Spain’s “Northern Pearl” hasn’t forgotten about its fishing-port origins, and neither have our taste buds!
The cold Cantabrian Sea doesn’t just wash the shores of Playa de la Concha—it also provides the best seafood for the restaurants in San Sebastian. Trust us for a finger-licking experience and get ready for an unforgettable “port-to-table” moment.
No need to break the bank; whether you start with the fishing port’s humble original flavors or indulge at a top-ranked seafood restaurant, we’ve got you covered.
1. Mariscos El Puerto: For Take-Away Steamed Seafood
Mariscos El Puerto’s name gives it away immediately: “seafood + the port.” This classic cocedero (literally, “boiler place”) cooks all sorts of fresh seafood daily. Want a true local taste? Grab one of their takeaway shrimp or sea-snail paper cones and walk alongside the colorful fishermen’s houses.
Nothing gets more authentic than handpicking the best ready-to-eat crabs, lobsters or clams, and having the portions measured with a scallop shell by the owner behind the counter.
2. Bar Ganbara: For the Best Txangurro
Spider crab has always been a staple ingredient of San Sebastian cuisine, but it became an overwhelming success after Queen Maria Cristina got a little picky and decided she wanted to use cutlery to savor it rather than eating it the traditional way by hand. That’s how they came up with the genius idea of serving it by stuffing the crab’s head, and it has been like that for 100 years!
3. Gure Txoko: For Oysters and Soft Shell Crab
We’re aware that it might not look like a place where you would expect to find seafood, but do yourself a favor and RUN to Gure Txoko for the best oysters in town, period. Eduardo personally knows a great oyster provider and he takes pride in only choosing the best ones for his customers.
This bar is well-known in Gros for its quirky version of SpongeBob’s crab burger, a surprising bao bread burger combined with a soft shell crab. It is also very popular for its warm treatment, so expect a crowd during peak hours.
4. Casa Urola: For Scallops in Ajoblanco Sauce
Casa Urola is San Sebastian’s seafood HQ, and its specialty is anything and everything grilled with charcoal. Choose your vibe: an elegant bar or a formal dining room area upstairs (in case you wish to have a rest from all the pintxo-eating-while-standing-up experience).
Their 2019 award-winning scallops with white garlic, nuts, and fried seaweed is a must, especially when paired with a local txakoli.
5. Abakando: For a Seafood Tasting Menu
Get off the beaten path at Abakando in the Antiguo neighborhood. Their seafood tasting menu is worth every penny and dessert and tax are included! Indulge in the seafood and fish from their own nurse-pond in a casual atmosphere surrounded by colorful artsy walls of glass.
Abakando is off the tourist trail, not usually busy and open all Mondays (the usual day off for restaurants in our city) to ensure a feast for the senses every day of the week.
6. Galerna: For Fried Sea Nettles with Algae Mayonnaise
Galerna’s soul may have been born by the sea, but these young chefs’ restaurant fame has spread like wildfire. Seating just 30 people, their kitchen delivers delicacies flowing from smoked to marinated, and brings back to life the underdogs of sea products, such as sea nettles and barnacles.
Rebeca and Jorge’s love for small, independent wineries transfers to our menu experience. Keep an eye open for these two!
7. Narru: For Clams in Green Sauce
Are you planning on popping the question or do you want to impress your date? Recently relocated Narru is hands down the right choice for a high-end experience. This acclaimed restaurant has just reopened in front of the Buen Pastor Cathedral.
We’ll go back to basics with two classic Basque dishes: clams in green sauce and the renowned kokotxas. Trust them with their wine selection to round out your heavenly experience. Can we get an amen?Want our insider’s guide to eating in San Sebastian? Just add your email address in the form below!
Osane is Basque, born and raised. She spent her youth in a tiny, traditional whalers’ village and then her itchy feet took her all over the world. She landed in NYC where she rubbed elbows with the best Spanish chefs while working as Basque Specialist for Spain’s International Tourism Department.