Borda Berri – San Sebastian, Spain

Borda Berri
Fermin Calbeton 12
20003 San Sebastian – Donostia

I’ve been eating pintxos (pronounced “pinchos”)  all across Euskadi, which is what the Basque people call their region in their own language of Euskara.  There will be a long pintxos rundown at some point, but for now here’s a quick hit from San Sebastian.  Pintxos generally are one to three bites in size and range in price from 1 to 3.50 euro.  In San Sebastian in particular, however, these (very) small plates have been elevated into a high-art form in some kind of game of culinary one-upmanship amongst the countless pintxos establishments.  Needless to say, it’s the customers who win in the end.

Borda Berri, located in the Parte Vieja (“Old Part”) of San Sebastian, is one of the places held in great regard by many, and it’s easy to see why.  Every single dish here was remarkable in both concept and execution.

The ubiquitous tortilla (in Spain, a frittata-like dish with a basic composition of potatoes, cheese and eggs to which all kinds of other things can be added) here is elevated with cheek and ear meat.  This is not your standard tortilla!  The mushroom risotto honed in on perfect execution with amazing precision.  Quite likely the best risotto I’ve ever had.

Another common dish, foie a la plancha, has an amazing sear on it underneath of which is medium-rare foie gras with a texture that is almost unreal in its softness.  Beautiful sauce accompaniments make this one of the best pintxos I’ve had.   The tempura bacalao (salt-cured cod) is also beyond reproach, with beautiful frying and a delicately-flavored bacalao inside.

I can’t say enough good things about this place.  One disadvantage is that you have to wait until after around 7 or 7:30 pm until it opens to get your pintxos fix due to the incredibly-late hour that the Spanish choose to eat.  Otherwise, it’s probably the best out of more than a dozen good pintxos places that I’ve tried.  Do not miss if you’re ever in the area.

7 thoughts on “Borda Berri – San Sebastian, Spain

  1. Pingback: Must see… San Sebastián (Donostia) « Esl « ESL

  2. I agree 100%, Borda Berri is the best taberna in town, the spare ribs, kallos de bacalao al pil and arroz bomba with chipirones… incredible

  3. I was at Borda Berri in August 2012 and was quite impressed. I only tried three small dishes, and although they were simple and quite traditional, they were well-cooked and they were bursting with flavour. I would even go so far as to say that the food I had here was overall better than what I had at the three-star Michelin restaurant Arzak just the day before!
    See full review and pictures at

  4. By the way, 7 or 7.30 pm. is actually a very early time for opening in Spain. Maybe they eat earlier in the north. I lived in Valencia for a year and a half, and most restaurants opened at 9 pm, a few at 8.30 pm. Many people show up at 11 pm or so. Once I finished an eight course meal at 11.30, and the table next to me had just arrived and was about to start the same menu. They also have a lunch break from between two and a half and three and a half hours, starting at 2 pm (and then until 4.30 or 5.30 pm).

  5. Pingback: Must see… San Sebastián (Donostia) - Blog ESL Company

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