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Post Xmas on the way to San Sebastian


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My wife and I are meeting friends in San Sebastian for New Years. We'll be flying into Bordeaux on the evening of the 27th December (a Monday) and then driving down to San Sebastian on Tuesday. We're finding a lot of the good places - Relais de la Poste & Michel Guerard are frustratingly closed during that time.

Would any fellow knowledgeable people have any suggestions on where else we should be trying that will be open around that time? Dinner in Bordeaux and then a nice leisurely lunch down south the next day?

thank you



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"We're finding a lot of the good places - Relais de la Poste & Michel Guerard are frustratingly closed during that time. "

Unfortunately many other restaurants will be closed then.

My fave restos in the French Basque country - on or near the coast between Bordeaux and San Sé - are:

1. Kaiku in Saint Jean de Luz,

2. Hotel Arraya in the village of Sare

3. Olhabidea right outside Sare

4. Chez Margot in lovely Socoa in the seaside village of Ciboure, next to St Jean de Luz.

2 and 3 are owned and run by the chef-hotelier Fagoaga family.

3 is one of my fave restos in France. It is a beautiful restaurant-b&b with only abot 3 rooms. Locals reserve months in advance.

2 being a hotel - a beautiful hotel in a beautiful village - has more of a chance of keeping its resto open for that period.

4 is a more casual resto serving good food in a beautiful spot by the sea, also popular with locals, unlike the other, more tourist-oriented seaside bistros in Socoa.

I do not know their opening days/hours for that period.

Lastly, are you sure you want to drive all the way to San Sé?

The city has excellent public transport and horrible traffic. Often we see cars inching along - and I mean inching - in a ring around public parking lots, waiting for a spot. Besides car rental with a dropoff in a differnet country from your originating country is prohibitive. What I did was to rent a car for the French side, then we turned it in in Hendaye and take the direct, efficient, short train-ride (Euskotren) to San Sé.

Edited by Parigi (log)
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You could try Chez Ruffet in Jurancon just outside Pau. ( http://www.restaurant-chezruffet.com/)

Not sure if they're open or not, but if they are you'll have a memorable meal. Their 2 Michelin stars are well deserved. Not only is the food as good as one would expect, but the ambiance is great; very relaxed, friendly, yet top class service. Put yourself in the hands of their sommelier, he's excellent and won't kill your budget. Ask him for wines from the region. You won't go wrong with a top Madiran or a Jurancon for that matter.

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thank you for the suggestions. Very helpful.

Chez Ruffet & Chez Margot both look a possibility, with the others appearing closed for the season.

I'm also open to suggestions with a place to stay/eat around Bordeaux on Monday 27th

Clearly timing is not on my side and it means we'll need to forget the michelin stars and go where the locals go. No bad thing and probably more memorable.

Thanks Parigi for the suggestion regarding transport. I did check out both options in terms of car & train and with the Australian Dollar (where I currently reside) being so strong, hiring a car is not so uneconomical.


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If I had one night in Bordeaux, and I wish I did, the choice would be between the tradition of La Tupina or the more modern approach of La Cape.

La Cape is across the river in Cenon and the easiest way to get there is on the tram, Line A. Get off at La Morlette, turn right (90 degrees) to the direction of the tram and cut through an unlikely gap by the side of a service station and a supermarket. This brings you out directly opposite the restaurant. If I went to La Cape I would not be able to get past the degustation menu with the selected wines at (I think) 85€.

Trouble is I would probably be weak and opt for the fireside cooking of La Tupina and, try as I might to go for the pork or the beef,

I would probably fixate on the poulet roti turning on the spit over the fire.


Chef Jean-Pierre Xiradakis doing his thing for the television cameras


I would also find time to scour the cookery section of Mollat, one of the great independent bookshops.

Mick Hartley

The PArtisan Baker


"I can give you more pep than that store bought yeast" - Evolution Mama (don't you make a monkey out of me)

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  • 3 weeks later...


Tupina is on the cards. But I have read mixed reviews (I think Andy Hayler, hammered it). I also came across Claude Darozze in Langon. Any recent reports?

Also a turn up for the books is that Michel Guerard @ Eugénie-les-Bains is opening on the 28th, so I've booked a table there for lunch. It seems odd that he appears not to get much press or comment, despite holding 3 michelin stars for many years and being a greater innovator in food. Any must try dishes?

Am very much looking forward to my trip. Will report back when dined there.



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