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Spain again. San Sebastian.

Discussion in 'off topic' started by kennyh, Sep 5, 2019.

  1. kennyh

    kennyh pfm Member

    On our recent journey back from Southern Spain we had a week to kill before the ferry back to the UK from Bilbao, that's how it worked out due to last minute bookings.

    Anyway we stayed a few nights in the La Rioja region/Pyrenees in a town called Miranda de Ebro (Highly rated by me too), then thought it was daft not to see Bilbao.

    So we booked a hotel in a small village outside the city and rather than using the car to get to the city centre we used the train, fabulous value and so easy to the main station central station called Abando.

    We were both absolutely amazed at the quality of the food and the whole of Bilbao in general, especially the Plaza Nueva in the centre of the old town. Tapas or Pinxtos as the Basques call them were abound, the square had so many restaurants and bars it was amazing, I was truly in awe of the spectacle and quality of the food. We visited every day we were there.

    So, just before leaving I was in conversation with a Spanish holidaymaker at our hotel from Barcelona who was having his holidays on the atlantic side of Spain.
    I commented just how blown away I was by Plaza Nueva and the Pinxtos there.

    He agreed with me and then said that San Sebastian makes what I'd experienced in Bilbao seem ordinary, he absolutely went over the top on San Sebastian. It has stuck with me what he said.

    Driven close by it on several occasions now but never actually stopped there to explore.

    Any of you guys been? The way this Spaniard described it I think it's a must for us to visit at some point but as always it's great to hear first hand info. from blokes who've actually been.

    Oh, he mentioned the prices were a league up on Bilbao too which surprised me as I thought they'd be similar.

    Thanks for any info.
  2. gintonic

    gintonic 50 shades of grey pussy cats

    yes - get a table at Arzak, you might need to book 6 months in advance

    San Sebastian is way ahead of Bilbao in terms of eating, Barcelona come close, but you need to choose carefully.
  3. Stunsworth

    Stunsworth pfm Member

    When I visited Bilbao it was to see the Guggenheim, so I can’t say much about the city itself. However there’s a fantastic coast road between it an San Sebastian.
  4. kennyh

    kennyh pfm Member

    Thanks guys for that, sadly never got to see the Guggenheim due to time constraints but hopefully will one day. The coast road is great too. We stayed just over the border in St Jean de Luz last year and did that bit of it, breathtaking.

    Arzak, I'll remember that as a possibility but we both love the Pinxto crawl around the bars with a glass of wine to go with it, Bilbao's main square was so packed it was hard to get a seat though funnily it was all part of the experience.

    Funny how this bloke who lives in Barcelona said San Sebastian bettered it, maybe because he's used to it?
  5. gintonic

    gintonic 50 shades of grey pussy cats

    I think he is right, but Barca is pretty good if you choose carefully. We go annually to check.on our flat. We no longer use it ourselves, but have a long term tenant.
    kennyh likes this.
  6. kennyh

    kennyh pfm Member

    I think you hit on a good point there. ie choosing carefully.

    It's bloody hard in a big city to do that I find if you are only visiting for a few days or a week. Malaga is much smaller but still packed with venues and it's taken us 18 years to pick our favorites. I just get over faced going from one menu to the next and the Mrs starts shouting "Can't we just eat here? It's bloody midnight now"

    Hence I like the smaller and easier to find your way around places in general.
    gintonic likes this.
  7. BTC3

    BTC3 pfm Member

    Definitely recommend San Sebastian for a foodie experience. The centre of the old town, where the pinxos bars are is pretty compact, with a huge number of places to stop at. There are maps available online and at hotels, etc. marking most of them. From experience it pays to plan one or two stops, and then improvise the rest. Plenty of reviews on the web, or ask a local on arrival. Txakoli is a good accompaniment to the day, but if they have fresh cider, that's often worth going for.
    Arzak is definitely worth adding to the list. I was there in October last year and had a fantastic meal with friends. If you can, Casa Julián in Tolosa, about 25mins out of town, is also a worthwhile experience for some steak. It was on UK TV recently, on the memorable places to eat program. It's as dingy as it looks on the program, but the steak is truly memorable.
    twotone likes this.
  8. bigjonny

    bigjonny pfm Member

    I was there, and Bilbao, with 3 mates this summer, we were on our way home from The Cazorla Blues Festival in Jaen province.We're not big foodies so the Pinxto experience was one each on the first night !, but I did have the best pizza I can remember in the old town .I don't remember the prices being much more than Bilbao.

    It is a really nice place, everything is walkable from the old town to the area that was built after the 1860's , it's a place that feels prosperous (if that makes sense).

    We rented an apartment from https://www.rentalscollection.com/en/index.php it was cheaper than a hotel, and we did a walking tour with http://freewalkingtoursbylocals.com/san-sebastian/san-sebastian-free-walking-tour/.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
  9. Derek Wright

    Derek Wright pfm Member

    Another good place to eat tapas (pr whatever you wish to call them) in Bilbao is in the
    Mercado de la Ribera , a superb collection of tapas stalls
    with a great variety of food and drink available. On a good night one can sit outside next to the river.

    A conflict I have found with Bilbao is that the morning ferry to Portsmouth is on a Tuesday which means that to get to the Guggenheim you have to be there on the Saturday to get to the Gugg on the Sunday. However last time we were there we found another gallery to visit on the Monday.
    kennyh likes this.
  10. richardg

    richardg Admonishtrator

    If it does the fried fish, lightly battered, and potatoes all fried in olive oil in Malaga, it is always a winner for me. Do you visit the line of restaurants on the beach, east of the centre?

    Before moving to Strasbourg, San Sebastian was the other city for us. Just those two were on the list. But I wasn't confident the Spanish market was right.
  11. kevinrt

    kevinrt pfm Member

    kennyh, ian123running and BTC3 like this.
  12. twotone

    twotone pfm Member

    Malaga's excellent for food and very reasonable, the bars at the market are wonderful as are the Japanese restaurants, there seems to be a lot of Sushi restaurants relative to the size of Malaga. The Sushi restaurant down at the beach is meant to be excellent.
    kennyh and tqineil like this.
  13. MarkW

    MarkW Full Speed & Pagan

    The odd fish and chip shop too:)
    kennyh likes this.
  14. tqineil

    tqineil pfm Member

    not where the locals are to be found
  15. -alan-

    -alan- pfm Member

    Just back after spending a few days there with friends who live over on the French side of the Pyrenees.

    Super place. The place is wonderful, packed full of great little pincho/pintxho bars. They planned to take us round some of their favourite haunts in the old town, but discovered a few were shut - on their day/half day off. Plan B comprised basically wandering a little further until we found somewhere else that looked or smelled good. If in doubt - just look for the busy ones. Really is hard to go wrong.

    Only downside to speak of is the 5-6 kg of surplus body mass that now has to be gotten rid of somehow over the next whatever :(
    kennyh likes this.
  16. twotone

    twotone pfm Member

    I've never had fish and chips in Spain, I have of course had some excellent fish and some excellent chips but not yer actual fish'n'chips like you get here in Glasgow.

    I have a love hate relationship with fish & chips out of the chippie, I always end up regret buying and eating them.

    Best fish and chips I've had in Glasgow was down in the Gallowgate, Frankie's, both fish and chip straight out of the fryer and onto the plate as it should be, marvellous.
  17. gintonic

    gintonic 50 shades of grey pussy cats

    Fried fish and potatoes (not chips) are superb in Seville.

    I can highly recommend Adam's Fish and Chips on St Martins, Scilly Isles

    dinner last night

    [​IMG]2019-09-06_02-29-14 by uh_simon, on Flickr

    Pollock caught, landed and fried by Adam, potatoes grown by his brother
    kennyh and twotone like this.
  18. kennyh

    kennyh pfm Member

    Peas by Captain Birdseye?:p
    gintonic likes this.
  19. -alan-

    -alan- pfm Member

    That's a load of pollocks g'n't ..
    gintonic likes this.
  20. Derek Wright

    Derek Wright pfm Member

    However only select the cod in Spanish or Portuguese locations if you know and enjoy salted cod.

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