Here in San Sebastian—and throughout Spain, actually—we take the menú del día pretty seriously.
We mean, what’s not to love about a delicious lunch that leaves you feeling comfortably full and barely makes a dent in your wallet? It’s one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to eat like a local here in the unofficial foodie capital of Europe. We’re rounding up the top options for a menú del día in San Sebastian so you can get in on the foodie fun.
Menú del Día 101: Understanding San Sebastian’s Top Lunch Specials
At their heart, the humble menú del día in San Sebastian remains the same no matter where you go. You’ll get one or two courses (usually you’ll be able to pick from a list of potential options), a drink, bread, and coffee or dessert. All this comes at one unbelievably low price—usually less than 15–20 euros on weekdays—and will leave you full until it’s time to start devouring the best pintxos in San Sebastian come dinnertime.
Sounds good, right? In no particular order, here are some of our favorite San Sebastian menús del día to get you started.
Restaurante La Tabla TierraMar
La Tabla TierraMar just about has it all. Idyllic seaside location—check. Instagram-worthy tablas (platters) that also taste delicious—check. Plenty of variety, including French and Italian-inspired tablas and a decent amount of vegetarian options—check. They serve up one of the most creative menús del día in San Sebastian, in the form of—you guessed it—a platter piled high with the day’s freshest ingredients. Get it for €13.90 throughout the week or €22.90 on weekends.
Aldaba is located a little ways off the beaten path, but once you arrive and taste their homestyle, traditional-with-a-touch-of-avant-garde Basque cuisine, you’ll see why locals rave about their menú del día. Every option available is prepared with the freshest seasonal products available, right down to the homemade desserts. For just €13.50, you can enjoy a fabulous meal in one of San Sebastian’s most charming settings (the cozy restaurant itself and the gorgeous terrace are both excellent choices).
Restaurante Mil Catas
Not only is Mil Catas one of the best places to eat in the Gros neighborhood, but they also offer one of the best value menús del día in San Sebastian. The choices available are full of fresh, seasonal flavors and often include at least a few options that put their famous seafood at center stage. Grab a table out on the picturesque terrace where you can feel the breeze from Zurriola Beach just around the corner, and you’ve got all the makings of a perfect lunch.
We can’t talk about menús del día in San Sebastian without mentioning one of the most famous: that of Ikaitz Jatetxea, a traditional-meets-modern Basque spot in the Gros neighborhood. Enjoy their regular menú del día for €20 during the week, or check out their special weekend menu available starting on Friday evenings. Everything comes beautifully presented to the point where it almost looks too pretty to eat. Dig in anyway—you’ll fall in love with the pure essence of Basque cuisine to be found in every bite.
Rounding out our list of the best menús del día in San Sebastian is a spot where you’ll feel at home from the moment you walk through the door. Sophisticated yet unpretentious, Restaurante Pollitena serves up all the traditional flavors you know and love in a cozy setting that feels like the home of an old friend. The options available for the menú del día change daily in order to reflect the fresh ingredients purchased fresh from the market that morning, and always include fresh fish and homemade desserts. The whole thing will set you back just €14.30 during the week and €16 on Saturdays, providing great bang for your buck.
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Life is too short to speak one language and stay in one place. In 2015, this philosophy took her from familiar Ohio to sunny southern Spain. Usually drinking tinto de verano, reading Lorca, or attempting to dance flamenco (not all at once). Follow her blog, Viatic Couture, for more.