finishing my final day in SS as we speak. We dined at Mugaritz, lunch at Akelare, and Asador Extebarri. My wife and I loved the experiences at each and would recommend them all, but, for us, Akelare was tops. The service, food and view were unparalleled. It may have been our favorite meal ever. The pintos are incredible in town as well. The quality of food for the price is incredible I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that I had foie grad for 4 consecutive meals (I don't eat breakfast!). Our best pintxo bars were Zeruko, Atari, Gandarias, and La Cepa. Runners-up to Fuego Negro and Cuchara fi San Telmo. . We found that the best pintxos are the hot ones made to order, selected from the chalkboard/menu. If you feel overwhelmed, ask what's best. The friendly staff at each place will be sure to guide you. Enjoy!