Restaurante Gandarias & The San Sebastian Pinotxo

Restaurante Gandarias is the pinotxo bar that trumps them all in San Sebastián.  It’s the one where Anthony Bourdain visited with Elena Arzak on his show.

Restaurante Gandarias made headlines with the world when Anthony Bourdain stepped foot into the pinotxo bar.   Gandarias is located in the Parte Vieja of San Sebastián, Spain.  It’s a couple of steps from Plaza de la Constitución and among an array of pinotxo bars in the area.  Gandarias would be the one pinotxo bar to try when in San Sebastián.

Jamon San Sebastian Spain

When I landed at EAS, I deboarded the plane and the first thing I saw was the large San Sebastián sign spread across the airport.  It put a smile on face cause I was finally in Basque Country and the anticipation of endless pinotxo has finally come to an end.  I hailed a cab and headed into the city.  It was a 30-40 minute ride through San Sebastian’s country side.

The city was virtually empty at 8 AM.  I roamed freely and undisturbed through Parte Vieja then Playa de la Concha; I was able to take pictures without anyone in them.  I had a few hours until my Mugaritz reservations; however, I wanted to try as many pinotxo restaurants as possible before my reservations.  Gandarias didn’t open until 11 AM.  I stumbled upon La Vaca, which was the only thing open in the area.  I had breakfast then proceeded with my itinerary.  It’s pretty awesome to be able to have tapas for breakfast like how you can have pho for breakfast in Vietnam or ramen in Japan.

Gandarias San Sebastian Spain
Gandarias’ Counter

It was 10:45 AM.  I started to make my way back to Gandarias.  The restaurant just opened its doors and the endless sea of pinotxo was filling the counter tops.  The abundant jamon hanging from the ceiling was an indication that jamon is a gift from god.  My eyes wandered the counter tops and my hands pulling off every interesting looking piece of Spanish culinary mastery onto my plate.  I ordered a glass of wine then started to devour my pinotxos.

  1. Steak – The waiter saw me going through the pinotxo on the counter.  He went to the kitchen and started to tinker with things.  He brought back this magnificient pinotxo with a smile then asked me to try it.  The seared steak was sitting a cut piece of fluffy baguette with a thinly slice red pepper on top and sprinkles of salt.  The steak’s texture was tender and the other ingredients provided depth to it.

    Jamon San Sebastian Spain
    Steak pinotxo
  2. Crab Cake – The slice of bread was overflowing with crab bits and a thinly slice pepper in between them.  It filled my palate with joy and the thinly sliced pepper brought an added kick.  The colorful presentation matched the array of taste; it’s definitely one of the pinotxo to try at Gandarias.

    Jamon San Sebastian Spain
    Crab cake
  3. Seabass – The perfectly cooked seabass stuff on top of a baguette laid in between different types of peppers.  The buttery seabass was delicate and the peppers brought the additional flavors needed to round out the pinotxo.

    Jamon San Sebastian Spain
    Sea Bass

I paid the bill with a smile.  I started to make my way back to the main road to hail a cab to Mugaritz.  As the driver drove passed Playa de la Concha, I started to understand why Anthony Bourdain loves San Sebastian and why some would call San Sebastian the culinary capital of Spain.  The lifestyle with endless glasses of wine and pinotxo would make anyone fall in love with this culinary heaven.  I know I did.

Check out our other San Sebastian articles here.

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  • 8/10
    Service - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Presentation - 9/10
  • 8/10
    Flavors - 8/10
  • 7.5/10
    Decor - 7.5/10
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    Ambiance - 8/10


Restaurante Gandarias is the pinotxo bar that trumps them all in San Sebastián. It’s located in Parte Vieja. It’s definitely worth the trip with its array of different pinotxo and endless flowing glasses of wine.

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