My second night in San Sebastián Donostia was Thursday at Chef Pedro Subijana’s Akelaŕe, one of only seven restaurants in Spain currently receiving the top rating of 3 stars in the Michelin Guide. Amazingly, three of the seven are in the immediate San Sebastián vicinity.
While you may not agree with the Michelin Guide’s ratings or its focus on elaborate service and decor for the top ratings—or even enjoy super fancy restaurants—it’s very clear that receiving such a highly coveted honor is a mark of excellence. And whether you enjoy the meal or not is also a matter of taste; subject to many factors, like the specific dishes you order, the company, your mood, the service, the cost, value and so on.
But if you crave highly creative, beautifully and elaborately prepared food, that is immaculately served in an elegant setting (with a panoramic view of the sea), then you will probably love Akelaŕe. Chef Subijana is one of the original chefs, along with Juan Mari Arzak, that helped create today’s modern Basque cuisine back in the late 60s and 70s. He continues the creative and pioneering spirit of those days—still wedded to Basque tradition—at Akelaŕe today.
The menu offered three different tasting menus, Aranori (Basque for spider), Bekarki (Basque for rocket), and Akelaŕe’s Classics (a sort of greatest hits menu) as well as à la carte choices. I almost always go for a tasting menu at such a temple to grand cuisine. Here I chose the Aranori, featuring sucking pig as the meat dish. Highlights follow.
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.