Eating in Paris and San Sebastian

I had some really great food on my recent trip to Paris and San Sebastián with my friend Simone. Here are my top 10.

1. Tomatoes & Steak at Bar Nestor, San Sebastian.

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Pick your steak! Average size is .75 Kilos or 1.65lbs.
Bar Nestor is known for three things – Steak, tomatoes and Padron Peppers.  First you get to choose which steak you want. Big? Little? Fatty? Fattier?

Steak - post grilling.
Steak – post grilling
The steak comes out on a sizzling cast iron plate, perfect for cooking your steak longer if wanted. It is crispy, salted and perfectly cooked.

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I know. It looks like just a regular tomato salad. I assure you, it is not.
The tomato salad is really fantastic. It looks so simple yet it is divine. Very firm tomatoes, sliced, salted and dripping in olive oil. This lovely meal plus some Padron Peppers and 5 glasses of wine put us back 49 Euros.

2. Burratta at PastaVino, Latin Quarter,  Paris

IMG_0923In this unassuming Italian deli in the heart of the Latin Quarter lives a little spiral staircase that leads to a wonderful little restaurant.

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We ordered a little champagne cocktail, and it was quite lovely.

Then out comes our first course, the Burratta. It gave us goosebumps it was so good.

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3. Grilled Octopus at Frenchie Wine Bar in Paris

Frenchie Wine Bar actually had two of my top 10. This beautiful dish was bright, fun to eat and perfectly balanced. Grilled Octopus, over black rice, with citrus mayo and sliced kumquats. The citrus mayo was addictive and made the Octopus pop.

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Get there at 6:45pm to secure a spot. The “real” Frenchie’s restaurant requires a reservation several months out.

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The very cute wine bar.

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The very cozy open kitchen that our table looked onto.

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Complex, perfectly done and delicious.
4. Green Caviar at Restaurant Casa Urola, San Sebastian

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While the rest of our meal at Casa Urola didn’t even come close to making this list, I have to put this little delicious bite on this list. Green Caviar is a pea called guisante lágrima that is grown at a farm just 30 minutes from San Sebastian, Aroa. These are only available for a few weeks a year and are hand shelled. It takes 20 pounds of peas to make one pound of the peas, which is why they sell for about $350/lb. They are served fresh only. At Casa Urola, they served it with a bone broth and it was very satisfying. The peas brightly popped in your mouth just like caviar. 

5.  Pappardelle Lamb Ragu, Frenchie Wine Bar

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Served with greek feta cheese and kalamata olives. What else can I say?

6. Seared Foie Gras, La Cuchara de San Telmo, San Sebastian

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With Orange Honey and Antigua mustard, this Foie was melt in your mouth, sweet caramel. Oh and this little chunk of Foie was only 3.90 euro. Did I mention that I love San Sebastian/Donastia?

7. Ravioli Brandada de Bacalao, La Cuchara San Telmo

San Telmo had two of our favorite dishes, and we only tried two. I wish I could have eaten here all night, but we had dinner reservations. These were just our little appetizers before dinner:)

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A little ravioli with salted cod, black vinegar and tomato confit.

8. Risotto with Idiazabal Cheese and Mushrooms, Gandarias, San Sebastian

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This little bite of heaven came from our favorite Pintxos place, Gandarias. We had several great items there, including amazing wine, steak and  more. But this stole the cake. It had pureed mushrooms on the bottom. So delicious and creamy. It was 2.45 Euro. Seriously.

9. Mushroom Plate, Ganbara, San Sebastian

IMG_1737Ganbara is best known for their mushrooms. While we enjoyed several other items at this lovely Pintxo Bar, their mushrooms rep was well deserved. Porcini, Chantrelle and some other type of mushroom. The egg yolk in the middle was slightly cooked and was a perfect dipping sauce for these perfectly done mushrooms.

10. Cheesecake and Sherry at La Vina Restaurant, San Sebastian

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I actually forgot to take a picture of this amazing combo, so I had to borrow this image from elsewhere on the interwebs. This cheesecake was unlike regular cheesecake. It wasn’t very sweet and it wasn’t dense. It was delightful, especially when paired with a huge glass of sherry.

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