After our wonderful visit in Southwestern France with my college friend Beth Thrasher-Broidy and her husband Marc, Robert and I headed to the culinary hotbed of San Sebastian, Spain. Only around an hour’s drive south of Biarritz on the Bay of Biscay, it is very different from the towns we visited in Southwestern France – both architecturally and culturally.
Not surprising, the first aspect of the culture I wanted to experience was the food! So, on our first day, we set out to try the Basque version of tapas, called pintxos (could be described as small plates or finger food). The pintxos in San Sebastian are reported to be the best in all of Spain – not surprising, since this city is the birthplace of Basque cuisine. We were told the best pintxos bars are in the old town center, which was just a 10-minute walk from our hotel, around the La Concha Bay. Our walk along the beach over to the old section of town was lovely:
Here I am with Santa Clara Island (which is in the middle of the bay) behind me:
We checked out a few potential places to eat and quickly settled on the pintxos bar directly across from the beautiful Santa Maria Church, called Atari Gastroteka. Little did we know that it would soon be one of the top-rated pintxos bars in all of San Sebastian!
The bartender spoke fluent English and was very patient and nice, translating the menu for me:
We had several delicious dishes, including this grilled tomato, goat cheese and balsamic vinegar sort of crostini . . .
. . . and a yummy Basque version of a tuna salad sandwich:
The beef cheeks are their specialty, which were scrumptious as well (eaten up before I could get a photo!). The sangria was light, cool and not too sweet – a perfect match to the food:
I would highly recommend a stop at Atari Gastroteka for pintxos next time you are in San Sebastian – the bar is easy to find, located on the corner of Calle Mayor and Nagusia Kalea just across from the Santa Maria Church. If you are standing in front of the church, this is what the bar looks like: