When I first moved here, on my daily walk to work along the river I would pass a mysterious restaurant, located on the first floor of one of the hundred-year-old villas. With nothing to recommend it and only a Coca-Cola sign advertising a totally average menu del día, I never went in.

Well, this place has new owners, a new vibe, and is frankly just what San Sebastián needed.

Everyone seems to agree that there is a dearth of places to just be. To hang out, to drink coffee or wine and have access to the internet; basically what we call a 'coffee shop' in America.  That's what Botanika strives to be.

They have a menu with vegetarian leanings, which includes perfectly passable versions of hummus and falafel as well as salads and soba noodles.  For Donosti, they're some of the best (and those of us who live here know that doesn't actually mean too much, but hey).

Their charming garden and comfy interior make me think only of New Orleans. A combination of my two favorite spots in the whole world.  A spot that could easily become a home away from home.