Cuisine Featured Photologues Rioja Travel — 11 September 2013

My 2013 San Sebastian Donostia culinary tour started Wednesday evening at one of the classic homes of traditional Basque cuisine, Bernardo Etxea, in the Parte Vieja secton of town. Both a pintxo bar (Basque for tapas bar) and a sit down restaurant, the food is excellent in either, but more relaxed and quieter with table cloth service in the dining rooms.

Although the central tourist attraction of San Sebastian Donostia (Donostia is the Basque name of San Sebsastian) may be its gorgeous beach, for foodies across the globe, it’s the cuisine that beckons, ranging from myriad pintxo bars to an array of celebrated Michelin two and three star restaurants.

The traditional cuisine of the area is based on outstanding market fresh ingredients, simply prepared but in the better places like Bernardo with the deft touch of centuries of tradition. Being on the Atlantic coast of Spain and home to one of the world’s great fishing fleets, the focus is on fresh seafood.

San Sebastian's famous "La Concha" beach. © 2013 Justin Berlin

San Sebastian’s famous “La Concha” beach at sunset. © 2013 Justin Berlin

The façade of Bernardo Etxea is not so different from many of the traditional spots  in the Parte Vieja (the old town neighborhood). © 2013 Justin Berlin

The façade of Bernardo Etxea is not so different from many of the traditional spots in the Parte Vieja (the old town neighborhood). © 2013 Justin Berlin

The display case at the entrance to Bernardo, featuring fresh seafood options, which vary both by day and by season. © 2013 Justin Berlin

The display case at the entrance to Bernardo, featuring fresh seafood options, which vary both by day and by season. © 2013 Justin Berlin

Bernardo's pintxo bar, featuring many ready to eat pintxos and ingredients for  others that need to be prepared. Additional items are prepared to order as well. © 2013 Justin Berlin

Bernardo’s pintxo bar, featuring many ready to eat pintxos and ingredients for others that need to be prepared. Additional items are prepared to order as well. © 2013 Justin Berlin

Fresh

Fresh guindilla peppers are a classic and a favorite. They are served lightly fried in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. They are cooked just enough to take off the raw green edges, but still very flavorful with a mild spicy kick—unless you get the odd hot one! © 2013 Justin Berlin

Cured anchovies are a staple of Basque cuisine, and these at Bernardo were spectacular: intensely rich and briney with a spectacular fatty plumpness. © 2013 Justin Berlin

Cured anchovies are a staple of Basque cuisine, and these at Bernardo were spectacular: intensely rich and briney with a marvelous fatty plumpness. © 2013 Justin Berlin

Spaniards have little fear of pairing red wine with seafood, and the smoky elegance of classic Rioja like this outstanding La Rioja Alta 904 Gran Reserva 2001 is proof positive of why. © 2013 Justin Berlin

Spaniards have little fear of pairing red wine with seafood, and the smoky elegance of classic Rioja like this outstanding La Rioja Alta 904 Gran Reserva 2001 is proof positive of why. © 2013 Justin Berlin

Pulpo Gallego (Galician style octopus) is a classic all across Spain. Here marinated and sautéed in olive oil to perfect tenderness, then dusted with paprika and salt. © 2013 Justin Berlin

Pulpo Gallego (Galician style octopus) is a classic all across Spain. Here marinated and sautéed in olive oil to perfect tenderness, then dusted with paprika and salt. © 2013 Justin Berlin

Grilled hake, served  with potatoes and lemon. All about the fresh, moist, flakey fish. © 2013 Justin Berlin

Grilled hake, served with potatoes and lemon. All about the fresh, moist, flakey fish. © 2013 Justin Berlin

I capped my meal with another classic dish: fried milk, made from thickened milk cut into squares, lightly battered and fried, then dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon. So simple, but delicious. © 2013 Justin Berlin

I capped my meal with another classic dish: fried milk, made from thickened milk cut into squares, lightly battered and fried, then dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon. So simple, but delicious. © 2013 Justin Berlin

Bernardo Etxea
Calle Puerto 7
San Sebastian Donostia, Gipuzkoa Spain
+34 943 422 055
www.BernardoEtxea.com

 

About Author

avatar

Justin is a Co-Founder of Vino247 and has been a wine professional for more than 12 years. He has a background in filmmaking, print and web publishing. But his passion for wine led him to move professionally to the wine world. First at one of the top retailers in the US, where he cut his teeth learning the wine business, honing his palate and writing about wine. Later he co-founded importer Spanish-Wine-Exclusives. He is also a regular taster on Wine & Spirits Magazine’s industry tasting panel.

On social media:
Follow us on Facebook!Follow us on Twitter!Follow us on Google+Follow our Pinterest boards!

(0) Readers Comments

Leave a Reply