Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Garbola Bar - (San Sebastian, Spain)

 There are bars,  and there are BARS.   Garbola Bar is easily one of the most impressive bars I’ve visited,  the owner and his wife does everything from drinks to food from scratch…  it oozes class!   From course to course,   one can really see the amount of heart put into the slightly retuned recipes of what are common Basque staple food items,  including a few raciones and pintxo dishes,  but minus the toothpicks used as counters of course as that Wikipedia entry on Pintxos is plain wrong or at least very outdated.   The whole meal including drinks were all pretty much done at the highest of standards.   One of the most memorable experiences I remembered having during the past year and that’s including some 1-3 Michelin star meals in the region.    Food is sometimes,  all about finding your compatible style of eating!

IMG_2886-1IMG_2882-1Look at those fresh flowers, mints and watermelon. 
This is what I consider a very serious bar !


Seasonal Daily Specials -
Written in Basque language.  A little unfamiliar by me but hopefully I’ll get around it!


Caipirinha Brazil -
Made by the stylish bar tender and owner.  This was simply amazing.
You can get a Caipirinha virtually everywhere but this was just so balanced..


A lot of Raciones and Pintxo selections -
Not all Pintxos are served on a piece of bread like a ‘montadito’ tapa.  Some carry a thin crisp bread,  some don’t even have one at all.   And there ARE NO TOOTHPICKS ACTING AS DISH COUNTERS EITHER,  much is the same at   Which is contrary to what Wikipedia entries says.   May be I should edit the Wiki 1 day to be more accurate!



Pate Basque -
Pork pate served with some gelatinous jelly.   Utterly amazing in terms of taste and texture.




Next trio of Pintxos -  looking very pretty



Alchoas con Huevo Hilado -
Anchovies with shredded eggs and tomato were served on a thin crisp bread.  Beautiful in look and taste.  


Pintxo de Hongo y Gambas -
The porcini in season were grilled perfectly,  and slightly herbed.  Together with the prawn,  this looked classily presented.   Very Lovely!



Tomate Italiano a la Albahaca -
Eggs with Semi-dried tomato and herbs,  is one of the signature pintxos here.



Gilda -  a lollipop of Anchovy, Olive & Guindilla pickled peppers
A Basque specialty,  this is very addictive and goes so well with drinks.  I could foresee this pairing well with a vermouth or a martini as well : )   Loved it to death…





Erizo de Mar y Txakoli -
Spanish Sea Urchin cooked with a Basque sourced crisp white wine Txakoli from Ondarribi Zuri graps,  the latter which is very famous in the area.   Topped with some raw salmon roes.  Seriously.   THIS WAS THE DISH OF THE YEAR FOR ME. 



Pintxo de Tiburon -
A famous local pintxo made from Shark’s meat, green peppers and onions.  This was probably the most less surprising in terms of originality and the weakest link of the dishes today,  but it was still well executed enough to get a 9/10 from me. 



Bread -
Baguettes look alike. 
Soak and mop up the sauces!




Canguro con Setas a la Crema de Hongos -
Kangaroo?  Yes,  it is a dish served in Basque in a few shops and is quite famous.  Served again with a onions and porcini stock.  That fragrance.   It looked simple,  but the taste was extraordinary..

Kangaroo fillet.  
Made even better than down south here in Australia…
It begs the question.  Why do they serve Kangaroo up here in Northern Spain?



Trufas de Marisco -
Black Truffle and Crustacean rice dish has taken on a new meaning here,  looking like a giant arancini instead of a paella dish.  Full of crustacean seafood taste and accentuated with truffle.  Jesus…  When can I have this again?   Seriously..  This was one great and large crustacean flavour packed rice ball.



Watermelon Caribe -
A Caribbean influenced watermelon cocktail.   I know there are many fancier cocktails out there,  and I drink cocktails every week just because I appreciate the bar tender’s creations.  Japanese bar tenders are amazing.  Yet this cocktail remains with me to this day for a reason. 
It was just so well balanced,  much like the rest of the food served here… 
Very glad to have walked in, despite the higher price compared to other pintxo bars around town.

Price: Euro 40 per person
Score:  ♕♕♕♕♕♕

Address:  Paseo Colón 11, Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain
Ph: +34 943285019


  1. I loved this shop so much... it is like the place where you can hang out at every week and that owner was really friendly in a cool way !

    For some reason didn't think this was very Spanish - but a step about it :D

  2. Looked amazing. Esp. the sea urchin!



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