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Culinary adventure in San Sebastian Spain

I am an avowed food fanatic, and have followed a restaurant review all over the world to eat there. I was, however, unprepared for the restaurant we stumbled into in San Sebastian. It had been recommended to us for lunch by American friends as a "fabulous meal", which is somewhat short of our dining experience there for dinner. The restaurant itself is lovely, small and elegant, the service was absolutely impeccable, but the food coming out of the kitchen was executed with such finesse, it is very hard to describe.

Without a doubt, visitors should do the chef's tasting menu. Each plate coming out of the kitchen was a work of art itself, with beautiful food styling. The proof, however, was in the tasting-this is absolutely beautiful food, and one bite let me know I was in the presence of a master. Subsequently, I found out this is a Michelin 3 star restaurant. The dining experience for us at Arzac was just absolutely wonderful. I went to bed thinking about each plate, and woke up the next morning again reliving each and every course.

The chef's daughter, Elena, following in her father's footsteps in the kitchen, speaks English, as does one other person in the restaurant. You will need their help to order food unless you can navigate a menu like this in Basque or Spanish. Be sure to make reservations for dinner-we were quite lucky to get in due to a cancellation the day we called. Nine to 9:30 is probably an optimal time-the Spanish do eat very late, but it is a 3 hour meal. Our reservations were for 9 PM, very early for Spain, but the restaurant, at least certainly the downstairs where we were, was filled by 9:30 or so.

The 6 course chef's tasting is somewhat unusual in the restaurant in that you can order anything off the menu, plus whatever else they can recite to you that is being done that day; it all just comes in small portions. Oh, by the way, don't choose your own dessert-ask them to do it for you. Instead of one dessert for each of us, they sent a total of 6-a mini-chef's dessert tasting to end the meal.

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City: San Sebastian
Added: October 24th 2003
Reviewer: Laretha Randolph
Hits: 2993

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