San Sebastían Has the World’s Highest Number of Michelin Stars Per Square Metre:
San Sebastían is a foodie’s paradise and this is little city in the Basque Country has plenty of Michelin stars to show for it. With so many tapas bars and restaurants to choose from, eating out in San Sebastían is a culinary adventure.
Michelin Starred Restaurants
San Sebastían has a population of only 186,000 people and yet this little city has an unusually high number of Michelin-starred restaurants. There are six Michelin 3-star restaurants in Spain and three of these are in San Sebastían, which is really very impressive. And for the foodie wanting to sample haute-Basque cuisine in San Sebastían, there are ten Michelin rated restaurants to choose from:
3 stars – Akelarre, Arzak and Martin Berasategui
2 stars – Mugaritz
1 star – Miramon, Arbelaitz, Kokotxa, Mirador de Ulia, Alameda and Zuberoa
Pintxos Capital of the World
But you don’t have to spend big money to enjoy food in San Sebastían. San Sebastían’s pintxos (Basque for pinchos) are a culinary hallmark and the city stakes its claim as the Pintxos Capital of the World. You only have to wander around the streets in the Old Town (Parte Vieja) to see why.
As we strolled through Calle Mayor and Calle 31 de Agosto, we looked into the bars and restaurants and saw delightful trays of pintxos covering the bar counters and legs of cured ham hanging from the ceiling. There is so much food on display that it seems that nobody goes hungry in this city.
Pintxos started out as a relaxed and tasty way of biding time before sitting down for lunch or dinner but these days going out for pintxos has evolved into a mainstream way of eating. In San Sebastian, their modern-style pintxos have been taken to new culinary heights employing new presentation styles and using interesting ingredients.
Apart from Pintxos, the bars and restaurants also offer a wide range of Basque cuisine at reasonable prices. The Menu del Dia that we saw at the Casa Alcalde provided a good selection of dishes for only €15.95.
Sídrerías or Cider Houses
San Sebastían’s sídrerías or cider houses are another feature of its food and beverage attractions. Normally located in traditional farm buildings, these cider houses offer the chance to dine on typical menus of cod dishes and ox steaks whilst seated next to barrels of maturing cider. The traditional cider season is from January to April and a good way to learn more about the cider houses and the cider culture is to visit San Sebastían’s cider museum. Sagardoetxea is located in Astigarraga.
San Sebastían Markets
San Sebastían is said to be the best place to eat in Spain and the success of its cuisine is the result of excellent seasonal products. If you visit the traditional markets like La Bretxa or San Martin, you may even run into the top chefs who shop there daily for the ingredients that go into their restaurant’s cuisine. Also not to be missed is the port area in the afternoon where fishermen unload the day’s catch.
Map of San Sebastían: