2016 GW Spain Trip No.24: San Sebastian (Donostia) Part 2: Dining

Spain Basque journey 2016 GW
Spain Basque journey 2016 GW

Donostia 20160503-_MG_6529

Date of visit: 2 and 3 May 2016 (overnight)

The City of Pinchos

ビスケー湾を臨むスペインでも屈指の観光地「サン・セバスティアン」は、美食の街としてもその名を轟かせています。なんといってもこの地発祥の名物といえばピンチョス。特に旧市街の路地裏には所狭しとバルが並んでおり、通りから簡単に覗きこむ程度でも数多くの華やかなピンチョスの展示を見ることができます。

Donostia 20160503-_MG_6523

「ピンチョス」とは何か。Wikipedia先生お願いします。

It is a light meal consisting of a small amount of food on a small piece of bread. The name comes from the fact that the food was once held in place with skewers or toothpicks. It is a type of tapa, and is now also used as a synonym for tapa.

It may not be so popular in Japan, but I guess it’s like Spanish “sushi” lol.

I think the style differs from restaurant to restaurant, but at the restaurant we went to, we were given a plate and could take as many pintxos as we wanted and eat them at the counter or at a table like this.

A lot of pintxos were laid out like this, and customers took them one after another, and the shopkeeper replenished them.

So we took the challenge right away! We took so many… because they look so good.

Donostia 20160503-_MG_6529

It would have been nice to have wine (wine after all!) It would have been nice to have a glass of wine, but unfortunately we had to drive afterwards, so we gave up wine.

The baguette is served with a variety of dishes. Since there is an abundance of good quality seafood from the Bay of Biscay in this area, fresh and tasty crabs, shrimps, etc. seasoned with mayonnaise are most impressive, and of course there is a wide variety of meat dishes as you would expect in Spain. The black sausage (made of rice and liver) that we had in Burgos, and croquettes, in other words, the standard menu in bars are almost available.

Now how does that taste! Very tasty! From my experience of traveling, I had the impression that the tapas served in bars in other parts of Spain were incomparably delicious. No, no, no, it’s totally different, this taste!

After all, I thought that it is only famous as a town of the special gastronomy in Europe.

By the way, here’s the shop we took care of for you.

According to people in the know, this place seems to be for beginners and tourists, and there are much cheaper and better places to eat, according to TripAdvisor reviews. I thought this place was good enough, but apparently it’s much deeper than that. I can understand why some people are addicted to pintxos.

Pintxos eating tours and guidebooks galore

This home of pintxos attracts tourists of many kinds from all over the world. The purpose is, of course, to eat pintxos. Therefore, if you go to the local tourist information center, they will arrange many “pintxos eating tours” for you. The tourist information center is located on the old town side, facing the main street.

Of course, if you join such a tour, you are likely to get valuable local information, but it will cost you a good deal. So, it would be interesting to explore by yourself based on these guidebooks, which are sold at tourist information centers or bookstores in the old town. (I want to do this next time!)

I mean, I bought this book at a tourist information center, and it’s pretty interesting to look at! If you collect the pictures of the food in the book properly, this will look pretty bad!

They all look so delicious, I can’t help but laugh. There may be no end to this if I start to get too elaborate. It’s true that there are still a lot of good bars out there, I’ve learned.

The restaurant is of high quality.

However, we’re more of a bar and snack kind of guy, and we’d rather enjoy a good local meal as well. But don’t worry, this gastronomic city of San Sebastián has a very good selection of restaurants.

We decided to have dinner at this restaurant in the old town the night we arrived (although we only stayed one night).

We were able to get in just in time with a reservation directly at the restaurant about two hours before it opened on the day of our visit. Even though there are a lot of restaurants, the ones with good reviews are very popular and there are a lot of tourists in town, so it’s best to make a reservation if you can.

Here we ordered a starter, main course and dessert as usual. And of course, wine. But this wine comes with the menu of the day (course) by default. This “wine by default” style was still alive and well at the parador in Santillana del Mar, and at the restaurant we visited later in the day.

This restaurant is as great as the TripAdvisor reviews. All the food was very good, from the starters to the main course and the desserts. And it wasn’t too expensive.

I forgot the local name for the appetizer, but it was probably something like tuna salad.

I chose beef for my main course.

_

The dessert is mel au chocolat (fondant chocolate) with orange sorbet.

Since this area is close to France, I think you can taste French style food enough. It is indeed a city of gastronomy, Saint Sebastian Donostia. By the way, it’s a town that’s easy to access from Bordeaux. I think we have to plan a trip to the Bay of Biscay for the French side as well.

So, this was Donostia that I introduced twice. It was quite unplanned and rushed, but still I think I was able to enjoy it to a certain extent. However, it was still too full of charm and there were many indigestible points. The number of cities I need to revisit has increased again. (This is always the pattern.)

さあ、素晴らしい街ともいよいよお別れ。旅も終盤が近づいてきていますが、まだまだ観光は続きます。(続く)

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