Basque food as you know is simple but oh so good, there's no beating around the bush. Your product must be good. Full stop. No spices, no nonsense, no covering flavours. They cook and we eat and this is where we will be recommending some our favourite places to enjoy good food.
Bar Txepetxa, the anchovy temple.
Anchovy in Basque: Antxoa, pronounced anne-chow-ah.
The Anchovy has been an important ingredient for years, and it is a true stand out in its field. They were so abundant and affordable that fishermen used to give them away at the port. After overfishing and a forced 5 year moratorium on anchovy fishing it’s a different story. Considered a delicacy it’s now a very sought after ingredient with a price tag to match. Anchovies are at the heart of Basque culinary culture. Locally caught and used in many dishes, including tapas, they are a taste you need to acquire fast to eat well in San Sebastian.
You must taste them to understand them, they are a whole new level of yumminess not something to be picked off a pizza!
For some of the best plump fresh anchovies in town head to Bar Txepetxa and try some of our favourite pintxos, the “antxoas a la jardinera,” white anchovies covered with a fresh onion, tomato and green pepper salsa; or the “antxoas con crema de centollo,” anchovies with a spider crab cream.
This family run business is led by Manu Marañon the owner and chef. Together with his parents they have perfected the recipes and have become a staple bar in town. Txepetxa is known by many as the anchovy temple, they have won the best pintxo contest three years in a row, and their last win was the house-marinated anchovy topped with urchin roe.
All of the anchovies served at the bar are cleaned one by one and prepared with their secret recipe. It is definitely worth a visit, let us know which one's your favorite one!
Address: Pescadería street #5, 20003 in the Old Quarter, San Sebastián.
Wed-Sat 12:00 - 15:00 and 19:00 - 23:00h.
Tuesdays 19:00 - 23:00h.
Sundays 12:00 - 15:00h.
Bar Nestor and its chuleta, so much more than a chop.
Bar Nestor has four things, the first is a dreamy and creamy tortilla that they cook twice a day at 13:00 and 20:00. Maybe the best tortilla in Spain, certainly one of the best ones in San Sebastian. Caramelized onion and soft potatoes are blended with an ever so slightly runny egg. But there’s a catch. They only make one in the morning and one at night. If you want to try it you must go in half an hour before it's ready, be nice to the guys at the bar and ask if you could please be on the waiting list for a piece of tortilla, smile and cross your fingers. Be there on time, they appreciatte punctuality. Pair your tortilla with a crisp beer or some sparkling Txakoli (local white wine) and enjoy every bite.
The other three things they do are simple but equally dreamy, book in advance for lunch or dinner and order the classics. Tomato salad with a generous drizzle of olive and good, good ol' salt, followed by fried padron peppers. They come out steaming hot so be careful, and then for the drumroll dish: chuleta. An impressive looking chop which they show you beforehand so you can admire the marbling and choose the size you prefer.
Prepare for ultimate enjoyment, take your time to admire it. It is perfectly grilled, hot, and rare enough in the center. If you like your meat slightly more cooked do not fret, the griddle it comes out on is so hot it'll keep cooking your meat for as long as you want. Enjoy the crusty bread that comes with it and don't rush it, savour it. They have plenty of good red wines to pair your meal with. Bar Nestor is our ultimate recommendation for anyone who enjoys great meat, fresh tomatoes and salty peppers.
Address: Pescaderia street #11.