It is beautiful and quite unique to watch a father and daughter complicity in a kitchen.
Situated at the top of a hill in San Sebastián, this restaurant has been in the Arzak family for generations. It was charismatic chef Juan Mari, now 76 years old, who revived the menu to make it what it is today after stints working with Paul Bocuse and Pierre Troisgros. As the creator of the New Basque Cuisine, the culinary concept born in the 1970s, he was the second chef in Spain to receive three Michelin stars.
In the main dining room, which has impressions of forks and spoons on the walls and tables dressed in white linen, diners receive the warmest welcome from the venerable chef while his talented daughter Elena runs daily operations.
Father and daughter create stunning dishes, which are avant-garde yet rooted in Basque traditions, such as sardines paired with strawberries, lobster with citrus and hemp mustard, and sea bass served on top of a tablet computer with moving images of the sea.
A special feature of many of the dishes is the crunchy element: for example, Big Chocolate Truffle with candyfloss, cacao and chocolate.
Upstairs, those with curious minds will discover a tiny second kitchen, which is the restaurant’s research lab, and a room containing a library of 1,400 spices and other ingredients, such as Vietnamese green rice, dry seaweeds and vanilla-scented tonka beans.
Avenida Alcalde Elósegui 273, 20015 Donostia, San Sebastián