Many of us decide to come to San Sebastian because of the amazing gastronomy scene, but where do local chefs find their impeccable quality ingredients? The answer would be, of course, from the local fish and food markets.
Not only do these play an extremely important role as the place to buy fresh ingredients, but they’ve also served as a meeting point for local foodies throughout history. If you’re exploring the Old Town of San Sebastian, the Bretxa Market is a must-see (and must-taste!). Here’s all you need to know about the Bretxa market of San Sebastian.
Grocery shopping for 150 years
The Bretxa Market has a lot of history behind it: Locals have been doing their grocery shopping here for 150 years! The emblematic building was designed by local architect Antonio Cortázar, who is also responsible for designing a big part of the city of San Sebastian, known as the Ensanche.
Construction of the market started in 1870, and today you’ll find the original building still standing there. With its arch-shaped windows and stone walls, the building is an impressive sight worth visiting for the architecture alone.
But we Devourers, of course, are curious to find out what those sturdy stone walls hide behind them. Here’s what to expect on a visit to La Bretxa Market in San Sebastian today.
It’s a known fact here in San Sebastian that every Michelin chef’s day starts at the best local food market. Take the escalator behind the original market building to the basement floor, and you’ll find a variety of food stands that you could have only dreamed of.
On this floor you will find local delicacies such as fresh fish and seafood, charcuterie, butcher’s shops, local pastries, fresh fruit and vegetables and—since you are in Spain—some delicious olives and olive oil! If that’s not enough, the biggest supermarket of the district is located right next to the market stalls.
The Saturday outdoor market
If you’re in search of fresh and seasonal Basque produce, head to the market on Saturday morning! That’s when you’ll find small producers and farmers, or baserritarras in Basque, selling their seasonal vegetables, local Idiazabal cheese, beans and fresh flowers right outside the building.
After shopping, enjoy a cup of coffee at Coffee Break, the cute coffee shop on the market square. This is the Saturday morning routine of many local Basque aitona and amona (grandparents)!
Find more at the Bretxa shopping center
These days, the original Bretxa Market building is home to a recently renovated shopping center, so this is a great option if you wish to continue shopping. The shops vary from Spanish fashion to local jewelry designers and perfume stores.
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After living years in Madrid and Barcelona, Tita found her home in San Sebastian, not least because of the delicious food. Nothing beats a bottle of sidra and a plate of anchoas after a Sunday hike in the green mountains of Basque Country, she says.