Food & Wine

A Michelin-starred chef's restaurant recommendations in San Sebastián

The Spanish city is world famous for its culinary offerings. These are some of the city's restaurant favourites. At least for Paulo Airaudo, the holder of no less than two Michelin stars.


Adrian Møller Haugan


"Of course, you spend a lot of time out eating when you live in San Sebastián. Mostly because it's nice, but also to support colleagues and keep up to date with what's happening on the food scene elsewhere in the city," Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur Paulo Airaudo tells Picolo.

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The world's most famous restaurants

Originally from Argentina, Airaudo operates a number of restaurants around the world. He has six restaurants in San Sebastián alone, including Amelia – a two-star restaurant in the Michelin Guide. The city in the far north of Spain is widely known for its fantastic gastronomic options with find everything from traditional and simple pintxos bars to some of the world's best restaurants.

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A local chef's best restaurant tips

Paulo Airaudo is from Argentina, but has lived in San Sebastián for a long time. He willingly shares his best tips for restaurants in the city.

In other words, it's hard to go wrong, but why not ask a real star chef where he himself goes when eating out?

"Of course, it depends on your mood and what you want. But I can say that if I'm in the mood for Italian, I'll go to my own trattoria Da Filippo," he says with false modesty. 
In addition to his own restaurants, feel free to check out the expert's recommendations in the Spanish food heaven below. 

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Magical experience at Amelia

Amelia is one of many restaurants in San Sebastián with stars in the Michelin guide.

Here are some of Paulo Airaudo's top picks in San Sebastián:

Casa Urola – an iconic restaurant

Located in the old quarter of San Sebastián. The restaurant is known for its first-class Basque dining experience and authentic atmosphere. Founded in 1956 and run by chef Pablo Loureiro Rodil since 2012.

Adress: Fermín Calbetón Kalea, 20 


Great pintxos in the old town

There are many options for pintxos in the old town. Here is a picture of the pintxo classic, Casa Urola.

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Ganbara – an intimate spot with good service

An intimate and charming place praised for its service and excellent staff by the Michelin Guide. Nevertheless, their small dishes have become even more famous, due to the good selection and authentic Basque flavours.  

Adress: Ganbara, Calle de San Jerónimo, 21

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Large selection of Michelin star restaurants in San Sebastián

Restaurants and pintxos bars that are mentioned or have stars in the Michelin Guide can be found everywhere in San Sebastián.

Gandarias – a luxurious place for both locals and tourists

The place has white tablecloths and focuses on fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients. Known for its premium steak and authentic atmosphere. Locals are just as likely to dine here as people from all over the world.  

Adress: Gandarias, 31 de Agosto Kalea, 23


Gandarias is a classic in the old town

The old town of San Sebastián is an important meeting place for both tourists and locals. In the old town alone you will find several hundred restaurants.

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Restaurante Zelai Txiki – a green Michelin star and impressive views

This place, whose location and panoramic terrace are worth the visit in itself, has a green star in the Michelin Guide. À la carte menu focusing on organic produce, from its own vegetable garden.

Adress: Restaurante Zelai Txiki, Rodil Kalea, 79

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The local wine, Txakoli, is an important part of the pintxos and food experience.

Arzak – a long history of high quality

Arzak has been featured in the Michelin Guide since 1974 and is thus an institution in San Sebastián. The restaurant is run by Juan Mari Arzak and his daughter Elena.

Together, they deliver innovative Basque dishes in a modern style that has earned them three Michelin stars.

Adress: Arzak - Alcalde J. Elosegi Hiribidea, 273

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The old town of San Sebastián is an important meeting place for both tourists and locals. In this area alone you will find several hundred restaurants.

Akelarre – three Michelin stars and a world-renowned chef

The head chef of Akelarre, Pedro Subijana, is no stranger to San Sebastián. He is one of the founders of the modern Basque food movement and is constantly focused on development.

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The restaurant is located in the beautiful 5-star hotel of the same name. Here, you get exclusive interiors, great views, and delicious food with two tasting menus focusing on seafood. The restaurant has three stars in the Michelin Guide.. 

Adress: Akelarre, Padre Orkolaga Ibilbidea, 56

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Many of San Sebastián's best restaurants are outside the city centre. Besides fantastic food, they often offer beautiful views of San Sebastián.

Elkano – three generations over a burning hot grill

Elkano is a family restaurant that combines traditional and modern cuisine. They take pride in using ingredients of the highest quality. Here, you get seafood made over a wood-fired grill. Elkano boasts one Michelin star.  

Adress: Elkano - Herrerieta Kalea, 2

Editor's note: The airline Norwegian covered air travel expenses in connection with this article. Picolo makes its own editorial choices, freely and independently.