The Best Restaurants In San Sebastián

From pintxos to some of the best fine dining spots in Europe, here are 21 of our favorite places to eat in San Sebastián.
The Best Restaurants In San Sebastián image

photo credit: Markel Redondo

It’s easier to find a spot on the beach in San Sebastián than it is to find a table in one of the city’s many great restaurants. That’s because this gorgeous little town in northern Spain is home to the pintxo—small, fun, (usually) handheld snacks that you’ll find in bars—has some of the best fine dining spots in all of Europe, and a millennia-old history of food-obsessed Basques.

Use this guide to eat your way through the best of this city’s food scene, its famous Old Town and other neighborhoods like Gros, Centro, and Antiguo, and some Basque grill houses where you can try simply prepared fish and steak in rustic taverns. And yes, we’ll tell you where to find the famous cheesecake, too.


photo credit: Markel Redondo



$$$$Perfect For:Small PlatesEating At The BarWalk-InsQuick Eats
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If there were an MVP of pintxo bars in San Sebastián, it’d be Antonio Bar. This three-table spot in the Centro shopping district has everything you want in a pintxo spot: a perfect Spanish omelet, a chalkboard menu of hot dishes, and a bar of cured seafood and mayo-y salads. Antonio stays pleasantly busy at all hours, with locals passing through for a quick coffee or a pintxo before lunch or dinner. But the best time to visit is around 12:30 or 1pm for a slice of the 28-egg tortilla de patatas, which is one of the city’s best. Don’t miss the oxtail ravioli, and order a plate of whatever fresh produce you see displayed on the bar, whether it’s slim green guindilla peppers or dirt-flecked porcinis.

So, one of your friends doesn’t like anchovies. It may sound counterintuitive, but this classic bar in the old part of San Sebastián that’s devoted to the tiny fish is the perfect spot to take them. Txepetxa has been making their vinegar-cured white boquerón anchovies since 1972, and their family recipe has a 99% anchovy-hater conversion rate. The formula is simple: a recently-toasted slice of baguette, two glistening anchovies, and your choice of a dozen toppings (the best is the pepper-onion jardinera or the spider-crab cream). Elbow up to the always-crowded bar, shout your order to the barman, and enjoy the celebrity photo-lined walls featuring everyone from Gandalf to Spanish royalty.

You won’t see anything modern or fussy on Ganbara’s counter of pintxos, which takes up most of the tiny bar. What you will find is a crowd made up of locals, chefs, and other in-the-know visitors who all came for the top-notch fresh produce. At any given moment there are a minimum of four types of wild mushrooms stacked on the bar, and, depending on the season, piles of ripe Basque tomatoes, shiny green peppers, or white asparagus with a bit of dirt still clinging on. The €20 plate of mushrooms might seem expensive after dropping less than €5 on pintxos at other bars, but it’s worth the price and the wait. Even the most basic pintxos, like the croissant with Spanish ham or the potato salad, are excellent.

When a bar predates color TV and is still packed all day, you know it must be good. That’s the case with La Espiga, which opened in 1928 and is currently run by the fourth generation of the founding family. It’s located on a pedestrian shopping street that includes the world’s busiest Zara (don’t let that deter you), and it’s usually packed with both locals and tourists who all have a glass of wine in one hand and a pintxo in the other. Be sure to order the specialty, la delicia, a toast of cured anchovy with hard-boiled egg, vinegary onions, and a dollop of mayonnaise (get it with a splash of Worcestershire). And definitely try one of the fried bites, like veal with cheese, meat-stuffed peppers, and lamb brain that’s marinated, battered, and served piping hot.

If you weren’t specifically looking for La Cuchara de San Telmo, you’d probably miss it. This pintxo bar is down a nondescript alley and has a chalkboard with a brief but exciting list of dishes like seared foie gras, charred octopus, and tender beef cheek. This place pioneered the hot pintxo, and after 20 years, continues to prepare food that looks (and tastes) straight off the menu of any fine dining restaurant.

The owner of La Viña invented the Basque burnt cheesecake when he put the custardy dessert into the high-temperature ovens at the restaurant. This total culinary taboo ended up being one of the most successful dessert innovations of the century: the cheesecake gets slightly caramelized on the outside, and is ultra-creamy on the inside. La Viña’s cheesecake has become a legitimate San Sebastián landmark, so there’s usually a line during busy months. Avoid the crowds by coming before dinner, or for your last bite of the night.

The Best Pintxos In San Sebastián’s Old Town image

SS Guide

The Best Pintxos In San Sebastián’s Old Town


When it comes to fancy multi-course meals, you won’t find a better option in San Sebastián than Arzak. This restaurant is where the Basque cooking movement of the ‘70s, nueva cocina vasca, started, which basically makes it the hub of fine dining in Spain. The tasting menu reads like a greatest hits list of Basque cuisine—the Arzak team thrives on innovating local dishes and produce, which means you’ll find things like beef cheek in a jet-black sesame sauce and razor clams paired with tomato gel and green mayo. The meal will cost you around €300, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so sit back, pick something from the 100,000-bottle wine cellar, and enjoy your foie cromlech and the marbled egg.  

No matter what we write in this caption, you really just need to see Mugaritz for yourself. Mold is a staple on the menu, sea urchin gets served with enzymatic molasses made from rye bread, and you might get to try a jellied, finger-shaped carrot. This dinner is going to be a pretty wild and fun ride, and you simply never know what you are walking into. Even though this is one of the fanciest spots in the country, you might eat your meal without any cutlery. Book a table here months in advance, and get ready to be totally surprised.

Despite the fact that Basque Country has some of Spain’s most delicious vegetables, it can be surprisingly difficult to find them prepared simply when out to eat. Casa Urola manages to balance incredible grilled seafood and meat with the best vegetable dishes in the city. You’ll eat things like confit ruby-red piquillos, grilled white asparagus, and baby teardrop peas that crunch like caviar. The whole place is a family affair, as the restaurant is owned by a husband and wife duo. Go for dinner in the upstairs dining room and order literally anything that’s in season—you won’t be disappointed.

Zazpi started as a bar in the center of town, but was always destined for more than pintxos and small plates. You can now find them in the San Telmo Museum, in a space that gets a ton of natural light and is one of the best places in the city for a luxurious long lunch. The menu changes with the season, but Zazpi’s strong points are its proteins, so split a fish of the day or go for the pigeon served with pigeon pate and a dollop of tomato chutney. The tasting menu has all the restaurant’s greatest hits for €70, too.

The outdoor setup at Narru is exactly where you want to be in the nicer months: under the column-lined arcade looking out on the Buen Pastor cathedral, eating seasonal and simple-but-well-executed dishes, and among a buzzy crowd where all the locals go to see and be seen on the weekends. Even if the phrase “cod chin” feels like an oddly-specific insult, don’t let that prevent you from trying some of the city’s best kokotxas, served in three styles: sauced, battered, and pil pil. The highlights of the menu are when they let the fancy ingredients shine, so try the oysters topped with an apple vinaigrette and the oxtail ravioli served with foie gras and shaved black truffle.


Arenales is an oasis from the busy, standing-room-only pintxo madness of the Old Town. The owners greet you right away when you walk in the door, and you can find a short menu on a chalkboard that’s hanging above the bar with a bunch of different small plates. Fresh produce is picked up from the market in the mornings, and the whole philosophy here is less is more—a prime example being the roasted carrots that come served over labneh and garnished with torn herbs. Definitely explore the wine list, since they have an impressive selection of natural bottles that are hard to find elsewhere in San Sebastián.

The chef at Bistro Ondarreta has cooked in a bunch of the city’s coolest kitchens (like La Madame and Basqueland Izakaia), and finally opened this spot in Antiguo in 2022. This place features Gallic dishes (get the fluffy gougeres to start), a bistro atmosphere with tiny tables and retro black-and-white floors, and a long, curvy bar. The lobster pasta is basically perfect, especially when its paired with one of the natural wines from their varied list.



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This cozy spot in the center of the town just a block from La Concha is the perfect stop for a fancy post-beach lunch. While the serving sizes aren’t enormous, they’re extremely high quality, and you get to choose from small plates like fresh oysters, cured beef served carpaccio style, octopus on a bed of potato puree, or foie gras. Go with friends and mix and match for a special meal that’s not quite a pintxo outing and not quite fine dining, but still a delicious display of the best Basque produce.


Asador Portuetxe was once an isolated farmhouse, but now it’s a restaurant in the city’s warehouse district that fires up its charcoal grills each morning with one mission: grill everything. Basques are famous for their grillhouses, which are known as erretegia, and Portuetxe has one of the best menus in town. The grilled fish is excellent, as is the txuleta, a king-sized Basque bone-in steak that’s perfect to split with a group. Sip a classic Rioja red or crisp northern white at the long, family-style tables. You’ll probably leave smelling like charcoal, but just like camping, it’s part of the fun. 

Barkaiztegi, like many cider houses, traces its origins back hundreds of years. The same family has made cider in this home on the outskirts of San Sebastián since 1680, almost three centuries before the cider house menu became a staple of Basque cuisine. (Essentially, in the late 1900s, local bar and restaurant owners started bringing their own food to their cider tastings to help soak up the alcohol. This evolved into the current cider house experience, which is unforgettable thanks to (or perhaps in spite of) the all-you-can-drink, serve-yourself cider drinking style. How it works: fill your glass directly from the barrel, and to do it right, you should catch the golden liquid at a distance of about three feet. Bring a group for the family-style set menu of steak, salt cod omelet, and a dessert board made up of walnuts in their shell, sheep cheese, and apple paste.  

Zelai Txiki up in the hills above the Gros neighborhood is one of the city’s top local favorites. They’ve been open for two decades and keep improving—they recently installed a wood-fired oven (where they bake their own bread), built out the wine cellar, and started their own garden. All of these upgrades are exactly the reason why locals keep coming back, but the creamy rice with clams, grilled wild turbot kissed with garlic and olive oil, and whole suckling pig Segovia-style doesn’t hurt, either. When making a reservation, ask for a seat on the terrace that overlooks the city.


If you’re looking for the picture-book European street-cafe experience, this is the place for you. The seating is all outside on their terrace with great views of the town hall and the Boulevard main drag, while the coffee is dark with just the right ratio of milk to espresso. The baked goods are all excellent, especially the gateau basques and the “brioche” that’s actually a warm puff pastry drenched in sugar and studded with raisins. The best part is all the sweets are made from scratch in Oiartzun’s own bakery nearby.

Old Town is one of the only specialty coffee shops in San Sebastián, but their flat whites are more than just gorgeous cups of caffeine. The young owners roast their own beans just outside city limits, and at least one of them is always on hand to explain the coffee’s notes and where it’s from. Post up at the bar or on the patio and pair your coffee with brunch staples like avocado toast with salmon, bread with Spanish ham and tomato, or yogurt bowls topped with fruit and granola. Just know there’s usually a line at peak morning times.

When The Loaf opened nearly a decade ago, it was the San Sebastián bakery scene equivalent to Edison inventing the lightbulb. OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it was a real turning point for bread in San Sebastián. The Loaf is still one of the only places in town where you can find real, funky sourdough, heavy ryes, and wonderfully large country-style loaves. This is a mandatory stop for any cheese-and-wine picnics, especially since it’s right in front of the Zurriola beach. It’s also a great place to grab a to-go coffee, made from beans roasted by hand in Barcelona, with a side of ocean views.

When you’ve had your fill of Spanish-style café con leche, head to OhBaba, where you can get a fantastic oat milk flat white. This vegan-friendly café is a unicorn in a sea of gluten-eating, lactose-loving Europeans, and for that reason, draws a crowd that generally falls somewhere between barefoot surfer and digital nomad. Most of the food here is vegan, like the homemade cinnamon rolls and the tomato-nut cheese or avocado toasts on thin sourdough.

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