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#46 mitchells

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 05:14 PM

Going to be in San Sebastian next spring for 1 1/2 days. Chambo, where should I eat?

 

Nothing?



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#47 Chambolle

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 05:46 PM

What is this, Chowhound now ?

 

One and half days ? :blink:

 

You meant months, right ? 

 

No !!! Days ! Days !! You serious, man !!!

 

Fine. 36 hours. So you got time for about six meals, right ?

 

Options galore, but Chambo is hyper-optimizer, hence he needs DATA and lots of it !

 

1) Are you going with the ...

    a) Mrs.

    b) kids

    c) Mistress

    d) a and b

    e) All of the above

    f) None of the above

 

2) Will you have wheels ?

3) What days of the week are you there ?

4) Where you staying ?

5) Where you gonna be before and after ?

6) What types of food are you looking for ? (ie tapas, fine dining, dancing with the stars, etc.)

7) Do you drink Gin Tonics by the gallon ?

 

You thought this was gonna be easy, huh.

 



#48 Sneakeater

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 05:59 PM

I heard there's a place with good spider crabs.


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#49 mitchells

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 06:28 PM

What is this, Chowhound now ?

 

One and half days ? :blink:

 

You meant months, right ? 

 

No !!! Days ! Days !! You serious, man !!!

 

Fine. 36 hours. So you got time for about six meals, right ?

 

 

Options galore, but Chambo is hyper-optimizer, hence he needs DATA and lots of it !

 

 

1) Are you going with the ...

    a) Mrs.

    b) kids

    c) Mistress

    d) a and b  Check -Kid is college age daughter who will eat anything.

    e) All of the above

    f) None of the above

 

 

2) Will you have wheels ? Yes

3) What days of the week are you there ? Sat evening thru Tues morning

4) Where you staying ?  Probably near La Concha Beach

5) Where you gonna be before and after ?  Barcelona first (Can you get us into tickets? Already set my alarm to make a reservation :)) Then off somewhere in France

6) What types of food are you looking for ? (ie tapas, fine dining, dancing with the stars, etc.) One Fine dining (Azurmendi is my choice as of now) and tapas

7) Do you drink Gin Tonics by the gallon ? Yes!

 

 

You thought this was gonna be easy, huh.

 

 

See above! Thanks!



All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusions is called a philosopher.
Ambrose Bierce

#50 Chambolle

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 07:27 PM

Azurmendi is very very good. It's Chambo approved. Please note that it's on the outskirts of Bilbao hence an hour's drive away. Been three times over the last 3 years and they had actually improved. Service is excellent. The elegant experience is fun, the meal is real fine dining a la basque with some games and without too much formality, the room is great. Elegant casual dress is the answer; no need even for a sport coat in my opinion; we are in Spanish Basque country, remember (although that said, I'd advise gentlemen to wear a sport coat at Martin B.) Wine prices, like in all of Spain, are a dream and they got a solid wine list for their food. My advice would be to have LUNCH there because the daytime view is quite pleasing (too bad that highway couldn't just disappear and then the view might even be upgraded to "basque ideal"). Demand a table by the windows ! They will say "Well, we cannot guarantee that ... blah blah blah" and you politely respond "I understand. I just wanted to tell you well in advance what we would like and whatever you can do to accommodate us would be greatly appreciated." (If you casually slip in a "by the way I'm best buds with Chambo", you should be pretty much golden) Either of the two menus is perfectly fine and they'll let you swap courses between them if you would like to. They aim to please. Yes, there can be some little flaws here and there, for sure, but where isn't there. 

 

I believe that there may also be a lurker around who has eaten there even more recently that my last August meal. We shall see ...

 

 

And please reconfirm your arrival and departure times, thank you ... cuz Sat eve to Tues morn  1.5 days.

 

If the discrepancy is due to having backed out time for Azurmendi, please say so and specify the Azurmendi day of week if already determined.



#51 mitchells

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 07:43 PM

Yes, decided to add some time. Planning on lunch at Azurmendi Sunday.  Ibai on Monday for lunch? If yes, any tips on getting in?



All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusions is called a philosopher.
Ambrose Bierce

#52 Chambolle

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 08:02 PM

Ibai on Monday for lunch? If yes, any tips on getting in?

 

Yes. Have your hotel make the reservation unless you speak Spanish yourself.



#53 Chambolle

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 08:10 PM

And to avoid any confusion, you eat at Ibai DOWNSTAIRS at the real resto. 

 

They are only open for lunch. They don't accept credit cards. And various things can indeed be ordered as 1/2 portions, although there should be no need to do so with a three-top.

 

Frankly, I'm not positive if they now have a menu or not. Last time I was there they didn't.

 

But LuxEat has a photo of an Ibai menu ... in English even ... strange cuz they don't speak a lick of English there ...

 

http://www.luxeat.com/blog/ibai-2/



#54 mitchells

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 08:36 PM

Thanks, much appreciated. I owe you a gin and tonic.



All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusions is called a philosopher.
Ambrose Bierce

#55 Chambolle

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 08:38 PM

Frankly, I'm not positive if they now have a menu or not. Last time I was there they didn't.

 

but there's always ways to work around all this sorta stuff ... (Method #1 - Chambo handed her pen and paper a number of year's ago, then smiled and said "la carta en espanol, por favor"   :-)

 

IMG_2582_zps6uw49ipn.jpg

 

 

 

 

Note that I am NOT sure if Ibai is open on Mondays. Verify that.

 

Also note that if those green peas shown in LuxEat's blog are the one's I think they are, then they can be CRAZY expensive peas. You have been warned. Ask in advance if you care to.



#56 Chambolle

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 01:02 AM

Just re-read LuxEat's write-up ... yep those peas were the guisantes lagrima de costa. Very dangerous. Very dangerous indeed.

 

@mitchells - One last thing re Ibai : it's a place for gastronomes. It's not "fun" place. You're eating in a basement. Service is functional. They won't be speaking any English so there may be limited communication or back and forth interaction. I understand that the daughter eats everything but if she's not a "foodie", it's not crystal clear that she's gonna be loving this place. That's all. Father knows best.

 

That aside, ingredients are excellent. Preparation is uncomplicated but at a level to do these ingredients absolute justice. Everything on the above menu is highly recommended but if I had to leave off one item, I would probably can the carne. Also, the resto is not a wine lover's delight.

 

All that out of the way, Chambo likes !

 

 

Photo time ... some of these have been posted elsewhere ...

 

 

Ibai dining room ... I guess it's okay for a Spanish basement ...

 

IMG_2584_zpscd0ywolp.jpg

 

 

 

Lobster salad aka salpicon de bogavante is a must here ! 

 

IMG_2579_zpsmywgrmko.jpg

 

 

 

The pochas are worthwhile. It's a simple, silky, flavorful "bean" revelation. Split one for the family.

 

IMG_2580_zpsxryegk5g.jpg

 

 

Kokotxas merluza aka hake cheeks (yeah, I know, they're not exactly "cheeks")

 

"Ooooooooh ! Dadddddddd ! It looks soooooooooo super slimy ! I ain't eatin' it. No way ! "

 

"Honey, if you don't eat your gooey gummy cheeks, then no thick black ink with those chewy squid-like creatures whose insides are pink  ! " 

 

"Dad ? You're supposed to bribe me with a hot fudge sundae or something. Black ink ? Pink squid ? Is that really the best you can do ? " 

 

She's kinda right.

 

But prepared correctly, as they do here, it's silky-slimy, ooey-gooey in a luxuriously thick, melt-in-your-mouth sorta way. And it's so totally basque.

 

I think you gotta and I don't think 2 per person is enough ! And if you don't, you're culturally insulting them and that could be a serious mistake. i wouldn't risk it cuz I've heard random parboiling rumors emanating from the basement here ... 

 

Some people don't explore tiny little villages in foreign countries because they are afraid of making one wrong turn, getting lost, being captured by savage revolutionaries, getting thrown live into a giant steaming hot pot of water and then being eaten parboiled by cannibals. These are common fears. They are only natural. They are completely human. It's okay to admit it. We've all been there.

 

IMG_2585_zpsgswilxzc.jpg

 

 

 

Chipiron in their own ink. 

 

As good as this dish gets anywhere !

 

This black ink sauce is the Spanish sea's answer to the French countryside's a la royale hare sauce.

 

A pretty delish and decadent dish. Exquisite chipiron quality. I'd love a major spoonful right now.

 

IMG_2588_zpsphdfra5a.jpg

 

IMG_2589_zpswkusj2jk.jpg

 

 



#57 balex

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Posted 26 March 2016 - 03:31 PM

Off to San Sebastian for 4/5 days next month. Has anyone been to Mugaritz recently? It doesn't sound like my sort of place. Ibai sounds good. Maybe Etxebarri which I have been thinking of for ages, but perhaps it is past its peak now?

 

I last went 25 years ago and remember an excellent meal at Arzak.



#58 Sneakeater

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Posted 26 March 2016 - 03:34 PM

Yeah, I had a truly fantastic meal at Arzak in the late '90s.
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#59 johannabanana

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Posted 30 March 2016 - 06:43 PM

I went to Mugaritz in 2011 and wouldn't return, even though some dishes were good. Etxebarri, on the other hand, was fantastic during the same trip and my impression is that it might have kept improving since then rather than being past its peak.



#60 Orik

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Posted 31 March 2016 - 02:38 PM

I assume you've been to Elkano or similar? 

 

Etxebarri was good but I thought not as good as going to individual specialists for meat, seafood, etc. could have just been an off day.


sandwiches that are large and filling and do not contain tuna or prawns