By Pat Nourse
December 07, 2015
Restaurant and bakery Loaf
Credit: Maarten Noordijk

In insomniac Spain, calling a place sleepy is always relative. But it’s certainly true of Gros, an unsung culinary gold mine across the river from San Sebastián’s old town. For years, the area’s big draw has been surfer beaches and the Kursaal, a striking contemporary arts center. There is, however, a reason to linger—flawless food served in spaces that don’t require battling for elbow room (or making months-out reservations). Go soon: Andoni Luis Aduriz, from nearby Mugaritz, one of the world’s great molecular gastronomy destinations, is opening a restaurant there. It’s only a matter of time before the crowds descend.

Gerald's Bar

This outpost of a Melbourne-based bar serves Basque food from an El Bulli alum by day (get the rabbit terrine), and English chef Nick Hughes produces fantastic steak tartare by night. Entrées $7–$22.

Bodega Donostiarra

At this old-school spot, it’s all about the classic pintxos (small bites). Order braised beef with tomato and satisfying tortilla de patata. Pintxos from $2.

Bar Ricardo

Mugaritz staffers go here for the city’s best jamón croquettes, golden on the outside and molten within. 6 Calle General Artetxe; 34-94-327-0561; pintxos from $2.

Bar Pagadi

Around the corner from Bar Ricardo, this place combines traditional dishes (bold-flavored tripe omelettes) and refined favorites (perfectly crisp cod fritters). Pintxos from $2.

The Loaf

The specialty at this beachfront bakery is a tangy sourdough; for something sweet, try the fresh-from-the-oven caramel-banana bread. Snacks from $2.