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I thought I wrote up some things on my trip to San Sebastian as a follow-up to irwin's post, but I can't find it.

Here are my comments from WB:

I was there in November. Elkano was awesome for lunch (I walked in without a reso, and was really surprised I got a table!).

Dinner at Akelarre was disappointing. The service was fantastic, but the first couple dishes were so salty, I had to complain. And I like aggressively seasoned food. With the exception of a pigeon with mole dish (stunning) and the yogurt jar dessert, none of the dishes really blew me away. I expected a lot more of the restaurant based on its stature and cost. Perhaps I should have ordered one of the other menus (I ordered the "Classics" menu - this has since changed slightly), but my AirBnb hosts commented they've heard similar complaints over the past year.

I absolutely loved dinner at Kokotxa. In my opinion, it blew Akelarre out of the water. Very ingredient focused, clean flavours, interesting combinations, and everything was perfectly executed. Service really good too. I know which of these two places I will go next time I am in San Sebastian! Not to mention I could eat here 2x for what Akelarre cost. They have a really solid wine list and it's pretty well priced. I ordered the 2012 Telmo Rodriguez As Caborcas and I think it was about 43-48 Euro, which is lower than what I paid for it in Ontario. I ordered the larger of the two tasting menus.

For non-tasting menus/pintxos crawl, I don't know how many times I ended up at Atari and Bar Gandarias. At Atari, they had an orzo with squid and squid ink that was fantastic. Bar Gandarias had kick ass solomillo, foie gras, and risotto with wild mushrooms and Idiazabal. Both places had a great selection of sherry by the glass, Gandarias in particular. Not to mention they serve sherry with 5oz pours and they also have a WineStation for some of their better bottles to serve BTG.

Casa Urola served a fantastic scallop with aji blanco. La Cuchara de San Telmo serves kick ass cotxinita asada. Some of the crispiest pig skin I've ever had on suckling pig.

It was nice to visit LdH, but don't expect much of a tasting. They only poured the 2005 Bosconia and Tondonia (Tinto) and served a bit of jamon. They don't taste the whites or Gran Reservas. If you're interested in buying one bottle of Tondonia Blanco, you need to purchase six bottles of Tondonia Tinto. And if you want one of any Gran Reserva, you need to purchase twelve bottles of Tondonia Tinto. Meh.

I wanted to eat at Rekondo, but they were closed for vacation.
quote:
Originally posted by Javachip:
Slight thread drift, but I will be in Barcelona next month. Where do you plan to dine there?


In Barcelona, please check out Jordi Cruz's second restaurant, Ten's Tapas. The large tasting menu I had there was fantastic and the wine list was really interesting and well priced, especially for obscure things (aka not Rioja/Ribera del Duero).

La Volatil is a natural wine bar with awesome food and super interesting wines. They love their sherry there also, which is great. Just get them to suggest some wines with whatever you order.

Mont Bar was fantastic also. Awesome food, even better wine list, including some stuff with a bit of age. I ordered a bottle of 2011 CVNE Rioja Reserva Contino for something like 35 Euro, maybe less? Make sure you have a reservation, as the place is really small and was absolutely rammed. Luckily, I was dining alone and they were able to find me a small spot at the bar.

Bodegas 1900 has been fantastic the three times I've eaten there over the past four years.

Eldiset is a great wine bar with good food. Very small place and down a little side street in Born, so if you're not familiar with the area, you might walk right past it. Reservations by phone only.

Disfrutar is awesome if you want to splash out for what now has two stars.

Montiel was a disappointment, save for a crudo dish I had.

Food at Bar Gresca was good, but the service was terrible and rushed.

As much as I love La Vinya del Senyor, their prices have gone up significantly over the years due to their location and the food has seriously dropped in quality. If you don't mind paying a little over the odds (for Barcelona, anyway), then stop in for a glass or two).

You're better off walking over to Vila Viniteca, which is around the corner, and go into their food shop next door. Go down the set of stairs to the right when you get in the store and ask them to pour you Champagne and get them to cut you some jamon iberico de bellota. They usually have about 15-20 wines by the glass and Larmandier-Bernier is usually one of the sparklers they have open.

There are other places that people will surely chime in with, but these are fun places, all with bar seating (which is great for me), and are way, way less stuffy than some of the "old hat" restaurants in the city.
quote:
Originally posted by Dave Canada:
Heading to Barcelona, San Sebastian and Bordeaux....booked in to eat at all 3 - 3 star Michelins in San Sebastian...anyone eaten at these?

Akelare
Arzak
Martin Berasateggi

Try the search function if you haven't already. I seem to remember a few posting that Arzak didn't meet their expectations. I have not been there.
Just a short update...

Barcelona - Ten's Tapas was stunning....so amazing. We loved La Volatil. Another neat, very catalan place was Can Pineda (very rustic but cleearly loved by the catalans...pictures of Pep Guardiola all over)

San Sebastian - Had lunch at Kokotxa yesterday....stunning (thanks Jay)...then dinner at Casa Urola (1 michelin star)....Urola was also worth the visit and had some great champagne at great prices (Selosse sub $160 euros).

Lunch today at Rekondo and then dinner at Arzak...tomorrow dinner at Martin Berasategui.

Will update more later.
That would be great Jay.

Last night was Arzak....this was a fantastic experience...innovative food and such a warm generous spirit in the restaurant. The chef was talking all night with us and said a final good bye as we departed. She had been in Toronto recently for a local food event so there was lots to talk about.

Great old rioja list...I ordered a 1973 Gran Reserva for 120 EUros and it was unreal.

Martin Berasategui is tonight...then home tomorrow.
Arzak was a very good experience for us...very homey and less formal. Larger dining room and level of service was not as crisp as MB for sure.

On my next trip...I'll be back at MB, Rekondo, and Kokotxa but likely will not to Arzak despite have a good time...just not so fantastic that I need to go back.

We will check out your rec GlennK. Thanks,

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