Donosti Dining Update, vol VI

In the months that I haven’t been able to write much here (explanation coming soon), a LOT of new places have opened in San Sebastián.  Everything from pizza joints to normal pintxo bars to little spots with lots of love behind them. I’ve seen them open, I’ve tried (most) of them, and I just haven’t had time to keep you in the know.   So I am happy to be back with a Donosti Dining Update, where I run down three of those new spots.  This time around they aren’t quite brand new because I have quite the delicious backlog, but....enjoy!

prontxio casa de comidas © Marti Buckley


PRONTXIO 2  © Marti Buckley

Prontxio is a spot that opened late last year.  A labor of love at the hands of Loren, a chef who has passed through some of the smaller independent restaurants of the city, it features a short, changing prix-fixe menu that caters to the locals and the businessmen in the area.  

The entrance is an unassuming bar, with a small selection of pintxos, one slightly different than the small selection you might find at a bar around the corner—the tortilla is above average and the rest of the pintxo menu is a carefully selected and high quality combination of charcuterie, conserves, and classics like ensaladilla rusa.

Prontxio 3  © Marti Buckley.jpg

The downstairs holds a small, bright dining room where Loren serves up the menu and a plato del día.  At €7, ordering a daily plate for lunch is something affordable enough for more than once a week, although it's not going to leave you bursting at the seams.  When I stopped in, I chose the attractive option of ordering two half plates for €8.  This day, that meant tomato and feta salad with guindillas, as well as a dish of young white beans dotted with chorizo. The idea is food from here, with a slightly updated air, plated and served in a way that makes you give the dish more importance. 

Prontxio 4  © Marti Buckley.jpg

$€$€ :  ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Vibeyness : ★  ★ ★ ★ ★
Gobackability : ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Martimeter :  ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Prontxio : Casa de Comidas
San Martzial Kalea, 6 (CENTRO)

gure txoko © marti buckley.jpg


gure txoko 2 © marti buckley.jpg

Gure Txoko is another example of a neighborhood bar doing it right.

Its space is small (although there is a dining area downstairs), consisting of a bar, a few stools along a perch on the wall, and a handful of tables in the back area.  Its decor is questionable, distressed wood and graffiti inspired logo, but hey, somebody seems to be expressing something and that is worth more than any soulless professionalism.

gure txoko 3 © marti buckley.jpg

We're here to talk about the food, however. Gure Txoko riffs on the various classic modes of pintxos, including a version of each in its arsenal: hot pintxos, cold pintxos on the bar (very classic, shrimp with mayo and hard boiled eggs, etc), a couple cazuelas in the corner (usually for more "daring" options like tripe and other offal), and a selection of cured fish and meats made to top freshly toasted bread (a la Antonio, see below picture).

gure txoko 6 © marti buckley.jpg

But the real gem, what makes Gure Txoko an absolute must-stop on any Gros pintxo tour, are the croquetas. When the bar opened, they had eight different types of croquettes on the menu. Eight. Neither of which was your typical classic.  They amplified the croqueta selection: spinach and goat cheese, stew,  spicy chorizo with camembert, shrimp and monkfish, pheasant and black truffle, cured pork loin and torta del casar cheese, ostrich and mango, and Jabugo ham.

And now, they have added 12 additional croquetas, an incredible, unprecedented selection that blows boring Basque menus out of the water.  It's one of those things where you are like DUH, finally someone took the blank canvas that is bechamel and added some delicious stuff to it!  Go with friends so you can try them all.

gure txoko 4 © marti buckley.jpg

For the most part, the execution is good. The toasts with vinegar-cured fish need a touch more mimo (toast me that bread a little more! Up the quality of that olive oil! Give me a contrasting texture or flavor on top!), and on the menu of hot pintxos you have to know what to order (try the confit duck burger and the oxtail), but, honestly, this bar has my heart just for the croquetas. Seriously.

gure txoko 5 © marti buckley.jpg

$€$€ :  ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Vibeyness : ★  ★ ★ ★☆
Gobackability : ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Martimeter :  ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Gure Txoko
Usandizaga Kalea, 5 (GROS)

eguzki © marti buckley.jpg


eguzki 2 © marti buckley.jpg

I LOVE Eguzki.

This bar, with a fresh yet not aggressively modern look, hides in the back corner of Gros. It feels like stumbling on to the gold at the end of the rainbow.  While I am the first to be skeptical in the face of a bar trying to do something "different", the difference with Eguzki is the fact that they also adhere to tradition and fulfill their role as a bar de barrio.

eguzki 3 © marti buckley.JPG

You will find the traditional favorites, like olives and calamari, but with an updated presentation and a modern touch. Olives are served in a jar, marinated with vermouth and a splash of Tabasco; Calamari are top quality and come in a basket with a bit of squid-ink-tinted alioli.   The list of vermouths is also mega-extensive, and when the bartenders serve up a marianito they do it with a few extra drops of bitters and gin along with some dehydrated citrus fruits. In other words, with love.

eguzki 4 © marti buckley.jpg

The bar is lined with pintxos in the same tradition, all neatly and impeccably presented.  On the menu, there are about a dozen hot pintxos and small plates, like a buttery fish carpaccio and a smoky cut of steak with big chunks of potatoes.  It's a real neighborhood treasure. So don't go ;)

eguzki 5 © marti buckley.jpg

$€$€ :  ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Vibeyness : ★  ★ ★ ★ ★
Gobackability : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Martimeter :  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Secundino Esnaola Kalea, 44 (GROS)