THE PEOPLE OF NORTHWEST SPAIN ARE PROUD TO BE DIFFERENT FROM THE REST OF THE COUNTRY – AND IT SHOWS IN THEIR FOOD
San Sebastian in Spain has the most Michelin stars per capita in the world.
from the train station to the centre of San Sebastian, I’m reminded of a quote widely, but incorrectly, attributed to Mark Twain: “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” It’s not known who actually said this, but I know what they mean. Though it’s only three weeks shy of the European summer, a street temperature gauge reads 12C; with the breeze blowing in off the Atlantic, it feels more like two.
San Sebastian is the premier surf destination on Spain’s northwest coast, but with the beach not much of an option right now it’s a good thing the place is equally famous for something else. Boasting the largest number of Michelin stars per capita of any city (13, shared by six restaurants) and a unique bar-dining culture, San Sebastian is true Spanish foodie heaven.
I meet up with guide Cristina Konyay for the best kind of city tour: a few sights, some chat about culture and history, and several tavern stops. As capital of the Basque region of Spain, San Sebastian (“Donostia” in the Basque language Euskara) is the spiritual home of the pintxo – similar in concept to tapas, but bigger and more lavishly creative.
Eating lunch by the beach at San Sebastian.