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Zumeltzegi is a bar with a contemporary cozy design and a long history (it's been around for 35 years).  They offer familiar Basque pintxos, with an interesting presentation, which still retain the main characteristics of all San Sebastian mini-sandwiches, namely being majestically made of quality local products. Their local hits are brochette-style pintxos. Try all the options: chicken, meat, monk fish, prawns with mushrooms and a mixture of squid, ham and peppers. The bar also has a restaurant with a perfect interior for a Saturday dinner.
Address: Fermin Calbeton , 15
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If you want to dine and, at the same time, be away from the noise of the Old Town, then Kaskazuri restaurant could be an optimal solution. It is bright, spacious and only a few steps away from the Old Town. The atmosphere with huge windows and views of Kursaal, Uremea river and Zuriola beach incline for a leisurely lunch. Kaskazuri has a great menu with a choice of five different appetizers, main dishes and desserts offering lots of vegetables, integral cereals and classic recipes of meat and fish. There is even a fully vegetarian option.
Address:  Paseo de Salamanca, 14
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Very fashionable bar Lobo on the pedestrian street Peña y Goñi in Gros is becoming a favorite place for diverse crowd. The street itself is an interesting mix of new and old pincho bars, small coffee shops, wine and convenient stores.  The bar with a rock-n-roll name Wolf (Lobo) is the place to visit this summer because of its variety of of hot and cold pinchos, an excellent sun-drenched terrace, an extensive selection of trendy vermouth and a restaurant downstairs.
Address:  Peña y Goñi, 6
Details here

Enjoy octopus tentacles on the grill and
a magnificent view of Basilica of Santa Maria


Atari is a universal place in San Sebastian.  Everyone meets here - deliberately or accidentally.   It is an excellent place to begin or end a day. It is equally nice for having breakfast, lunch or dinner as well as for tasting cocktails. Locals and foreigners love to come here. Quinoa salad and a traditional Basque aperitif with anchovies, tuna and olives co-exist perfectly in the menu here.  Despite the great overflow of tourists all year round, the waiters here remain polite and the food never loses its quality. Most importantly - if you did not find an unoccupied table on the terrace or inside - you can still order your food (even if it is a Chuleta steak) and eat it on the conveniently-located steps of a nearby church. And you won't be alone with this intention. The menu here is small, but sensible: you can choose from cold pinchos from the bar or start with light snacks and salads from their menu. There is also an excellent chuleta there and five amazing desserts. However, the number one dish with unrivaled taste in the unspoken local ranking is a grilled octopus, which is served with baked potatoes, and slowly grilled onions and red peppers. This is an absolute “food porn”, in both the taste and aesthetic senses.
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Try tasty cocktails in the Old Town


The famous gastro-pub on the corner of Calle Mayor and Calle 31 de Agosto is called a Sirimiri Academy and follows the same gastronomical concept as of the famous adjacent restaurant Atari. Sirimiri’s young English chef Lancelot Krejfer modifies the menu several times a year and easily adds British humor and the international approach to the established Basque culinary traditions. In the menu there is always a large nachos plate with a mix of hot sauces for sharing, as well as several types of croquets as an appetizer. However, the bar is mostly known for its octopus cooked at low temperature and served with seasonal vegetables and Chinese spicy sauce. The academic approach is read not only in the ingenious bar logo - an elegantly drawn knife ending with a fountain pen, but also in an extensive cocktail menu.  Fifteen cocktails - among which are the great Vanilla Fizz, Bramble and Moscow Mule - are a decisive argument in favor for a weekend or even a weekday evening in Sirimiri.
Details here


Dance away to the great music and amazing views


San Sebastian is hardly considered as a nightlife mecca but rather a gastronomic pearl, yet after satisfying your taste receptors during a very late dinner or a delayed midnight “pincho hunting" – a nice cocktail followed by dancing is a fairly common practice. Gu in this sense is an absolutely unique place. Located, let's say, on the upper deck of the “ship” that is both a landmark of the city and a private sea club, Gu is a combination of a restaurant with a small but rather exquisite menu, a terrace with magnificent views of the bay and comfy chairs, and a bar with a grand selection of cocktails, which after eleven gradually turns into one of the most popular night clubs in the city and runs until five in the morning. Back in the day, an intellectual techno or a very moderate lounge played here, attracting fans of club music in its refined, European version. Nowadays music variation is much broader - you might hear a cheerful regatón and ironic covers on pop hits, to which the whole city starts dancing. Gu’s location is also ideal for events and private parties.
Details here


Enjoy the spirit of an old Spanish plaza


Plaza de Constitución is one of the most coziest squares in the city. It was once a bullring that to the present day displays lodge numbers on the balcony doors.  Today it is a typical tourist must have - a plaza with terraces, where guides bring their groups. This is the place where Tamborrada starts on San Sebastian's Day and whereSanto Tomás is celebrated.  The terrace of Gott bar is one of the most inviting and attractive. Gorgeous black umbrellas and red light glowing pedestals create quite a Spanish mood in the evening, and perfectly correlates with the strict facades during the day. People come here for breakfast - a special morning Gott's combo includes a jamon plate, warmed bread, orange juice, seasonal fruit and, of course, a cup of coffee.  Biscuits and variety of pintxos are also offered in the menu for those who prefer a fuller breakfast. It is possible to spend quite a long time here in the evening with a glass of crianza while watching people, shadows in the sky or rainwater streams – the terrace is especially comfy when it rains.
Details here.


Try high quality ice-cream made of natural products


Home bakery Oiartzun, located at the corner of Boulevard and Mayor streets, is famous for its seven kinds of chocolate truffles and the best croissants in the city. The latter are served with a freshly squeezed orange juice and coffee - making it, perhaps, the most popular type of breakfast in San Sebastian. Adjacent to the bakery sharing its name, a small shop opened in 2010, which started making and selling excellent homemade ice-cream. Oiartzun's ice cream is very different from other local producers.  They use natural products in every flavor - if it's a pistachio ice cream, there will be real pistachio nuts rather than pistachio paste. Oiartzun produces 49 different flavors out of which 45 do not contain gluten. In addition to the classical flavors - strawberry, chocolate, vanilla - Oiartzun offers rare and unique choices. We can tell you with confidence that Donostia ice cream, produced here with a flavor of the Basque Idiazabal cheese, peach jam and almonds, you would not find anywhere else. This taste has been specially created in honor of San Sebastian - 2016 European cultural capital, so try it exclusively this season.  The ice-cream shop is open from noon to midnight, and keep it mind that at 8pm stronger flavors such as mojito, licorice, and their exclusive spring, summer, fall ice-creams appear on the stand for the evening customers.  Enjoy it at fullest while you can, the shop closes in November for the winter break.
Details here.


Enjoy the open-air concerts and markets in the city center


The cultural center Covent Garden is located in the courtyard of the unique hostel Room In The City.  However, it is much more than just an inner courtyard, where guests enjoy the sun, drinks and cheerful company of fellow hostelers. There is also an extensive program of concerts and events, exhibitions of contemporary art and markets, which are held here with an enviable regularity and which gather the most fashionable audience of the city. 
Back in the day, this hostel was a closed monastery, where monks lived without leaving the premises and where Belgian queen was once baptized.  Nowadays, it turned into a modern hostel with many rooms, which, at the same time, retained the splendor of the Gothic facade. On the roof of the hostel, there is a huge outdoor terrace with grand views of the bay and the city center.
Details here


Spend your lunch at the restaurant overlooking the river.


The restaurant on the riverfront overlooking Kursaal is named after a small village in the Basque part of France. Its culinary concept is also a mixture of French and Basque.  The menu includes traditional Basque cuisine with a modern touch, and Urepel's style, mood and serving resembles a classic French restaurant. Especially popular are Urepel's lunches as on weekdays and weekends.
It is worth it to take an extra time and carefully study the menu of the day.  Order an appetizer to share: you can choose from homemade mini croquettes, or a plate of thinly sliced ham, or a fresh foie gras served with a variety of jams and a glass of dessert wine. There's a great choice of salads for the first dish from the traditional Basque tomato salad with tuna to more modern options, such as salads with shrimps and avocado dressing.  If you don’t feel for a salad, a soup could be a pleasant alternative: a hot fish stew "Donostiarra" or a cold Salmorejo with mascarpone and a slice of green apple. For the main course, you might find a hake fillet with vegetables tempura, or a squid in its own ink sauce, or a local delicacy- beef cheeks slow cooked in red wine. The selection of deserts is also extensive. Our personal preferences are the traditional Basque sweets like rice pudding or a cheese platter with quince jam and walnuts.
Details: here


Taste high quality burgers in the heart of the city


Basque cuisine, in general, is quite traditional. If sandwiches are now a part of the day-to-day life, thanks to short lunches and the general love to French baguettes, - hamburgers are still considered as not so healthy fast food here. The trend on high-quality hamburgers came to San Sebastian quite late but is slowly digging in here. 
Muuk café with sophisticated interior design is situated in the Constitution Square, where you can find fancy burgers made of quality meat on gluten-free buns, complemented with a complex combination of additional ingredients. In the menu, there are six kinds of hamburgers. The most outstanding are:  Kobe - with Japanese beef and bacon, Donosti – made of chuleta, famous Basque cheese Idiazabal and spinach leaves, and our personal favorite - La Consti - with mozzarella, avocado, basil and pesto sauce. Five kinds of fried potatoes with different sauces: Ali Oli - a mixture of tomato sauce with mayonnaise, Tximitxurri - acute Argentine sauce and Italianas - a mixture of blue cheese with pesto.There are also options for vegetarians - a falafel burger with apple and teriyaki sauce, as well as couscous with nuts, raisins and fresh cottage cheese.
Details here.


Get a brief excursion into the finesse of Basque cuisine


Mimo San Sebastián was created by a young British entrepreneur who fell in love with Basque Country and its gastronomy. Offering customers diverse experiences - from pintxo tours in the old town to wine tastings in the province of Rioja, Mimo concentrated on its strategically important endeavor - the culinary school. Located in the hotel Maria Cristina, this magnificently equipped culinary school with inspiring modern interiors is a great opportunity for gastro-tourists to realize their big dream - become a chef for a couple of hours. Choosing between "the essential pintxo" or "Michelin star secrets" classes is not difficult; each masterclass offers a set of amazing recipes and skills that participants could use in their daily culinary practice. The class begins with a visit to a local farmers' market as Mimo focuses on seasonal local products. You can learn the texture of fresh artichokes, admire the variety of fish and find out exactly what ingredients are needed to prepare winter vegetable soup. Further, while sipping local crianza, following detailed instructions of an experienced chef (in Spanish and English languages) you will clean a squid for the first time in your life and, suddenly, chop an onion as it is done only in commercials. The magic of this four-hour class is a grand finale with self-cooked three-course lunch that will exceed your highest expectations with respect to your own culinary abilities.  You will leave the grounds of the school extremely pleased with yourself and with Mimo San Sebastián experience.
Details here


Enjoy most spectacular views from the top of the mountain


The five hundred meters tall Mount Igeldo, located on the west side of the city, offers the most breathtaking view of San Sebastian. Igeldo was once a village inhabited by farmers, who breed poultry and cattle, but in times of local “belle époque”, in the early 20th century, several remarkable landmarks such as the funicular, gardens, casino and luxury hotel appeared here. Many of these developments, like the funicular, survive to the present day and have barely changed. The hotel was renovated in the late 60's, and since then time seems to have stopped here. To us, the hotel resembles Wes Anderson's "Hotel Budapest" and the mysterious hotel "Dolphin" from Haruki Murakami’s book "Dance, Dance, Dance" by the personalities of its guests, the musical accompaniment in the restaurant, and the color of the sofas in the lobby. When the French network of hotels, Accor, acquired Monte Igueldo hotel, it was awarded another star for the view from huge windows in the lobby which is truly magnificent. Travel through time here taking in the views of the endless ocean with a glass of wine in hand.
Details here


Get to know the inventors of a basque pie with custard & crushed almonds


They say that queen Maria Cristina felt particularly fond of cookies from the confectionery Otaegui. Thanks to these subtle monarchy feelings, cookies received the "royal" title, and confectionery - a prestigious status of the royal court supplier. History of this store is calculated for more than a century, and reputation of Otaegui is still as brilliant as in those days when the confectionery sold candles from beeswax. Today, in addition to the local aristocracy, the confectionery is visited by people from the province and tourists from all over the world. During the war, Pedro Otaegi's wife, who, actually, wasn't a pastry chef, invented a cake recipe, which was destined to become a bestseller for years - the famous Panchineta - a puff pastry pie with custard, sprinkled with crushed almonds. It is still the hallmark of all five bakeries Otaegui in San Sebastian.
Details here.


Let rare meat melt in your mouth

Many San Sebastian tourists are interested in the question: what, if not pintxos? Tired of sandwiches and snacks at the end of the third day in the city, they start planning a real dinner. Perhaps the most popular option here, if you don’t choose fresh fish and seafood, is chuleta. The most common version is the beefsteak on the bone prepared on charcoals. Traditionally chuleta is served rare. Of course, it is possible to order it well-done, but the chef (and the waiter) would be skeptical of this idea and immediately guess that you are ordering chuleta for the third time in your life and haven’t had a chance to really taste it.
How do you make sure that rare meat is delicious and melts in your mouth? The owner of Nestor Bar said that it is important to have two components: meat quality and the way it must be hung for several days to develop a deep red color and juicy texture. Many restaurants in the Old Part work mainly with local produce. For the Basques it is a question of prestige and quality. Nestor Bar on Pescaderia Street in the old town is a truly unique place. In the menu: unbeatable tortilla, traditional tomato salad with sea salt flakes and olive oil, chuleta, and fried green peppers of Gipuzkoa. There's only one table in the bar - people are ready to eat standing up.  The secret here is quality and, in some sense,  the quantity: tortilla is prepared twice a day and sold only to those who made a reservation one hour prior to serving.  Fashionable French writer Begbedder and Olsen twins stand in line here for chuleta. Come and see for yourself.
Details here

Experience a spa with mineral waters from the Bay of Biscay


In the most elegant part of town, above the center of the city's main beach, La Concha, shines a white Baroque style shell - spa and thalassotherapy center La Perla. More than a hundred years ago, the ruling queen Maria Cristina turned Miramar Palace into her summer residence that she would visit once a year in the company of friends, servants and her pet dogs.  At that time bathing in the sea water filled baths was considered therapeutic and an appealing aristocratic entertainment.  A small rail trolley would deliver people from La Perla right into the ocean. The tradition of taking organic salt baths survives in the form of the fashionable spa center with an extensive selection of treatment.
Details here


Attend an internationally renowned jazz festival


At the height of summer, in San Sebastian, all the street corners are filled with the sound of jazz. One of the oldest European jazz festivals, ‘Jazzaldia’, (nowadays with an added sponsor title Heineken) is held here annually and is internationally renowned. Famous (and some not so famous) bands from Europe, Asia, Africa and America perform in many, sometimes unexpected, places in the city. Among others is the ‘Plaza Trinidad’, a stage in the heart of the old town at the foot of Mount Urgul, where the festival was launched in 1966. Natural acoustics can be experienced here. This is what makes this spot the most romantic of the festival. The glass cubes of the expo center Kursal with its adjoining terrace and Zuriola beach, is a very spacious area where people can come with their families and friends. The magical patio of San Telmo museum (an architectural masterpiece of the 16th century) is a must to visit at night. Here, you can usually attend concerts with sophisticated Scandinavian experimentalists. The famous stage of the Victoria Eugenia Theater features professional musicians. 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of Jazzaldia.  There was an impressive collection of headlining artists, such as British pop jazz musician Jamie Calm, American avant-garde player John Zorn, as well as Norwegian jazz and Basque experimentalists in the joint project PUNKT.
Details here


San Sebastian is not only a great vacation city but also a place for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions.  View this video for more details: