When my mother asked me to travel with her for a week as her 70th birthday gift, I struggled a bit on deciding where to go. I wanted to go somewhere great but not to a place that was also on Stewart’s wish list as he had not been invited to join us…My mom’s friend Shelly suggested a road trip in Spain, including San Sebastián, Bilbao and Figueres for the Dali Museum. Trying to find the best tapas in San Sebastián was the perfect way to kick-off our travels.
I had been to several of the places on the list previously with Stewart and it sounded like the perfectly formed trip, with a strong focus on food, along with some great cultural experiences.
We started the trip with a day in Bilbao visiting the Guggenheim and exploring the old town. We then drove on to San Sebastián for a few days of walking around with a lot of eating.
A friend in London had helped me with some of the top spots for tapas, and when we had lunch before the trip, he added that all of the must visit spots onto my personal google maps page which made it very easy. Every time I approached a yellow star on the map, I knew that there was an essential stop nearby, for eats!
Bar Nestor was one of his must visit spots on the list. They are well known for their traditional tortilla (eggs and potatoes) but of course you can’t just go there and have some. There is a method to the madness. (It is madness, but it is worth it.) You have to show up punctually at 12pm or 7pm and add your name to the list, and if you are one of the lucky 18 to make the list, you then come back an hour later when they will serve you!
On our first day we showed up at 8pm, not having correctly understood my friend’s instructions and we had to watch drool while others devoured their gooey eggs and spuds. He had also told me about their tomato salad and since there was no list for that, we ordered it. Simply the tastiest tomatoes with delicious olive oil and the right amount of salt. We devoured the tomatoes and then polished off all the Pan Con Tomate (bread infused with oil and tomato).
That same evening we went from one tapas spot to the next tasting some specific dishes friends suggested.
We LOVED Gandarias for their mixed mushroom with an egg yolk in the middle of the plate.
We were also instructed not to miss the cheesecake and the fried milk at La Cepa. We first ordered the cheesecake which was one of the best we have ever tried, creamy, not too sweet, with a crunchy base and served with tangy and tasty red berry sauce.
We were full and weren’t considering a second dessert but were too curious to resist ordering the fried milk. We didn’t know what to expect but it was a thick milk pudding that was breaded with cinnamon, and then fried to golden perfection. While Stewart polished the cheesecake, I ate 80% of the leche frita. Sadly my mom can’t eat desserts and just stared at it, drooling.
The next day, Mom and I stood outside at 6:55pm while Stewart napped (he was finally allowed to come to the first 3 days of the trip), in the aftermath of our 15-course lunch at Asador Etxebarri (review to come) and were the first on the list. Despite being full from lunch, we came back at 8pm and devoured the creamiest tortilla ever!
Stewart still ordered another tomato salad, and I instead left some room for a takeaway slice of cheesecake from La Vina.
Bar Nestor serves very few dishes but what the ones that they do serve are special, and absurdly inexpensive. Their massive steaks looked fantastic and service is chaotic and efficient at the same time. A must, must visit and the best tapas in San Sebastian.
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