Don’t miss Artean Barra Abierta in the Gros district of San Sebastián for a fantastic dining experience with a great vibe from two Peruvian chefs.
They chose a prime spot previously occupied by a cocktail bar in San Sebastián’s hip Gros neighborhood, a short walk from La Zurriola beach and the same from either inlet bridge.
Barely open a year (as of November 2023), the interior, with its vibrantly colored ceiling, wooden paneling, and decorative additions immediately made us feel comfortable. Interesting approach – it’s just 12 seats at the bar where you watch chef Anali Paytan prepare or finish dishes in full view of the customers, while her husband German Berrocal is in the kitchen cooking others. Dishes are impeccably executed with layers of flavors. Only a matter of time until they hit Michelin.
I particularly like their pulling from local sources, including the nice wine list, which I will note also has a few sherry wines. We chose to sip Manzanilla.
Chef Germán Berrocal previously worked with big Spanish names including the Roca brothers at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. And Spain’s Galician marisquerías (seafood restaurant masters) taught him the intricacies of preparing seafood, while traveling extensively expanded his culinary techniques and flavor repertoire.
Chef Anali Paytan, his partner, came to San Sebastián to study culinary arts at the Basque Culinary Center in 2014. She traveled in Spain before opening Artean Barra Abierta with Berrocal.
On a recent evening when wanting a lighter meal, we chose from their Sampling Menu versus the Tasting Menu, the latter includes seven set items where you choose from two main dishes.
After an amuse-bouche, we started with the best anchovies we’ve ever had (made in house, served on a toastie with smoked butter, and nothing like those salty from a can). In fact, I challenge those who dislike anchovies to try this starter!
The ceviche of Dorade came beautifully plated around a savory sauce with a citrusy taste and several taste components added including pieces of choclo, a Peruvian corn and black sesame powder.
In-season boletus mushrooms were served over a velvety thin layer of mashed potatoes topped with a handful of savory items.
And the chocolate hazelnut dessert with a quenelle of hazelnut cinnamon ice cream served in a cocoa bean shaped ceramic pod… the perfect amount of richness and flavor to end our meal.
The menu changes daily depending on the fish catch of the day and seasonal food items.
This bar is definitely open, or as they say in Spain, barra abierta! Reservations are highly recommended, which you can make from their website.
San Sebastián is roughly a 2.5-hour drive, and a 3-hour train ride from Bordeaux. If you take the train, you easily change to the Spanish Euskotren in Hendaye (it’s in the plaza outside the train station about a 30-meter walk).
Artean Barra Abierto – Address: Paseo Colón 11 · Donostia · San Sebastián