Ganbara – San Sebastian, Spain

Ganbara is a tapas bar upstairs, and downstairs a cozy but bare-bones sitdown dining room serving some of San Sebastian’s most unassumingly delicious seafood.

Each dish is rarely more than a plate of whatever we ordered, minimally prepared, but showcased how unadulterated and fresh the local catch was.  First, this batch of fritters, the gelatinous goodness of some indeterminate fish – this was a teaser courtesy of the restaurant.  Maybe some piece of the belly, or somewhere near a fin or collar.

House of Haos Ganbara St Sebastian Basque Country Spain Fried Fish AioliThese head-on shrimp, seasoned with nothing but rock salt, lightly grilled, the head juices perfectly reduced to a sunrise orange and intensely savory, the flesh light and juicy.

House of Haos Ganbara St Sebastian Basque Country Spain Grilled ShrimpCharcoal-grilled wild turbot.  Don’t mind the mess of flattened fish and crinkled brown skin, the staff takes care of deboning the fish, but the skin is a creamy sheet of umami (to the extent that you can handle the fat). House of Haos Ganbara St Sebastian Basque Country Spain Charcoal-Grilled Wild Turbot

The fattiness of the fish works its way into the potatoes and carrots that come alongside, and the meat is rich and tender.  The short rib of fish, if you will, a luxurious flakiness that also speaks to how fresh the catch must be. House of Haos Ganbara St Sebastian Basque Country Spain Charcoal-Grilled Wild Turbot 2 House of Haos Ganbara Tapas St Sebastian Basque Country Spain Wild Turbot Plate And for dessert, a hot syrupy mess of cooked strawberries with black peppercorns, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Simple preparation but complex flavor, the heat and the mellow punch of pepper balanced out the bold tartness and sweetness, and the ice cream countered the acidity and the temperature.  A phenomenal finish to a virtuosic meal built on a nuanced, understated romancing of incredibly fresh ingredients.House of Haos Ganbara St Sebastian Basque Country Spain Strawberries Black Pepper Vanilla Ice CreamGanbara
San Jeronimo Kalea, 19
20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
(map)

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