San Sebastian is internationally renowned for the quality of its cuisine and it has become an undeniable staple in the itinerary of food enthusiasts. Renowned for its molecular Basque cuisine, the northern Spanish city holds one of the highest number of Michelin stars per square meter in the world. We have put together a list of the best Michelin starred restaurants in San Sebastian to inspire you.
Arzak not only offers one of San Sebastian’s best gourmet experiences but it also counts among the world’s top 50 restaurants, a ranking in which it has been present continuously since 2006. Juan Mari and his daughter Mari Arzak have additionally been awarded the Universal Basque Award and continue to strive for culinary innovation and excellence. From Tuesday to Saturday, visitors can stop by for lunch or dinner and enjoy the dishes meticulously prepared by the skillful chefs. Arzak offers both an a la carte and a 7 course tasting menu with delights such as foie gras bonbons, volcanic oysters with smoked vegetables or chocolate truffle. Adhering to the style of molecular cuisine, the presentation of the food in the restaurant is another noteworthy feature, few high end restaurants can compare to Arzak’s impeccable preparation or flavours. Arzak offers the eating experience of a lifetime and we cannot sing its praises highly enough. It comes as no surprise that Arzak continues to hold three Michelin stars.
Dani López, the chef of Kokotxa | Courtesy of Kokotxa
Dani López, the genius behind Kokotxa, and maître Estela Velasco, provide one of the best reasons to visit San Sebastian and have contributed immensely to the elevation of Spanish cuisine to even higher spheres. The name of the restaurant refers to the morsels of meat which are acquired from the heads of certain fish and subsequently prepared in a green sauce, resulting in one of the most sumptuous Basque dishes. The skilled chef incorporates various international influences, always retaining his heritage at heart while balancing truly ingenious and novel flavors. Kokotxa creates some of the most sumptuous dishes in the city, and they do it without any pretension and a certain simplicity that will leave all visitors with fond memories and a desire to visit the restaurant again. Crowned with one Michelin star, Kokotxa serves its regional dishes with international standards.
Akelaŕe has been awarded no less than three Michelin stars and ranks among the world’s most highly regarded restaurants. Situated high on Igueldo hill, visitors can not only enjoy outstanding dishes but also dazzling views over the Basque countryside and the ocean. The chef, Pedro Subijana, carries with him more than 50 years of experience and skilfully blends classicism and innovation. Not only are all dishes beautifully presented, but they also provide their recipients with some of the most scrumptious flavors and textures in the world. With dishes ranging from egg and caviar with cauliflower purée to foie gras and ox steaks, Akelaŕe manages to invoke a subtle play of ingredients and pays homage to its Basque heritage. The restaurant stands as a symbol for the development and success of Northern Spanish cuisine.
In 2001, Martin Berasategui, named after its talented chef, received its third Michelin star. Located just outside San Sebastian, Martin Berasategui offers stunning views over the mountainous region of Gipuzkoa. The restaurant has a tasteful yet simple décor. Both an a la carte menu and a tasting menu are available, featuring delights such as smoked eel and melon jelly sorbets. The famous chef still oversees the kitchen and often comes to chat to his guests, a testament to his dedication and love for his profession. Expect exciting flavors and textures alongside flawless presentation, and an adherence to Basque molecular kitchen. Martin Berasategui has rightly earned its place among San Sebastian’s most highly regarded restaurants and continues its tradition of excellence.
The two Michelin star Mugaritz has been called the world’s most adventurous restaurant and remains one of San Sebastian’s most prestigious. The head chef and owner Andoni Luis Aduriz learnt his profession under the likes of Ferran Adrià and has developed incredible culinary skills and a knack for extraordinary creations. The scenic restaurant, situated in a restored wooden building, offers marvellous views over the surrounding area, and serves unique dishes which range from edible stones to candy caviar. Mugaritz doesn’t have a conventional menu, instead, all their dishes are individually created and adjusted to the tastes and requirements of its guests. The restaurant has led a culinary revolution and continues to provide an eating experience that will remain in the memory of its visitors for a long time to come. Let yourself be dazzled by its 24 course menu and get a taste of some of the world’s most outstanding cooking.
Under the close supervision of head chef Hilario Arbelaitz, Zuberoa has made a name for itself among Michelin star gourmets and is located only a few kilometers away from San Sebastian. Rooted in traditional Basque cuisine, the marvellous restaurant turns raw materials such as cuttlefish, baby octopi and woodcock into dazzling dishes and, unlike other venues of this kind, Zuberoa offers a laid back setting and an unpretentious atmosphere. Only fresh and natural ingredients are used, and the excellent staff is more than happy to give advice on the menu. Roasted scallops and creamy cheesecakes are only a few of the delights that await you at Zuberoa and it is unlikely your experience will be anything else than mouthwatering.
For those looking to experience more traditional Basque cuisine, make your way to Alameda, a solid one star Michelin restaurant which continues to uphold its high standards and delight its guests. Under the watchful eyes of Gorka Txapartegui and his brother Kepa, visitors can expect to be served traditional yet innovative dishes which include gourmet treats such as lobster, creamy potato purées and fresh lemon sorbets. The Basque dishes with an avant garde twist are accompanied by an extensive menu of some of the best regional and international wines. Located in the historic hotel of the same name, this place provides a charming atmosphere and will make everyone feel welcome. Alameda is perhaps a more affordable option than other Michelin-starred restaurants in the area, thus enabling a wonderful first encounter with top quality gastronomy for those looking to immerse themselves in the gourmet world.
Mirador de Ulia is a one-star Michelin restaurant located on one of the city’s mountains. The dining room with views is transformed into a terrace during the summer, enhancing the good atmosphere, and if you are not too impressed by that, we can guarantee you will be impressed by the food. Rubén Trincado uses local products and transforms them into some of the most excellent dishes in San Sebastian. The innovative cooking with a nod to its Basque heritage excels on numerous levels and continues to have critics raving about its subtle flavors and well-balanced spices.