Eat your way round Guipuzcoa
Seafood grills with decades of tradition, award-winning chefs and avant-garde offerings bring experience, excellence and innovation to an exquisite local food scene that celebrates the finest produce. From the coast of Guipuzcoa to inland, this region’s gastronomy is at the top of its game. Try these five restaurants when you travel with Iberia to San Sebastian for just 9,000 Avios (return trip).
1 Txoko Getaria
One of the most respected grills on the coast of Guipuzcoa, Txoko Getaria has just celebrated the 70th anniversary of when it first lit its grill. Located on the same lovely balcony overlooking the Cantabrian Sea where it started out in 1953, the establishment now has Enrique Fleischmann – the third generation – at the helm. The chef, who has worked with great names such as Paul Bocuse, Juan Mari Arzak and Pedro Subijana, has successfully revamped the menu, earning the restaurant the Grill of the Year award at the latest edition of the Más Gastronomía Awards, bestowed by El Diario Vasco newspaper.
This seafood grill’s commitment to the day’s catches guarantees the finest and freshest produce: the local inshore fleet provides them with horse mackerel, albacore tuna, anchovies, mackerel and sardines, while the Fisherman’s Guild offers sea bass, bream and sole, and North Sea turbot and bream from Tarifa are sourced at the local auctions.
2 Bodegón Joxe Mari
The pretty fishing village of Orio has been home to the Bodegón Joxe Mari seafood grill since 1957. The restaurant is named after its founder, Joxe Mari Manterola, a fisherman-turned-cook who was a pioneer in product innovation and the first man to dare to grill a bream. Bream has become the town’s most representative fish and remains one of the most-requested specialities at the Joxe Mari grill, alongside other Cantabrian species such as turbot, monkfish, red scorpion fish and hake from Pasajes and Ondarroa.
Today, Mikel Manterola – the third generation – runs the restaurant that he has worked in for more than 15 years. The chef has just been named Best Griller 2023 at El Diario Vasco’s Talento Gastro Awards.
Chef Enrique Fleischmann offers seasonal and honest cuisine in the unique location of the Iriarte Jauregia hotel, located in a painstakingly restored 17th-century palace just minutes from Tolosa in Guipuzcoa. With a firm commitment to sustainability – which also extends to local suppliers – Fleischmann has placed produce at the heart of his dishes. Try Bailara’s eight-course seasonal tasting menu.
The cuisine of Andoni Chinchilla at Hamarratz (‘crab’ in Basque) – just five minutes from Zumaia – is committed to “going back in order to move forwards” with local produce, daily fish and seafood, artisanal smoked goods and its own garden. Revolutionary dishes include octopus chorizo and pineapple sea scallops and sea fennel. Also try its grilled offerings, including kokotxas and crayfish.
5 Sukaldean Aitor Santamaria
One of the best exponents of new Basque cuisine, Aitor Santamaría deploys all his talent in the Zenit Convento San Martín hotel. In Sukaldean’s painstakingly refurbished settings, exquisite versions of classic dishes such as wood-grilled T-bone or kokotxas or avant-garde offerings such as crusted scallops and poultry juice are served. There is also a sushi bar and a tasting menu for €60, which includes some of the chef’s specialities, such as battered hake and roasted pepper juice or Euskal Txerri jowl and red thistle.