Arzak is Resting on Past Laurels

Arzak's red space egg

Arzak, one of San Sebastian's leading restaurants, doesn't seem as novel as it once must have been. Indeed I couldn't shake the sense that the restaurant is resting on its past laurels and coupled with patchy service for a Michelin 3-Star restaurant, our experience was disappointing. I'm hoping that perhaps we got them on a bad day but I don't think the dishes were memorable enough to warrant trying them again. Especially when there are so many other good restaurants in San...

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Asador Etxebarri – Ultimate Grilling

Etxebarri's grilled prawns

This has got to be one of the most fulfilling restaurants in the world. Humankind discovered fire for this reason - to cook meat, and no one does it better than Etxebarri. The freshest produce supplied by nearby farms and fishermen are grilled just right, and without a lot of dressing so that the natural taste of the food comes through. From fish to steak, even cheese, every course was pure joy.

Located midway between Bilbao and San Sebastian, Etxebarri is worth the taxi ride...

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Barcelona’s Bodega 1900 – Good Tapas, Just Doesn’t Stand Out

El Bulli olives

Bodega 1900, a casual tapas eatery by the Adria brothers (of El Bulli) in Barcelona provides good quality tapas while showcasing vermouth. The challenge for this place is that there are a large number of great tapas places in Barcelona and I don't think Bodega 1900 stands out. So while I enjoyed the food, I had more more fun elsewhere and I guess I should just try harder next trip to get into the Adria brothers' other eatery, Tickets.

Part of the reason I think Bodega 1900 was...

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Barcelona’s Xiringito Escriba – Surf, Sand and Good Paella

Barcelona paella

If you're looking for good traditional paella in Barcelona, then Xiringito Escriba is it.  Situated on the beach north of Port Olimpic, this was definitely a place to come for gazing and grazing. Nothing beats looking out at the sea while tucking into some fresh seafood.

We came here for lunch on a Saturday, which was all the more fun because this beach side eatery was filled with locals out to enjoy the weekend. The paella was definitely the most popular item here and you can...

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Bar Canete – No Fuss, Just Fun and Good Tapas

Barcelona tapas

If you want a simple meal in Barcelona that lifts your spirit, Bar Canete is a great place to go. This is a buzzy tapas bar that has no gimmicks - just good food, drinks and a fun atmosphere helped by an enthusiastic team. In a nutshell, it's the ideal spot to come after a long day walking around.

We had a great time here, helped in large part by a our waiter David - great smile and jovial - reminding me a bit of Robin Williams. He makes good gin & tonics as...

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