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The 7 Best Michelin Restaurants in San Sebastian

If you're planning a trip to San Sebastian, don't go without an appetite!

Situated in the stunning Bay of Biscay, amidst the beautiful Basque country – San Sebastian's foodie scene is second to none. Famed for the high quality of its avant-garde chefs, the sheer number of Michelin-listed restaurants will have you returning for more, time and time again.

In fact, did you know San Sebastian has more Michelin stars per square metre than almost anywhere else on the planet? It's second only to Kyoto, Japan.

So if you're ready to dine in style, here are seven of the best Michelin restaurants in San Sebastian.

Kale Nagusia street in the old town of San Sebastian
Kale Nagusia street in the old town of San Sebastian

What makes San Sebastian's cuisine so unique?

Found in North-West Spain, Basque cuisine is truly extraordinary. With the Atlantic Ocean to the West and the bountiful Ebro Valley to the East, the region is famed for its stunning seafood, vegetable dishes and carefully cured meats.

Unlike its larger cousins, such as Barcelona and Madrid, San Sebastian takes inspiration from France's "Nouvelle Cuisine" but with a solidly Basque twist. One of the founding fathers of the culinary revolution, Chef Juan Mari Arzak (who started cooking in the 1960s), still keeps this focus – running the Michelin-starred Restaurant Arzak alongside his daughter, Helena.

In good news for hungry holidaymakers, whilst Michelin food is undoubtedly expensive, restaurants in San Sebastian often charge less than many other cities. A one-star lunch might start at around €60 per person. This rises to at least €200 at three-star establishments, though, so it's worth doing some prior research if you're looking for budget-friendly options.

As well as a bounty of Basque feasts, San Sebastian is also home to picture-perfect sandy beaches, elegant architecture, fabulous tapas bars and contemporary art galleries. With so much to do, you'll never be stuck for choice.

7 of the Best Michelin Restaurants in San Sebastian

Mirador de Ulia 
A creative delight, boasting a fantastic location with views over Zurriola beach.

Mirador de Ulia has one Michelin star, offering dishes such as "crunchy spheres", "warm asparagus", "confit artichoke", and the deceptively simple "apple". It's helmed by Chef Ruben Trincado, the third generation of his family to run this inventive kitchen.

Overall, Mirador de Ulia is a creative, seasonal delight offering the highest quality cooking in the heart of San Sebastian. Well worth a visit.

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▲ Mirador de Ulia ▲

Kokotxa
Slightly more reserved than ultra-creative Mirador de Ulia, Kokotxa offers modern cuisine that's firmly rooted in Basque culture. You'll find the stylish restaurant nestled in San Sebastian's romantic old town.

Although it's developed an enviable foodie following, Kokotxa only opened in 2002. Awarded one Michelin star just five years later, it's a testament to chef Daniel Lopez's skill in the kitchen.

Kokotxa is both down-to-earth and super stylish, offering top-quality local produce. Expect two menus (one seasonal, one tasting) and a very warm welcome.

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▲ Kokotxa ▲

Arzak
This distinguished dining spot will need no introduction if you love Michelin restaurants. They describe their food as "Basque cuisine open to the world", led by Chef Arzak's legendarily creative personality.

Arzak dates back to 1897, when Juan Mari Arzak's grandparents built the house where the restaurant remains. Originally a bar and wine shop, Juan Mari Arzak's parents turned it into a restaurant before he took over the business in the 1960s. From the 1970s onwards, it's won countless awards.

Today, Elena Arzak shares the kitchen with her father. With three Michelin stars, expect superbly innovative cuisine and an impressive wine list.

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▲ Arzak ▲

Amelia by Paulo Araujo
A profoundly personal restaurant offering a single, seasonal tasting menu.

With two Michelin stars, Amelia combines the best of Basque cuisine with influences from Chef Paulo Airaudo's travels in Italy and Japan.

A particular highlight is the restaurant's open kitchen, allowing fascinating insights into chefs at work. Restaurant Amelia also strongly emphasises sustainable products (including organic or biodynamic food and drink) with carefully curated wine and champagne pairings.

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Tripadvisor Rating 🟢🟢🟢🟢🟢 based on 317 reviews as of September 2022
▲ Amelia ▲

Akelaŕe
You'll expect something special at three Michelin stars (kept since 2007) – and Akelaŕe doesn't disappoint. With modern interiors and stunning sea views, you'll be treated to high-concept cuisine that doesn't abandon its traditional roots.

Found on the slopes of Mount Igueldo, the kitchen is run by Pedro Subijana. With a philosophy of "challenge everything", Subijana started working at Akelaŕe in 1975.

Akelaŕe also hosts culinary Master Classes (arranged on request), introducing guests to the ingredients and techniques that go into their renowned food.

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▲ Akelaŕe ▲

eMe Be Garrote
Basque Country meets Scandinavia in the stylish interiors of eMe Be Garrote. Housed in a former cider house, it offers modern cuisine from the celebrated chef Martín Berasategui.

Holding one Michelin star, this restaurant's tasting menu is worth the investment. Its wonderful dishes change on the "whim of the countryside, the sea and the seasons". Chef Berasategui suggests guests allow themselves "be seduced by small bites",… and we don't need to be told twice. On Egin!

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▲ eMe Be Garrote ▲

Mugaritz
Whilst it's not strictly within San Sebastian, we couldn't finish a guide to Michelin restaurants without mentioning the two-star Mugaritz. Found between the Basque towns of Errenteria and Astigarraga, it's only a 10km drive out of the city.

Run by chef Andoni Luis Aduriz, Mugaritz prides itself on this border location. As well as a literal border, they sit at the boundary between art and gastronomy, creativity and science. Indeed, Aduriz describes himself as a "rebel in the kitchen", and the restaurant takes an innovative and developmental approach.

When visiting, expect 23-25 "creations" over three hours. During this time, Mugaritz promise to "weave a tale of stories, gestures and emotions" around your table. Magical stuff.

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▲ Mugaritz ▲

Where to Stay

If you're planning a trip to one of San Sebastian's Michelin restaurants, there are several local campsites from which to choose. It's a fun and cost-effective way to experience everything the city offers, allowing you to retreat to your peaceful idyll at the end of a busy day.

Here are a few of our Alan Rogers favourites:

Camping Igueldo located 5km outside of San Sebastian, this lively terraced campsite offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. With a bus service running to the city centre every 30 minutes (all year round), it's easy to get to and from your Michelin meals.

Gran Camping Zarautz found amidst a beautiful hillside south of San Sebastian, this campsite offers commanding views over the bay. With sandy beaches and the town of Zarautz nearby, it's a great option for relaxing, swimming and surfing in-between long, laidback lunches.

Camping Ametza just over the French border, Camping Ametza sits alongside a beautiful sandy beach. With flat and shady grass pitches, there are also buses straight to Saint Jean de Luz, San Sebastian and glitzy Biarritz. So, Bayonne or the Basque Country? You decide.

Wherever you decide to sleep, eat and drink, we wish you happy camping and delicious dining in beautiful San Sebastian. As well as these Michelin-starred restaurants, there are also 25 Michelin-listed establishments (also well worth exploring!), offering superb quality often at a snip of the price.

Author

Peter Stannett
Content writer

Peter is a content writer and SEO specialist, helping keep our content current and monitoring website traffic. His content covers all four corners of the globe, across topics like activities, advice, food, culture and history.