New spots are opening in San Sebastián faster than I can keep up with them. Especially as things get busier and busier. My desire to explore them is somewhat dampened by the fact that very few of them are truly outstanding. Why? A confluence of factors, an important one of which being that San Sebastián is opening up to the world. Foreign concepts are the trend, but they are so often low-fi copies instead of the product of true dedication and research and innovation. That said, some of them are nice neighborhood spots. So anyway, my apologies!
For those of you curious as to how this works, you should know I head off to new places with the idea of slotting them here. However, if a place pleasantly surprises me, instead of appearing in the Donosti Dining Update, it will get its own post. You should also know I pay for my meals and don’t mention my intentions when I head off to dine. For a key to the slightly unconventional rating system, scroll down to the bottom of the post. The first edition was here, the second here, the third, Gros-centric edition here, and here goes number four:
The menu is still a loveable, picky-eater-friendly mixture of fried stuff, cool dips, and hamburgers. But now, like these fried calamari, they come in design-y dishes that are Instagram-ready. The place is often packed with diners since its October 2015 opening.
You, dear reader, can judge from the above foto, but I recommend sticking with the more local specialties, like the made-from-scratch croquetas or the famous hamburgers, which include one made from tuna.
The best thing we tried at Drinka was the goat cheese salad, with caramelized goat cheese, bacon, corn nuts and spinach. It's food for the people, food for enjoying, food not for thinking too hard but just to serve as a pretty background for a pleasant experience.
Is it worth going to Antiguo for? No. But definitely worth a peek if you are in the neighborhood.
$€$€ : ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Vibeyness : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Gobackability : ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Martimeter : ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Calle Matia, 50 (ANTIGUO)
Some of the city's most charmed proprietors tackle what is one of the most difficult real estate slots, gigantic, cast off to the side of Gros and exposed to intense winds (which sounds like a chorrada but is a major factor in choosing where to go on a cold, rainy, Donosti night).
I'm happy to report that they do it not by repeating the same mistakes with a different Pinterest palette, but by testing what, for San Sebastián, is a new model of business. They take the casual, homey vibe of their ever popular Centro café, Koh Tao, and transport it to Gros. On the way, they pick up a couple extra businesses to a)help with the rent and b) make the spot a one-stop-cool-shop.
You can find standard drinks, cocktails, hummus, guac and hamburgers, as well as vermouth, coffee and snacks. Everything is outsourced, except for the menu of snack food and the drinks. Pastry is by Meyvi, wine shop is by ardoteka Goñi, clothes by Letitare and Viva la vida, and eclectic gifts byFranck Fischer, Koloreka, and the jabonería de la Almendra.
To sum it up, it's a nice, sunny anchor on the east side of this little town that likes to think it's a big city. Bustling, with wifi, everything looks happier at Belgrado; even the occasionally dismalservice becomes something to smile about.
$€$€ : ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Vibeyness : ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Gobackability : ★ ★ ★ ☆☆
Martimeter : ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
De Navarra Hiribidea, 2 (GROS)
Tucked away up on a hill in Egia, this pizza joint has been called the best in Donosti by American pizza eaters I know.
I'm not sure if it's the best, but it's definitely the most similar to the American-style pizzas, due in part to the crust style (thicker, not overly crispy) and the abundance of ingredients (lotsa cheese). It's pizza...nothing revolutionary, but a good ace to have in your pocket when nothing but an old-fashioned pie will do.
$€$€ : ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Vibeyness : ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Gobackability : ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Martimeter : ★☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Virgen del Carmen Kalea, 4 (EGIA)