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Daniel

San Sebastian, March 2008

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sorry to perhaps go astray from the current mugaritz v. mb trend as of late...

will be in bilbao/san sebastian next week and doing some last minute planning.

a few questions:

car or no car? i think we will opt for public transit unless we decide on a day trip to the countryside (i.e. biarritz, or to vineyards), as our trip is short - less than a week. also, necessary to have an intl driver's license? i hear it's cheaper to elect to drive a manual car,....

any highly recommended vineyards ( i did see the above posts about one in rioja) that offer tours/restaurants/possibly accomodations?

would be interested int eh same for cheese (i also saw a reference to the town of idiazabal).

ive seen some interesting things online about "agriturismo"....offering lodging in more rural areas for a more 'basque country house' experience.. has anyone done this? any must see destinations outside of ss/bilbao that would require the use of a car and/or reservations/planning?

thanks so much and this thread has been a wonderful resource and source of inspiration for our trip!

I was in Bilbao and San Sebastian in August. Public transportation is quite well organized - buses between San Serbastian and Bilbao depart every hour or so, it's also very easy to get to major towns like Victoria, Pamplona, Biarrtiz, etc. However, if you wanna tour the countryside and the little villages (and you should, it's a nice ride) I would recommend a car. You can go to the Tourist Information Office in Bilbao, they should be able to give you all sorts of information and help you with reservations. Also, the hotel staff was very helpful, especially with restaurant reservations. Hope that helps

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sorry to perhaps go astray from the current mugaritz v. mb trend as of late...

car or no car? i think we will opt for public transit unless we decide on a day trip to the countryside (i.e. biarritz, or to vineyards), as our trip is short - less than a week.

On our last trip we used public transport, the train between Biaritz and SS is quite quick (no more than an hour), and I think the train to Bilbao is equally good. We got a taxi to Mugaritz which wasn't that expensive. On previous trips we had our car with us and didn't really use it - far to much eating and drinking to be done in the towns of Bilbao, SS and Biarritz (and a few good galleries...!).

Is the SS region good for vineyards or do you need to head over the hills to Haro and the Rioja region? If you do you will need a car.

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Hi all, I will be heading over to San Sebastian in August for the first time and I really want to try either Arzak or Mugaritz (Its one or the other), I was pretty much set on Arzak before I started doing research and found some very mixed reviews. Mugaritz, on the other hand, seemed to be more positive on the whole, even though there were still mixed reviews. I just have a couple of questions

1) Is it hard to get a reservation at Mugaritz? Assuming I have a party of four, how far in advance should I try to make a reservation?

2) Can someone clarify the menu for me? From my understanding there are 2 prix fixe menus, SUSTRAIAK and NATURAN, both consist of four main dishes, and I assume there will be several amuses?

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Hi all, I will be heading over to San Sebastian in August for the first time and I really want to try either Arzak or Mugaritz (Its one or the other), I was pretty much set on Arzak before I started doing research and found some very mixed reviews. Mugaritz, on the other hand,  seemed to be more positive on the whole, even though there were still mixed reviews. I just have a couple of questions

1) Is it hard to get a reservation at Mugaritz? Assuming I have a party of four, how far in advance should I try to make a reservation?

2) Can someone clarify the menu for me? From my understanding there are 2 prix fixe menus, SUSTRAIAK and NATURAN, both consist of four main dishes, and I assume there will be several amuses?

We last visited in August and booked about a month ahead for lunch, there seemed to be some spare tables so lunch bookings may not be that tricky - can't comment on diner.

On both my visits we had the Naturan with an added cheese course. As you can see from the photos on my previous post this has about 14 courses including the amuse.

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I would appreciate it if someone were to give me a break down or comparison between these two places..  If you had to go to one, which would it be and why?

Thanks.

I will be staying in Bilbao in August and hope to visit one of Arzak - Akalare - Mugaritz. If you had one chance where would you pick? Athe moment I am favouring Mugaritz but would have selected Arzak then Akalare prior to my recent research. Please share your views.

Thanks,

Martin


Martin

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Check if the restaurants are open during August. I doubt it since August is the month when Europe shuts down.

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We're going in September, and after much deliberation are hitting Akelare and Mugaritz, both for lunches. And then Extebarri the day after those on the way to Bilbao. I'm honestly most excited about Extebarri, then Mugaritz, then Akelarre. It was a close call between Arzak and Akelarre, but I've read A LOT of negative comments on various boards (here and elsewhere) that made me cross Arzak off. Could be a mistake, but c'est la vie. Also looking forward to pintxos hopping just as much.

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Check if the restaurants are open during August.  I doubt it since August is the month when Europe shuts down.

Is that a correct statement?

I know Paris closes for August as everyone heads out of town, but the out of town restaurants are open in order to receive all those Parisians. I can recall this being the same issue in other European countries. I was in SS last August and it was open for business, in-fact a week in early August is the International Fireworks festival (which is spectacular) and the place is packed, and all restaurants doing great business (including Mugaritz)

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I was wrong. I just checked and both Mugaritz and Arzak are open in August.

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I decided on Mugaritz and have just got a confirmation. I have also picked the Guggnehiem for lunch (cant resist a bargain). Its all taking shape!

Slightly off topic - i like the sound of the fireworks - any more info about time / location etc please Phild.

Cheers

Martin


Martin

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Mugaritz, Arzak, then el bulli in August. Cant wait

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I decided on Mugaritz and have just got a confirmation.  I have also picked the Guggnehiem for lunch (cant resist a bargain).  Its all taking shape!

Slightly off topic - i like the sound of the fireworks - any more info about time / location etc please Phild.

Cheers

Martin

I believe the week is called "Semana Grande" (Big Week?) and not only has the International Fireworks competition but lots of other cultural events. The city is very busy and the restaurants do a great trade. Here is a URL that has some info: http://www.donostia.org/info/ciudadano/fes...cat=Otros&doc=D. It is the " 45 CONCURSO-FESTIVAL INTERNACIONAL DE FUEGOS ARTIFICIALES" which kicks off on 9th August at 22:45, and finishes on the 16th August with the final display at 22:45. The site lists all the events each day.

The city is very busy and the restaurants do a great trade, this may make it more difficult to get into some of the tapas bars, and I assume opening hours will be more variable. Have fun.

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