The Hungry Tourist is delighted to present:
San Sebastian Food Tour
Regions explored: Basque Country, San Sebastian
Length: 4 days
Date: October 24th to 28th, 2023
Availability: Limited to 12 guests
❀ A true one-of-a-kind opportunity for an insider San Sebastián culinary experience.
❀ Access to award-winning, difficult-to-book restaurants in the Culinary Capital of Europe.
❀ Spend time in the intimate company of interesting and like-minded people from all over the world.
❀ A journey through hidden gems guided by one of the world’s 10 best culinary guides.
Here’s a tiny taste of what you can expect to experience on our Best of San Sebastian tour.
Asador Etxebarri nestled deep in the Urkiola mountains of Vizcaya is surrounded by green fields and craggy peaks. The entrance takes you through a simple village bar. Once upstairs, though, you are transported to another world, a space at once refined and rustic.
Chef Bittor Arginzoniz dominates that most primal, most basic, most ancient element of fire which he applies with a delicate touch to the best raw ingredients. Using a deceptively simple technique, he elevates them as close as possible to their Platonic ideal.
Bittor and his staff plan to create an unforgettable meal for us on the cusp of spring when some of his favorite ingredients will be at their height. In 2018 Etxebarri will be reducing it’s capacity to half (barely 20 guests a day). We are one of the few groups allowed.
Elkano is a classic restaurant, a cozy restaurant, a Basque restaurant. Its fish and seafood are peerless. The setting and service are warm, refined, and unfussy. Owner Aitor Arregi expects rodaballo (turbot) to be at its height during our visit. His father was the pioneer in grilling turbot whole over chestnut coals.
The crispy skin, the delicate buttery flesh, the crunchy fins, the squishy bits around the head: all are meant to be eaten in turn, and Aitor will come to the table to give us directions and advice; it’s almost like a piscine anatomy lesson. In a long lineup of Basque grill experts, Elkano is a leader of the pack.
The real action in San Sebastián starts at nightfall when the international crowd of foodies mingles with the local and hops from one pintxos bar to another to try their best creations with a glass of Txakoli, cider or beer.
Gabriella Ranelli de Aguirre is a leading expert and longtime foreign observer of Spanish and Basque cuisine and culture. A native New Yorker, Gabriella has called San Sebastian home since the 1980s, and working closely with local chefs has seen the evolution of Basque cuisine throughout its most formative decades.
She founded Tenedor Tours in 1997 as the first food & wine travel company in the Basque Country and holds a Master’s in Viticulture and Oenology.
Gabriella has appeared and collaborated on food and travel programs for the BBC, PBS, CNN, Al-Jazeera, and on Spanish and Basque television. The Wall Street Journal named her as one of the world’s top 10 food guides.
Gabriella will be our specialized guide-on-the-ground during our time in the Basque Country, taking us on a journey from A to Z in Basque grilling techniques through classic Basque bars, and up to the (Michelin) stars.
Since opening in 1912, the restored Hotel Maria Cristina has been closely linked to the history and cultural life of San Sebastian and . the favored accommodation for international high society and movie stars like Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, Woody Allen, Julia Roberts, Richard Gere, Brad Pitt and Susan Sarandon.
Decorated in a sophisticated palette of greys and white, the rooms are a quiet haven of luxury, style, technology and a dazzling range of services which, combined, make for an unforgettable stay.
Itinerary and Hotels
Maria Cristina Hotel: From Oct 24 to 28, 2023
Kick-off meal: Lunch at Etxebarri at 13:00 on Oct 26
Last meal: Dinner on Oct 27
Price includes all food, beverages, taxes, service charges, domestic transportation, and 4 nights of accommodation.
Price does not include airfare and any travel or medical insurance.
Extra nights: in Maria Cristina Hotel before or after the tour can be booked in advance at special rates.
A Note on Set Menus
The menus offered during the tour are selected by The Hungry Tourist with the help of our local partners. We believe they represent the best culinary fare the Basque Country has to offer. Guests may order outside of these menus at their own expense.
A non-refundable deposit of Euro 1500 per person will be charged upon reservation.
The balance must be paid no later than 60 days prior to the first day of the tour.
Payments are preferred by bank transfer. Payments with Credit Card will incur a 4% supplement.
Cancellation Policy and Penalties
If cancellation is received up to 30 days before the first day of the tour, the deposit will be forfeited.
If cancellation is received up to 10 days before the first day of the tour, a penalty fee of 50% of the remaining balance will be charged. If a cancellation notice is received within 10 days of the first day of the tour or the guest is a no-show, the entirety of the remaining balance will be charged.
Joined THT San Sebastián tour and it is a must-do experience for food lovers!
David is warm and welcoming, and super happy to be hanging out and eating with others who love food as much as him. Gabriella, our local guide, also elevated the experience – sharing the history of the region, the people, food, and culture and giving us insider access to the chefs, which was amazing.
It was great to interact with the chefs directly for some of the spots and see the action behind the scenes. Every restaurant was very happy and excited to host both David and Gabriella, which made our group feel right at home – as if we were at a friend’s place dining and chatting.
The food and wine were endless and delicious and the menus were very thoughtfully curated for the group. The planning and logistics were perfectly done as well, and we easily got from place to place – very much on time and also with time for us to explore on our own in between (with great local recommendations from both David and Gabriella).
Lastly, it is amazing how people from all over the world from such different backgrounds can be brought together by David and bond over the common love of amazing food. You’ll leave not only having had the best meals of your life but also with connections around the world!
This was my second THT experience in San Sebastián and I’ll start from the end: I would definitely do it again.
Gabriela is a walking encyclopedia who truly enjoys what she does. David has done these who knows how many times and is like a child in a candy store visiting for the first time.
The other hungry tourists were also troopers who truly enjoy food. The chefs and waiters all connect even more with everyone’s enthusiasm and joy.
You add all that and you have not just a food experience but a life experience.
Sensual, exciting, amazingly tasty.
Great group of foodies with a common passion and a lot of respect for people in general and the group members in particular. Friends who become happy when they meet fresh ingredients, perfect technique and extraordinary creativity on a plate.