The Hungry Tourist is

delighted to present A NEW AND IMPROVED:

Best of San Sebastian & Basque Country Food

with Gabriella Ranelli

April 16 – 21, 2024

At A Glance


Regions and cities explored: Bilbao, Atxpe, San Sebastian, Getaria, Tolosa, Spain.

Length: 5  days

Date: April 16th to 21st, 2024

Availability: Limited to 12 guests

❀    A true one-of-a-kind opportunity for an insider Basque Country 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.

the itinerary

Day 1 – Tuesday, April 16
Asador Etxebarri – 1 Michelin star

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.

Bilbao Pintxos Crawl

Bilbao’s pintxos scene is a vibrant tapestry of Basque culinary tradition and innovation. Here, bars and eateries serve an array of bite-sized delights, ranging from classic anchovy skewers to modern gastronomic creations.

This social dining tradition invites locals and visitors alike to hop from bar to bar, savoring the rich flavors and diverse offerings that embody the city’s dynamic food culture.

Day 2 – Wednesday, April 17
Museo Guggenheim Bilbao

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a marvel of contemporary architecture, renowned worldwide for its innovative design and impactful presence. Designed by the Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, it was inaugurated in 1997 and quickly symbolized the city’s revitalization efforts.

The museum’s structure is a striking blend of curved forms, titanium cladding, and glass, creating an ever-changing play of light and reflection that mesmerizes visitors. It houses a diverse collection of modern and contemporary art featuring works by prominent artists across various mediums.

The Guggenheim Bilbao is not just a museum; it’s an architectural landmark that has contributed significantly to the cultural and economic transformation of Bilbao, making it a must-visit destination for art and architecture enthusiasts around the globe.

Azurmendi – 3 Michelin stars

Eneko Atxa’s Azurmendi, nestled in the scenic hills of Larrabetzu, near Bilbao, Spain, is a culinary destination that has garnered widespread acclaim, including the prestigious distinction of three Michelin stars.

Opened in 2005, Azurmendi is celebrated not only for its exceptional Basque cuisine but also for its commitment to sustainability and innovation.

The restaurant’s design complements its philosophy, featuring a bioclimatic structure that integrates seamlessly with the surrounding environment. Atxa’s approach to gastronomy is both modern and rooted in tradition, offering guests an immersive dining experience that begins with a welcome picnic in the greenhouse and unfolds through a series of meticulously crafted, seasonal dishes that highlight local ingredients and culinary techniques.

Azurmendi stands as a testament to Atxa’s vision of combining gastronomic excellence with environmental stewardship.

San Sebastian Pintxos Crawl

A crawl between San Sebastian’s best Pintxos bars

Pintxos, the Basque region’s version of tapas, are small, savory dishes served atop slices of bread, showcasing a variety of local flavors and ingredients. San Sebastián, known for its dense concentration of bars and Michelin-starred restaurants, is the perfect backdrop for this gastronomic adventure. Visitors meander from one bar to another, each with its unique specialties, from traditional bites like txistorra (a local sausage) and anchovies to innovative creations featuring avant-garde techniques.

The vibrant atmosphere, combined with the exquisite tastes of pintxos, makes for a delightful experience that encapsulates the spirit of Basque culinary excellence and community.

Day 3 – Thursday, April 18
Ibai 2.0

Nothing really can excite us more than to be the first to test/taste Ibai 2.0 led by Michelin starred Chef Paulo Airaudo

Airaudo, celebrated for his innovative culinary approach at Amelia Restaurant, embarked on a new venture by reopening Ibai in San Sebastián. This initiative marked a significant moment in the city’s gastronomic landscape, as Ibai had been a beloved institution known for its dedication to traditional Basque cuisine.

Airaudo’s vision for Ibai involves blending its rich heritage with his flair for contemporary innovation, promising a unique dining experience. By reimagining classic dishes with modern techniques and global influences, Airaudo aims to honor the legacy of Ibai while introducing a fresh culinary narrative.

This venture reflects Airaudo’s commitment to elevating San Sebastián’s dining scene and his respect for its culinary traditions.


Casa Urola

Where all San Sebastian chefs end their day..

Casa Urola, a culinary gem in the heart of San Sebastián’s Old Town, has been delighting patrons since its establishment in 1956. Under the guidance of Chef Pablo Loureiro, the restaurant has experienced a renaissance, blending traditional Basque cooking with modern sensibilities.

Chef Loureiro, known for his deep respect for local ingredients and seasonal produce, crafts dishes that are both rooted in tradition and innovative in execution. Casa Urola’s menu features exquisite pintxos, fresh seafood, and succulent meats, all showcasing the richness of the region’s culinary heritage.

The warm, inviting atmosphere, combined with Loureiro’s culinary expertise, makes Casa Urola a must-visit for those seeking an authentic Basque dining experience.

Day 4 – Friday, April 19
Elkano – 1 Michelin star

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.

Antonio Bar

Bar Antonio, nestled in the vibrant heart of San Sebastián, stands as a testament to the enduring charm and culinary excellence of Basque pintxos culture. Known for its warm ambiance and friendly service, this beloved establishment offers a delectable array of traditional and innovative pintxos.

Each bite-sized creation is a work of art, meticulously prepared to showcase the finest local ingredients and flavors. From succulent seafood to richly flavored meats, Bar Antonio’s menu caters to a diverse palate, ensuring every visitor experiences the essence of San Sebastián’s gastronomic heritage.

A visit to Bar Antonio is a journey through the flavors that define this iconic culinary destination.

Day 5 – Saturday, April 20
Alameda – 1 Michelin star

Alameda, a Michelin-starred gem located in the picturesque town of Fuenterrabía, near San Sebastián, epitomizes the exquisite blend of tradition and innovation that characterizes Basque culinary art.

The restaurant, run by the Txapartegi brothers, has earned acclaim for its refined approach to regional cuisine, presenting dishes that are both rooted in local traditions and elevated by modern techniques.

Alameda’s menu features seasonal ingredients sourced from the surrounding land and sea, highlighting the natural bounty of the Basque Country. The intimate and elegant setting of the restaurant complements the exceptional dining experience, making Alameda a must-visit destination for food enthusiasts exploring the San Sebastián area.

Casa Julian

Casa Julián in Tolosa is renowned for its mastery in preparing one of the Basque Country’s most celebrated dishes: the steak. This historic establishment, dating back to the 1940s, has perfected the art of grilling meat over oak coals, offering patrons a sublime taste of simplicity and tradition.

The focus here is on the quality of the ingredients, with thick-cut steaks sourced from select aged beef, seasoned only with salt, and cooked to perfection to enhance their natural flavors.

The rustic ambiance, complete with wooden beams and an open grill, invites diners into a warm, authentic experience. Casa Julián embodies the essence of Basque culinary heritage, making it a pilgrimage site for steak aficionados.


Hotel Gran Domine Bilbao

The Gran Hotel Domine is located in the city’s most desired location, directly opposite Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

With 145 air-conditioned and soundproofed rooms and suites, some with views of the Guggenheim, guests can enjoy a relaxing stay in the heart of Bilbao. Rooms feature en-suite bathrooms with bathtubs, bathrobe and slippers, free WiFi, USB connection and a 40″ flat-screen TV with international satellite channels and HDMI.

Breakfast is served on the roof terrace with spectacular views over the museum and the River Nervion. Guests can also sample different dining options at Le Café restaurant or at the stylish Sixty-One Lobby Bar.

maria cristina hotel

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.

Gabriella Ranelli

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.

The Essentials

Check-in (Hotel Gran Domine Bilbao): Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Check-out (Maria Cristina Hotel): Sunday, April 21, 2024

First meal: Lunch on Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Last meal: Dinner on Saturday, April 20, 2024

Full timetable of meals and activities will be emailed to participants ahead of the tour.

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 that San Sebastian has to offer. Guests may order outside of these menus at their own expense.


Tour Fees

Per person, shared room: EUR 5650

Single occupancy supplement: EUR 1150

Price includes all food, beverages,  taxes, service charges, transportation, and five nights of accommodation.

Price does not include airfare to Bilbao or from San Sebastian, or any travel or medical insurance.

Extra nights before or after the tour can be booked in advance at a special rate.


A non-refundable deposit of EUR 1,500 per person will be charged upon reservation.

The balance must be paid no later than 60 days before the first day of the tour.

Payments are preferred by bank transfer. Payments with Credit Cards 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.

Apply to Join The Tour


his 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.


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 tour in San Sebastian organized by David is the one you must put on your top list if you are a foodie like me.

In 4 days, you experience the best food and service you can imagine. Exceptional products are sublimated by very talented and down-to-earth chefs.

Gabriella Ranelli surrounds the tour with her huge food knowledge, stories, and anecdotes. It’s a great addition to an already unforgettable experience.


The full testimonials can be found here