Food: quality food with its roots in classical Basque cuisine
Address: Araneder Bidea, Barrio Iturriotz, 20180 Oiartzun, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Phone Number: +34 943 491 228
Guide Michelin: 1 star
What I paid: 358 € (Tasting menu for two persons including water, beer and wine)
Visited: July 8, 2013
Restaurant Zuberoa is located in a 15th century Basque farmhouse in the ancient village Oiartzun about 10 km northeast of San Sebastian (a 15 minutes ride by car. Zuberoa on a large map). The restaurant is in itself very pleasant and familial and hosts a main room, private dining rooms and a terrace (where we ate).
Hilario Arbelaitz is the head chef. Brother Eusebius and his wife Arantxa also work in the restaurant.
Zuberoa describes its dishes as flavorsome and creative using only the very best natural ingredients.
I had more or less already before the visit decided to have the full tasting menu (which I in principal always opt for in this kind of restaurants). When the menu was presented there were however some “specials for the day” meals so we decided to have the tasting menu (priced 125 €/person) but asked if we could substitute two of dishes for the “specials”. That was not a problem and this is what we had:
Amuse-bouche and bread:
Shellfish velouté and sea urchin with fennel flavor:
Roasted Norway lobster, ginger sauce and basil ravioli:
Roasted scallop, truffle sweet onion cream and caramelized endive:
Fresh pork belly, soya’s caramel and lentils cream:
Probably the best pork I ever had!
Poached egg, foie gras pure, green-peas velouté and truffle sauce:
Red mullet and its emulsified juice:
Lamb (this was one of the substitutes in the tasting menu where we instead got this traditional prepared lamb):
It may not look that delicious but this Basque traditional prepaired lamb dish was really good.
Dessert dedicated to the orange:
Very good flavor combinations!
Cheesecake (the second substitute and this dish is also a classical dish of the region):
I am glad we went with this special order as well though it was very tasty!
To summarize: excellent high quality food with its roots in the more traditional Basque cuisine. The service was very friendly and adept. I have been to many of the more famous restaurants in the neighborhood of San Sebastian, for instance Mugaritz, Akelarre, Martin Berasategui and Arzak and I consider Zuberoa second to none of these 3-stars Guide Michelin restaurants (i.e. Mugaritz have “only” two stars which also Zuberoa had until 2009 when it lost one of its two stars). Lessons learned: the stars are not the only guideline to follow…
That said, the other mentioned restaurants may have a more fancy plating and also more complex dishes but when it comes to pure flavors and the quality of the food I consider that Zuberoa with ease matches them all. However, there is no reason to compare them though I like them all and they are also individually very different which I think is fun and also gives me the inspiration to visit them all!