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Guidebook for Donostia

Jon & Manex

Guidebook for Donostia

Food Scene
This is our favourite among all pintxo bars in town. Food quality and variety are top, croquetas, a range of omelettes, marinated seafood, jamón, etc. Still preserves and old school touch and keeps free from modernity. Local customers are majority, people who's been going there for so many years thus you'll find the real pinxto culture. And the music is unexpected and amazing! Undoubtedly, we'd start any pinto experience/tour from Gorriti.
Bar Gorriti
3 San Juan Kalea
This is our favourite among all pintxo bars in town. Food quality and variety are top, croquetas, a range of omelettes, marinated seafood, jamón, etc. Still preserves and old school touch and keeps free from modernity. Local customers are majority, people who's been going there for so many years thus you'll find the real pinxto culture. And the music is unexpected and amazing! Undoubtedly, we'd start any pinto experience/tour from Gorriti.
Ganbara has a formal touch compared to the rest of the places, probably more elegant and exquisite than the rest, as well as its clients, the atmosphere and the general vibe. Highest quality of products are a standard either in their restaurant and in their pintxo bar. Oysters, mushrooms with slow cooked egg, chill peppers, monkfish and prawn brochette, etc. It just feels like starving while writing this! And their cellar is quite espectacular with choices for the most exquisites.
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Ganbara
19 San Jeronimo Kalea
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Ganbara has a formal touch compared to the rest of the places, probably more elegant and exquisite than the rest, as well as its clients, the atmosphere and the general vibe. Highest quality of products are a standard either in their restaurant and in their pintxo bar. Oysters, mushrooms with slow cooked egg, chill peppers, monkfish and prawn brochette, etc. It just feels like starving while writing this! And their cellar is quite espectacular with choices for the most exquisites.
A tiny tavern with a little terrace in the narrowest street in town, quite narrow actually. The place is tiny too and normally is super crowded, we believe it is because their mind-blowing cuisine, with really sophisticated suggestions, pushing forward the basque traditional gastronomy. No food on display but their variety of portions is just art: - Salted cod barbels with curry of seeds, herbs and roots - Roasted rock octopus with chimichurri and taboulle - Creamy risotto with black boletus mushrooms, goat's cheese and parsley -Raviolis of confit du canard and leeks -and many more
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La Cuchara de San Telmo
4 Santa Korda Kalea
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A tiny tavern with a little terrace in the narrowest street in town, quite narrow actually. The place is tiny too and normally is super crowded, we believe it is because their mind-blowing cuisine, with really sophisticated suggestions, pushing forward the basque traditional gastronomy. No food on display but their variety of portions is just art: - Salted cod barbels with curry of seeds, herbs and roots - Roasted rock octopus with chimichurri and taboulle - Creamy risotto with black boletus mushrooms, goat's cheese and parsley -Raviolis of confit du canard and leeks -and many more
When it comes the time to have a big steak/t-bone, let's head to Gandarias where you´ll be able to choose the piece you desire. You can either chose between enjoying their restaurant, their pintxo bar or the terrace at the core of the old town. Our favorite dishes are: Grilled squids, Squids on their own sauce (black ink), octopus, grilled sea bream and of course, there's many more that we suggest you to try for joy.
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Gandarias
23 31 de Agosto Kalea
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When it comes the time to have a big steak/t-bone, let's head to Gandarias where you´ll be able to choose the piece you desire. You can either chose between enjoying their restaurant, their pintxo bar or the terrace at the core of the old town. Our favorite dishes are: Grilled squids, Squids on their own sauce (black ink), octopus, grilled sea bream and of course, there's many more that we suggest you to try for joy.
Best cold meat in town by far. Jamón ibérico, jamón de bellota, lomo ibérico, a variety of chorizos, etc. And of course they also have the typical pintxos and dishes that are common in the rest of the places. The decoration of the place won´t let you indifferent at all.
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La Cepa Bar Restaurante
7 31 de Agosto Kalea
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Best cold meat in town by far. Jamón ibérico, jamón de bellota, lomo ibérico, a variety of chorizos, etc. And of course they also have the typical pintxos and dishes that are common in the rest of the places. The decoration of the place won´t let you indifferent at all.
This is 'The Place' for seafood/shellfish lovers. Perfectly located in front of the docks of the tiny harbour and with splendid views to the seafront from their cosy terrace, Mariñela is a gem for its delicious simply grilled (following the traditional basquefish and seafood plates. Good place to taste the local basque wine called 'Txakoli'
Mariñela-Igeldo
This is 'The Place' for seafood/shellfish lovers. Perfectly located in front of the docks of the tiny harbour and with splendid views to the seafront from their cosy terrace, Mariñela is a gem for its delicious simply grilled (following the traditional basquefish and seafood plates. Good place to taste the local basque wine called 'Txakoli'
Located in an antique family house reconverted into a restaurant and out of the busiest areas of the city, it features one of the best terraces in town. It's cuisine is loyal to the basque tradition with very high standards on either grilled meats and/or seafood. Take a look on their expense menu and feel suddenly starving
Restaurante Saltxipi
3 Calzada Vieja de Ategorrieta
Located in an antique family house reconverted into a restaurant and out of the busiest areas of the city, it features one of the best terraces in town. It's cuisine is loyal to the basque tradition with very high standards on either grilled meats and/or seafood. Take a look on their expense menu and feel suddenly starving
Drinks & Nightlife
Tiny little bar in one of the most spectacular corners in the old town, right at the feet of Monte Urgüll and facing the entire bay of La Concha, the island of Santa Clara, the old harbour. Since it is a bit out of the mainstream streets, you're very likely to be surrounded by locals. Not a place for fancy cocktails but for great beers, wines, gin & tonics ... Their musical ranges oscillates from classic and contemporary rock & roll, rhythm and blues, funk, pop ...
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Akerbeltz
19 Mari Kalea
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Tiny little bar in one of the most spectacular corners in the old town, right at the feet of Monte Urgüll and facing the entire bay of La Concha, the island of Santa Clara, the old harbour. Since it is a bit out of the mainstream streets, you're very likely to be surrounded by locals. Not a place for fancy cocktails but for great beers, wines, gin & tonics ... Their musical ranges oscillates from classic and contemporary rock & roll, rhythm and blues, funk, pop ...
Symbolic underground Jazz Club in the best possible location. It actively promotes live shows of local, national and international bands, specially during the Jazz festival. Offering a very interesting bar with a variety of drinks and liquors, you can either find it as an uplifting place but also a chilling one. All ages but specially people over their 30's
Altxerri Jazz Club
5 Erregina Erregeordea kalea
Symbolic underground Jazz Club in the best possible location. It actively promotes live shows of local, national and international bands, specially during the Jazz festival. Offering a very interesting bar with a variety of drinks and liquors, you can either find it as an uplifting place but also a chilling one. All ages but specially people over their 30's
We go very often to Pokhara, for afterwork drinks, when going out at night, for after lunch coffee and/or even during the morning. It always works! Located in one of the most charming corners in town and out of the main touristic routes, it features a very pleasant decoration with many details even if it is quite cosy. Very good vibe at all times, they offer a good selection of music (contemporary pop & electronic) all day long and a very interesting program of local dh's during weekends. A must in San Sebastian nightlife.
Pokhara
1 Sanchez Toca Kalea
We go very often to Pokhara, for afterwork drinks, when going out at night, for after lunch coffee and/or even during the morning. It always works! Located in one of the most charming corners in town and out of the main touristic routes, it features a very pleasant decoration with many details even if it is quite cosy. Very good vibe at all times, they offer a good selection of music (contemporary pop & electronic) all day long and a very interesting program of local dh's during weekends. A must in San Sebastian nightlife.
Our favorite bar in town and one of the oldest one with more than a century of history. I (Jon) use to work there when I was in university and that's also a reason why this is a place we love so much. The decoration is classy and beautiful, specially their large and precious alpaca bar. Very frequented by locals, go and taste one of the bests Gin & Tonics in town. They offer a quite large variety of drinks anyway and great selection of music (specially 80's & 90's pop-rock)
El Nido
13 Larramendi Kalea
Our favorite bar in town and one of the oldest one with more than a century of history. I (Jon) use to work there when I was in university and that's also a reason why this is a place we love so much. The decoration is classy and beautiful, specially their large and precious alpaca bar. Very frequented by locals, go and taste one of the bests Gin & Tonics in town. They offer a quite large variety of drinks anyway and great selection of music (specially 80's & 90's pop-rock)
Five young friends refurbished and old billiard hall into a concert hall/nightclub with so much success. Close from city centre but far enough to make you feel you're in another city. They offer a very balanced and eclectic program of live concerts and live dj's during all week long. But also they do organize expo's, markets, exhibitions, etc. Have a drink on their terrace in front of the train rails.
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Dabadaba
8 Mundaitz Kalea
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Five young friends refurbished and old billiard hall into a concert hall/nightclub with so much success. Close from city centre but far enough to make you feel you're in another city. They offer a very balanced and eclectic program of live concerts and live dj's during all week long. But also they do organize expo's, markets, exhibitions, etc. Have a drink on their terrace in front of the train rails.
Sightseeing
A collection of three steel sculptures on the cliff at the western end of La concha Bay, as a dialogue of the surrounding nature, by local iconic artist Eduardo Chillida. In addition, a viewing area was created on the nearby that includes wave-driven outlets for air and water.
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风之梳
s/n Eduardo Chillida Pasealekua
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A collection of three steel sculptures on the cliff at the western end of La concha Bay, as a dialogue of the surrounding nature, by local iconic artist Eduardo Chillida. In addition, a viewing area was created on the nearby that includes wave-driven outlets for air and water.
The city was burnt down more than two centuries ago as a fatal consequence of the War of Spanish Independence, being 'Calle 31 de agosto', the only street in town which survived the fires. Consequently, it's the oldest street in town, in between the two oldest churches in town too. Each 31st of August locals remember that horror day with a touching ceremony coming down from 'Monte Urgüll'. You'll find so much of the history of the city among the stone facades of the street. Full of pinto bars & restaurants, it is one of the main hotspots of the Old Town.
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31 de Agosto Kalea
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The city was burnt down more than two centuries ago as a fatal consequence of the War of Spanish Independence, being 'Calle 31 de agosto', the only street in town which survived the fires. Consequently, it's the oldest street in town, in between the two oldest churches in town too. Each 31st of August locals remember that horror day with a touching ceremony coming down from 'Monte Urgüll'. You'll find so much of the history of the city among the stone facades of the street. Full of pinto bars & restaurants, it is one of the main hotspots of the Old Town.
Parks & Nature
In the are of Egia, find this urban park of 95.000 m2 which follows the British tradition. It features the 'Palacio de Duque de Mandas', as a tribute to the duke of Mandas, who at his death, donated the entire park to the city for its public use. Currently the building is used for environmental research. There is two elevated platforms at the south and southwest of the park that connects the park with the southern neighborhoods of the city.
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Kristinaenea
66 Mandasko Dukearen Pasealekua
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In the are of Egia, find this urban park of 95.000 m2 which follows the British tradition. It features the 'Palacio de Duque de Mandas', as a tribute to the duke of Mandas, who at his death, donated the entire park to the city for its public use. Currently the building is used for environmental research. There is two elevated platforms at the south and southwest of the park that connects the park with the southern neighborhoods of the city.
The Bay of La Concha and its beaches are worldwide recognized but there you go a spot that not even many locals know. Behind the cliffs of Monte Igeldo, there's an interesting and a bit demanding hike to reach the cove. Full of big rocks, having a swim is only recommendable when there's no waves and the sea is totally in calm. Please make sure that you take care of yourself anyway. It is very uncommon to meet other people over there, however in summer there can be other hiker with the same plan and itinerary as you! Sometimes there is also people practicing nudism, in fact it is an ideal place for that.
Tximistarri Bidea
The Bay of La Concha and its beaches are worldwide recognized but there you go a spot that not even many locals know. Behind the cliffs of Monte Igeldo, there's an interesting and a bit demanding hike to reach the cove. Full of big rocks, having a swim is only recommendable when there's no waves and the sea is totally in calm. Please make sure that you take care of yourself anyway. It is very uncommon to meet other people over there, however in summer there can be other hiker with the same plan and itinerary as you! Sometimes there is also people practicing nudism, in fact it is an ideal place for that.
Arts & Culture
Tabacalera is a contemporary cultural centre in a huge antique building which was previously used as a massive tobacco factory. Its main purposes are to promote local artists production and also to offer and interesting and diverse cultural program. There's a variety of cultural labs, expositions, a cinema hall, a concert hall, a bookshop, a library, a very nice coffee shop, food outlets, and an outstanding terrace with breathtaking views of the city on the fourth level.
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Tabakalera
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Tabacalera is a contemporary cultural centre in a huge antique building which was previously used as a massive tobacco factory. Its main purposes are to promote local artists production and also to offer and interesting and diverse cultural program. There's a variety of cultural labs, expositions, a cinema hall, a concert hall, a bookshop, a library, a very nice coffee shop, food outlets, and an outstanding terrace with breathtaking views of the city on the fourth level.
Shopping
Featuring a neoclassical style, the building of Mercado de la Bretxa was finished in 1870. On the western side of the building (outside), farmers from the countryside offer fresh products and veggies on their colorful stands. In the inside, head downstairs to find a variety of stands/shops with the best local products. There's a LIDL, a budget supermarket for daily shopping.
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Mercado de la Bretxa
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Featuring a neoclassical style, the building of Mercado de la Bretxa was finished in 1870. On the western side of the building (outside), farmers from the countryside offer fresh products and veggies on their colorful stands. In the inside, head downstairs to find a variety of stands/shops with the best local products. There's a LIDL, a budget supermarket for daily shopping.
This is a lovely niche perfumery in the heart of the city with a wide selection of exclusive perfume, make up, cosmetics and candles/fragancies for home. In fact, we do buy here mikados and fragrances for our apartments, as well as perfumes for ourselves. The owners Maddalen and Eva take great care and time for each customer until they find the product that really matches the needs of any client.
Hunky Dory Laboratory
1 Zaragoza Plaza
This is a lovely niche perfumery in the heart of the city with a wide selection of exclusive perfume, make up, cosmetics and candles/fragancies for home. In fact, we do buy here mikados and fragrances for our apartments, as well as perfumes for ourselves. The owners Maddalen and Eva take great care and time for each customer until they find the product that really matches the needs of any client.
Essentials
It takes around 10 minutes walk from home but even though there's supermarkets closer, we believe it is worth it to spend some extra time to do shopping in this supermarket. Moreover, it is in the same building as Mercado San Martin, thus you are sure you will not miss anything you may need. Their supermarkets offer the best products, the best displays, they are so clean and organized and they also can take your bags back home in real short notice.
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SUPER AMARA San Martín
9 Urbieta Kalea
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It takes around 10 minutes walk from home but even though there's supermarkets closer, we believe it is worth it to spend some extra time to do shopping in this supermarket. Moreover, it is in the same building as Mercado San Martin, thus you are sure you will not miss anything you may need. Their supermarkets offer the best products, the best displays, they are so clean and organized and they also can take your bags back home in real short notice.