Since 1897 the Arzak family has occupied the same site in San Sebastian and it is now on the fourth generation. Chef Juan Mari Arzak and his daughter Elena create some of the world’s best cuisine. All over the world you can have Italian and French food, but only in the Basque Country you can experience new Basque cuisine that is something truly unique and delicious, and something Juan Mari masters better than anyone else.
It was Juan Mari Arzak who in 1977, together with other great local chefs, founded the new Basque cuisine and the cuisine still offers something truly unique for the region with a great combination of what is found on the countryside and from the Atlantic Ocean. Juan Mari started to work in the Arzak restaurant back in 1966.
When people talk about Arzak, they always tend to use the word magic and even Juan Mari uses the word magic, like his way of making his dishes is something enchanted taken directly from the Lord of the Rings or similar. Juan Mari told us that if he touches a piece of meat before he cooks it something will happen, a part of him will transfer into the meat and it becomes more delicious. That might sound like something taken from a fantasy movie, but the fact is that the meat or whatever is served on a plate from Arzak is pure magic. The Arzak family offers something that seems so obvious, but that is beyond impeccable brilliance.
When you arrive at Arzak you will be welcomed by Elena as a part of her family. Yes, that is how welcomed you will feel when you enter the doors at Avenida Alcalde Elosegui. If you like you can see the different parts of the kitchen and experience where it all happens.
Arzak is not like the typical fine dining restaurant. Oh no, it is something beyond fine dining, it is more like the perfect dinner you always dreamt of having in your own house. You know, where it is no stress, absolutely perfect dishes and perfect wine pairing and an atmosphere more genuine than anything else.
Elena herself might take your order like she is the waitress and you will continue to have a beautiful feeling inside your whole body that you are not on a posh restaurant, no, you are in fact in your own home where everything is just as perfect as it can ever be.
Dish after dish after dish after dish… all is impeccable and you will wait for the first blunder to appear, but it never happens. The Arzak team just continues to serve you the best new Basque cuisine available anywhere and every now and then Juan Mari will come to your table and chat with you. wbpstars.com can of course go on and talk about every dish in detail forever, but we will cut it down to our very favourite dish that is the lamb dish “osso buco” de Cordero.
The lamb is of course juicy and delicious, but what is interesting with this dish is the “osso buco” that fools you and looks like a hollowed bone filled with marrow, but that actually is not a bone, but a potato confit filled with a purée of onion and mushroom and painted to resemble a bone. Genius, indeed!
Written by Andy