Here in San Sebastian, we’re pretty proud of our city’s status as a must-visit foodie destination—but what sets our gastronomy apart?
After all, Spain in general is full of culinary delights and delicious destinations—you can’t really go wrong no matter where you visit! What sets San Sebastian’s food scene apart, though, is its unrivaled collection of Michelin-starred eateries. In fact, we’re home to more restaurants with the prestigious ranking than nearly any other city in the world! If you have room in your budget, experiencing one of the top Michelin restaurants in San Sebastian is absolutely worth the splurge. Here are a few of our favorites.
What started as a humble wine shop and bar back in 1897 is now one of the most iconic Michelin restaurants in San Sebastian. With four generations of culinary expertise under its belt, Arzak‘s revolutionary blend of tradition and innovation have earned it a whopping three stars—the highest ranking there is. Their market-fresh cuisine retains a traditional Basque spirit while incorporating avant-garde methods to create dishes you won’t find anywhere else.
Despite its international prestige, Arzak retains the friendly, hospitable feel that made it so popular in the first place—head chef Juan Mari Arzak is a regular presence out in the dining room, welcoming new guests and returning regulars with open arms. And, true to its roots as a bodega, the restaurant boasts one of San Sebastian’s most incredible wine selections: a wine cellar full of 100,000 bottles.
Tucked away in the lush greenery on the far side of Mount Igueldo, with stunning picture windows overlooking the sea, Akelarre will transport you to a world far from the hustle and bustle of the city center and Old Town. The intimate setting and gorgeous scenery provide the perfect place to indulge in a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience.
San Sebastian native-turned-renowned chef Pedro Subijana runs the show at Akelarre, where he’s worked for over four decades. He and his passionate team have revolutionized Basque haute cuisine, earning a prestigious three Michelin stars and dozens of other international accolades. Choose from one of three carefully selected tasting menus, which incorporate the restaurant’s classic dishes along with new, innovative favorites to keep things fresh.
The city’s Old Town is easily the most popular among tourists—it provides easy access to most of the main sights, as well as plenty of dining options. While there are plenty of great eateries in the Old Town, one stands out above the rest: Kokotxa (pronounced “ko-ko-cha”), one of the finest Michelin restaurants in San Sebastian. A relatively new addition to the city’s prestigious culinary club, it remains somewhat of a hidden gem for the most part, though it’s starting to get the recognition it deserves.
An elegant yet unpretentious dining room with plenty of gorgeous natural light provides the perfect place to tuck into one of Kokotxa’s two exquisite tasting menus. Both feature locally sourced ingredients as much as possible—including fish caught just blocks away at San Sebastian’s harbor—and masterfully combine traditional Basque cooking methods with a touch of international flair. Its Michelin star is well deserved, and we wouldn’t be surprised if this lovely little spot were to earn even more in the future.
The first cook at the Alameda restaurant believed that the shorter the distance between the source of the ingredients and the kitchen, the better. She must have been onto something, because more than 75 years later, her three grandsons have carried on her tradition, transforming the humble Hondarribia locale into one of the top Michelin restaurants in San Sebastian.
Located less than half an hour outside the city in a picturesque Basque village, Alameda takes homestyle cooking to a whole new level. Under the leadership of the Txapartegi brothers, the down-home cuisine from this charming corner of Gipuzkoa has earned international renown while remaining true to its traditional roots. The updated Basque culinary offerings keep things interesting, but everything comes from a place of simplicity and family tradition.
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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.