Casa Urola

Kalbeton Fermin Kalea, 20, San Sebastian, 20003, Spain

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In the pedestrianised streets of the old town of San Sebastian are literally dozens of pintxos (tapas bars). People wander from one to the next having a glass of wine and a nibble at each. There are plenty of extensive guides to these bars, and I am not going to attempt to write about them at any length given my limited experience with them (so far). However one that stood out for me was a lesser known bar that does not seem to appear on the usual lists and printed maps.

Casa Urola has, despite its low profile, been trading since 1956, and unlike some of the better-known places in the old town seems to cater mainly to locals; I did not notice any foreign tourists here during my two meals here, one in evening and one at lunch. The main room at ground level is simple, with tiled stone floor and a bar to one side, with a more formal dining room upstairs.

A prawn with egg mayonnaise on toast had good flavour (12/20) as did boquorones with good quality anchovies with caramelized onion (13/20). Tuna had been marinated and served on a cocktail stick with an olive and a pimento, and also had good flavour (13/20). Ham and cheese on toast was simple but again had good quality components (12/20). Bellota ham was lovely; of course the kitchen had done nothing to this, but at least they had bought well. I also enjoyed a dish of grilled mushrooms with egg yolk, mash, pine nuts and a gravy, again very simple but with excellent, carefully cooked mushrooms (easily 13/20). As a bonus, the wine list had some real bargains, and we enjoyed a bottle of 2007 Alion for just €48, a wine that retails at more than this in the UK. This was a charming little place, the bar staff friendly and the food simple, very reasonably priced yet prepared with care. I hope it prospers for another 56 years.

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  • Robert

    Thanks Andy for this excellent recommendation. Our dinner upstairs was a totally pleasing experience and when I asked for a local wine recommendation the waitress directed us to the cheapest bottle on the list.