Located at Hotel Akelarre, Akelarre is a three-Michelin star restaurant by Pedro Subijana serving innovative Basque cuisine with a focus on seafood. At Hotel Akelarre you will also find a cocktail bar by the renowned Patxi Troitino serving unbelievable cocktails, and Oteiza, a casual offshoot of Akelarre also by Chef Pedro. If Akelarre feels like too much of a splurge, head to Oteiza for a chance to try Pedro’s renowned dishes. At Oteiza, be sure to order the sea bass with green pepper and vegetable bolognese, but Hotel Akelarre is worth a visit just for sunset cocktails; the views are jaw-dropping from the property. The restaurant is located 15 minutes from the center of San Sebastián.

bar interior with a neon red sign

Altuna Boutique Bar

Altuna is a middle ground between a restaurant and a pintxos bar. It’s an easy choice for a post-beach lunch or dinner, with slightly elevated and delicious Basque cuisine. Reservations for dinner are recommended.

half timbered house with greenery dotted with red flowers

Andra Mari

Andra Mari is a traditional Basque restaurant in every way, from the waitstaff uniforms to the distinct wooden architecture to the local ingredients. The restaurant holds one Michelin star and was originally established by the Asúa family to create a place of rest and sustenance for pilgrims who were visiting the nearby Andra Mari Church (hence its name) in the early 13th century. The menu is authentic Basque, and the restaurant is in a beautiful countryside setting in a farmhouse overlooking the Ibaizabal river valley, just 15 minutes outside of Bilbao. When the weather permits, request a table on the terrace.

turnip with flower garnish on a white plate


The most famous of San Sebastián’s Michelin-starred establishments is Arzak, owned by renowned chef Juan Mari Arzak and his daughter Elena, who can often be seen greeting guests at their table in the dining room. The three-star restaurant, one of the area’s first to feature the experimental nouveau cuisine that made the Basque Country famous, continues to be the most difficult reservation to secure. Stick to the classics, because while the luscious foie gras in a crispy wrap dusted with coffee and tea is exquisite, it is an Arzak staple, and newer plates can be less inspiring. Book at least two months ahead of time if traveling during high season.

Food at Azurmendi, Spanish Basque Region, Spain


Azurmendi isn’t found in the shadows of the gleaming titanium-clad Guggenheim, but instead in a rather dull commercial district outside town. Don’t let this, or the somewhat institutional dining room, put you off, however, since Michelin-starred chef Eneko Atxa is very much the standard-bearer of the new generation of Basque chefs. Atxa’s short menu changes regularly, but such dishes as his oysters with caviar in seawater mousse and griddled scallops topped with flying-fish roe and bathed in squid bouillon are spectacular. And the dessert not to miss is his heavenly “textures of chocolate” trilogy of ice cream, soft cake and airy mousse.

box shaped chairs out on a lawn

Bodega Katxiña Txakolina

In a beautiful setting along the Oria River about 25 minutes from San Sebastian, Bodega Katxina produces txakoli wines—a traditional white wine produced in Basque Country that slightly sparkling, crisp and easy to drink. The winery pairs its tastings with bites of fish from the fishing village of Orio. On good weather days the tastings are outside in the garden, surrounded by green hills and vineyards. Bodega Katxina has a restaurant as well.

restaurant table with a starry night over mountains painted on the wall

Bodegon Alejandro

In the city’s Old Town, the entrance to this underground establishment is somewhat hidden—visitors will follow a path of stairs down into the restaurant. There aren’t many standout restaurants in the Old Town (mostly pintxos bars) so this Michelin-recommended spot is a nice option for travelers seeking a seated dining experience.

Dinning Area at Café Iruña, Basque Region, Spain

Café Iruña

Locals cherish the opulent neo-Moorish décor of this 1903 vintage café as much as the legendary pinchos morunos de carne de cordero, or grilled lamb brochettes, which are prepared at a special counter in the main dining room. Waiters in black aprons and bowties give it an alluringly old-fashioned atmosphere, and it is a lively place that is ideal for a time-out snack or a drink before or after dinner.

ELKANO in Getaria, Gipuzkoa (Basque Country), Spain


Tourists and locals alike make a pilgrimage to the one-Michelin star Elkano in Getaria—about 30 minutes from San Sebastián—for its world famous turbot, which is grilled and served simply with few ingredients. Chef Aitor Arregui inherited the restaurant (which is now No. 30 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list) from his father, who first created the dish.

Exterior View - Etxebarri, Spanish Basque Region, Spain


It’s well worth making a detour into the countryside between San Sebastián and Bilbao for the thrill of discovering chef Victor Arguinzoniz’s extraordinary avant-garde barbecuing at his restaurant, Etxebarri, in the tiny, pretty village of Axpe. Arguinzoniz is Spain’s wizard of smoke, and almost everything he prepares is grilled or griddled over a variety of charcoals he makes himself. A former dairy-company executive, he abandoned his day job to subsume himself in his passion for cooking with fire, a tradition in the Spanish Basque Country, several years ago, and Etxebarri has since become one of the hottest insider’s addresses in Spain. You’ll know why when you sample Arguinzoniz’s grilled octopus with peas and asparagus, griddled wild mushrooms and grilled squid and onions in a sauce of squid ink. His smoked-milk ice cream, the grand finale of a meal here, is one of the most original dishes in contemporary Spanish cuisine.

Editors' Picks
rustic cafe counter with a yellow wall and chalkboads

La Issla

Steps away from the beach, La Issla is a lovely cafe for a quick coffee, juice or snack. For travelers craving an avocado toast to break up the pintxos and Basque eating, this is the spot.

bowl of clams and broth

Lamaskerida de Gros

In the Gros neighborhood, Lamaskerida is an intimate restaurant with a nautical interior (think blue fabrics, ample wood and ropes hanging from the ceiling). The menu is small with elevated local specialties—a standout dish is the clams. Across the street is sister restaurant Bodega Donostiarra, a popular pintxos bar.

Los Parajes

Los Parajes is located in a small boutique hotel in the center of the town of Laguardia. It makes for a lovely, casual lunch stop during a day of wine tasting. When you first arrive, you are whisked down to the cave for a glass of wine before choosing the table where you will dine—either in the cave or outside. Don’t miss the patatas a La Riojana (Rioja-style potatoes simmered in a stew with sweet paprika, Spanish chorizo and caramelized onions). 

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Martin Berasategui

Martin Berasategui’s three-Michelin-starred table is also located outside San Sebastián, in an elegantly decorated contemporary house in Lasarte. Berasategui’s style displays the tutelage of French chefs Michel Guerard and Didier Oudil, with whom he worked at the beginning of his career. If Berasategui’s ingredients are proudly Basque, there’s a certain Gallic elegance to dishes such as his signature caramelized mille-feuille of smoked eel and foie gras and sea bass sauced with juiced green beans and garnished with baby peas.

round dining table with a white tablecloth by the window with greenery outside


Mugaritz is an innovative and experimental restaurant in a beautiful hilltop setting, approximately 15 to 20 minutes by car from San Sebastian. The restaurant has held two Michelin stars for years and is led by Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz, who has helmed the restaurant since 1998. Chef Aduriz is lauded as one of the most influential chefs of the time, and his work is paired with the brilliance of the restaurant’s research and development team. In dining here, travelers may feel as if they are participating in a science experiment (in a good way), so one should come ready to have fun and experience food in mind-altering ways! Note: the restaurant is not for everyone. Again, it is very experimental, and the menu changes yearly.

Dinning Area at Narru, Spanish Basque Region, Spain


Chef Iñigo Peña’s relaxed restaurant with a soothing almost Scandinavian décor of blonde wood and cement floors in the Hotel Niza is one of the hottest tickets in town. Why? Peña, who previously cooked at Arzak and Mugaritz, dazzles with dishes that are technically impeccable and boldly simple. The chef’s respect for his carefully sourced seasonal produce comes across in dishes like mushroom stuffed ravioli, hake in a green herb sauce with baby clams, and Iberian pork with grapes and apples. Don’t miss the delicate made-to-order apple tart for dessert.

cured ham and buttered bread

Narru Restaurant

Restaurant Narru is a one-Michelin-starred restaurant across the street from San Sebastian’s Buen Pastor Cathedral. One of the city’s best (and largest) restaurants, Narru has a relaxed but refined vibe and a small selection of outdoor seating. The focus is on high quality ingredients and an elevated presentation of regional specialties. Do not miss the pan con tomate; it is an ideal umami bite. Reservations are a must.

dining room with large windows and white tablecloths


A casual offshoot of three-Michelin-star Akelarre, which is just upstairs, Oteiza is located at the Akelarre Hotel, approximately 15 minutes by car from San Sebastian. Both restaurants are helmed by the brilliant Chef Pedro Subijana. Standout dishes included the sea bass with green pepper and vegetable bolognese.

Food at Restaurante Kokotxa, Spanish Basque Region, Spain

Restaurante Kokotxa

In a food-mad city, this is the under-the-radar Michelin-starred table you don’t want to miss. The name refers to a great Basque specialty, the gelatinous meat from the heads of certain fish, particularly hake and cod, that is usually cooked in green sauce or sautéed. They’re on the menu but chef Dani López also looks to Asia and Andalucia for inspiration. His eclectic contemporary Basque cooking is deeply produce centered and the menu changes often, but dishes like red tuna tartare with black garlic, mango and pickled vegetable sorbet and roast lobster in an airy foam of ajoblanco on a bed of rice noodles show off Lopez’s style.


This beautiful rustic restaurant with big wood beams overhead and terra cotta tiles underfoot is run by the charming Ortega Añorga family. Talented chef Jon Ortega runs the kitchen, while his brother Gorka looks after the dining room. The house specialty is locally caught spider crab, which arestored live in tanks in the basement, explaining why the crab salad here is so stunningly fresh and good. The croquetas—breaded deep-fried beignets of béchamel and crabmeat—are homemade, and like many Basque chefs, Jon Ortega is a talented grill chef. Splurge on dishes like Galician lobster a la plancha or grilled just-out-of-the-water turbot for two.

stone patio with tables and chairs overlooking a bay

Urgulleko Polboriña

At the top of San Sebastian’s iconic Monte Urgull is the bar Urgulleko Polboriña, the perfect reward after a walk up the mountain. Urgulleko Polboriña is only open when the weather is good and offers sweeping views of Santa Clara Island and La Concha Bay, as well as all of San Sebastian below. We recommend visiting for sunset, when there is often live music from local and visiting artists.

Note: visiting this bar requires an approximately 20-minute walk uphill; ask for directions before embarking on your climb as it is easy to accidentally turn this 20-minute walk into a one-hour endeavor.


Though the location on a busy avenue near a highway overpass may lack some charm, chefs Xabier Diez and Aizpea Oihaneder’s restaurant is a real insider’s address for some of the most exciting contemporary Basque cuisine in San Sebastián. The chefs cooked their way through an impressive array of star kitchens, including Michel Bras in France and Arzak and Martin Berasategui locally, plus a stint in Spain’s Extremadura, before setting up shop here, and this place is all about their passion for tweaking tradition in the most delicious of ways. Think white asparagus ice cream and inventive, sometimes playful, dishes like foie gras bon-bons with green apple cream, boned pigeon with red-fruit risotto and liver toffee and a sublime cocoa sorbet with almond cream.

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