After Paris, we headed to San Sebastian in Spain’s Basque region, locally known as Donostia. This seaside town is a summertime haven, and in 2011 I visited just after the high season, and immediately fell in love with the surroundings. That was a very hurried stay, with barely two days in the area, but I managed to visit both Mugaritz and Arzak. The stupendous arc of the boardwalk around La Concha, the main beach that circles shell-like west to east towards La Parte Vieja (Old Town). Where last time I barely spent any time in this mysteriously vibrant and cozy corner of the city, which houses some of the world’s best tapas bars. This visit, I spent my time exclusively here.
The first place we stopped in was the boldly inventive A Fuego Negro, a visually rambunctious bar serving irreverent dishes, whose names are scrawled across a menu board behind the bar in their Basque spellings – lots of x’s and k’s.
A café con leche. Makcobe burger with “txips” – a mini wagyu burger with ketchup-infused sesame bun, fried banana chips. Intensely beefy, lightly ketchup-y. Kit de pikoteo: tuna, piparras (Basque peppers), and thinly-sliced onions. This was Myra’s favorite here (we ordered it twice) – everything was immensely bright in their freshness, the tuna flaky and meaty, the peppers and onions adding unique undertones of acidity and heat.
Seaweed and olives rice, a creamy risotto with the garlicky bent of marinated garlic, with the briny salt notes of seaweed. Good for a few bites, better to share among a few friends. Fried mini-prawn with quail egg atop a homemade mayonnaise:Peach nectar:The crowning glory: a plate of glistening jamon de Euskal Txerri (black-footed Basque pig), with a side basket of bread and salmojero. The meat literally melted in my mouth, releasing me into some pork-induced dream-state, some stumbling stupor of jamon flavor that was for once not super-charged with salinity, but a deeply satisfying umami. A cube of horse mackerel (bonito?) with some sort of aioli or other. Fresh but not particularly memorable.Jazzy interiors: A Fuego Negro
Calle 31 de Agosto, 31
20003 San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa, Spain
Phone:+34 650 13 53 73