Zuberoa : Oiartzun, Basque Country
It's a restaurant that, for some reason, is difficult to describe to the uninitiated. Located in a Basque farmhouse on the outskirts of San Sebastián, it boasts one Michelin star, but never boasts very loudly. The cuisine pays homage to trends (there's foam) but feels much more ancient. The man behind the menu is Hilario Arbelaitz, and one gets the sense that the food is a direct extension of his spirit—bits and pieces can be spotted across town but there is a soul and a tradition present in Zuberoa that is tough to find in the other Michelin-starred restaurants in town.
Zuberoa is also a great example of the importance of relentless PR and lip service in a restaurant's trajectory. Hilario and his team (including his brother and sister-in-law) have favored staying behind the stoves rather than on stage at culinary congresses, which has meant a bit of an under-the-radar presence. The dining room is more likely to be packed with locals than with Instagramming tourists.
Royal de erizos de mar al aroma de hinojo // Fennel-scented sea urchin royal
Cigala asada al jengibre, ravioli de albahaca y espárrago verde // Norwegian lobster with ginger and green asparagus-basil ravioli
Vieira asada, salsa civet de su coral, endibia caramelizada y emulsión de canela y vainilla // Grilled scallop in civet, caramelized endive and cinnamon-vanilla emulsion
Acelgas y bacalao // Salt cod and seaweed
It sounds pretty much like the least appetizing dish ever, but it's actually one of the best we tried. They have quite the knack in the kitchen for the emulsified sauces that accompany fish in this region.
Huevo escalfado a baja temperatura, crema de foie-gras, apio y trufa// Sous-vide poached egg with foie gras cream, celery, and truffle
Of course, one of the best dishes. But then again it just takes reading the title to know that would probably be the case.
Rodaballo asado con berberechos, salsa al “ Oloroso “ y jugo emulsionado // Grilled turbot with cockles, sherry sauce and jus
Paloma asada, tosta de higaditos y nabo relleno de setas /// Roasted pigeon with liver toast and mushroom-stuffed turnips
Game is where Hilario shines. Game and, of course, the accompanying sauces, shiny, rich, French and perfectly executed.
Lomo de corzo asado con frutas de temporada al jengibre /// Roasted venison with seasonal fruits and ginger
In reality, you have to choose between the venison and the pigeon, but one of the benefits of going with a wonderful American friend is you get to try both. Love you, Hannah!
Sorbete de piña y leche de coco /// Pineapple sorbet with coconut milk
I don't usually like tropical desserts, but this one was absolutely delicious.
Degustación de chocolates // Tasting of chocolates
Another hit out of the ballpark. Although we ordered the tasting menu, if you can help it and especially if you go in group, ordering from the á la carte menu is highly recommended. The tradition of game lives strong in Zuberoa, and you can find rare dishes and rest assured they will be prepared with a lot of know-how.
I know a lot of you agonize over WHICH STARS to dine at, but Zuberoa is an underrated, very strong option for those brave enough take the road of stars less travelled.
Araneder Bidea, Barrio Iturriotz
20180 Oiartzun, Gipuzkoa
+34 943 49 12 28