Why Anthony Bourdain doesn’t want you to go to San Sebastian
“Don't come here.” Anthony Bourdain likes to eat. On Sunday night’s episode of Parts Unknown, Bourdain will venture to San Sebastian, in Spain, for one reason and one reason alone: Food. The coastal town was once a resort for Spanish royals in the 19th century but now it’s a place with “more outrageously good restaurants per square mile than just about anywhere in Europe,” Bourdain explained. “Even the bad restaurants are good.”
On his journey through Basque country, Bourdain accompanied chef Juan Mari Arzak through some of the area’s finest restaurants. Arzak’s restaurant has one of the finest gourmet menus in all of the city — although a two-person tasting will set visitors back about $500. At Ganbara, Bourdain ate the restaurant’s Basque specialty, seared wild mushrooms and foie gras with egg yolk. And at Elkano, in Getaria, he ate sampled the region’s famous fresh seafood.
And even though Bourdain wants to keep San Sebastian for himself — he jokes to viewers, “Don’t come here” — travelers can follow in the vein of Parts Unknown and sample the Basque cuisine for themselves. The town is famous for pintxos, small bites sometimes served on a cocktail skewer and sometimes on a piece of bread. For travelers hunting down old-school pintxos, visit La Cepa, a restaurant which has been dishing out specialties like Jabugo ham for over 70 years.
Visitors to San Sebastian should be sure to take advantage of the rugged coastline. Make a stop at La Concha Beach, which is consistently named one of the best city beaches in all of Europe. And for those who want to get a “big picture” view of the area, ride the funicular all the way up to Monte Igueldo for views of the water, the city and the surrounding mountains.