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What to eat in San Sebastian

Amanda Roberts-Jones

Heading to San Sebastian? Prepare yourself for a trip filled with culinary delights. Donostia (also known as "San Sebastian") stays true to its Pais Vasco roots, while also opening itself up to the new culinary experiments that Spain is known for. Grab some friends, put on comfortable shoes, and come hungry: a night in San Sebastian is not for those with picky palates or full stomachs.

What to eat in San Sebastian

1. The traditional: Gilda

The most traditional San Sebastian pintxo, the Gilda, consists of an anchovy, a pepper, and an olive. Eat it with vermouth: the salty flavors need something slightly sweet. You'll feel oh-so-legit after one of these.

2. Anything with a pepper

Pais Vasco pintxos are all about the peppers. Stuffed with tuna, stuffed with crab, sliced on tortilla: the pepper is the staple, the punch of color, the punch of flavor, in most dishes. Try at least one pepper stuffed with tuna: it's delicious.

3. Foie

If you're from California, like I originally am, then foie is hard to come by these days. Enjoy all you can in San Sebastian: the place seems to sustain itself on the delicacy.

4. Warm pintxos

The delicious treats lined up on the bars seem to be calling you by name, but did you know that many of the bars also offer warm tapas, made to order? Don't settle for the pintxos in front of you: grab one to satisfy your hunger, and then sit back as you watch the hot orders from the kitchen. Then, make your move . . .

5. Something inventive

The thing I love the most about Spain is its ability to stick to the originals (long live the Gilda!) and yet open itself up to new culinary trends. In San Sebastian, you are bound to find restaurants offering new, exciting dishes: give them a try! I had everything from seared foie with black tea yogurt and freeze-dried berries to a delicious chicken heart sautee that was to die for. Sample, sample, sample when it comes to eating in Pais Vasco.

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