Herrerieta Kalea, 2, Getaria, 20808, Spain

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The pretty coastal town of Getaria is 24km from San Sebastian, around half an hour by car. It has a nice beach, a pretty church and above all it has Elkano, a seafood restaurant. Elkano is in the middle of the small fishing village, with old-fashioned decor, a stone tiled floor and net curtains. Outside the main door are open air charcoal grills where turbot and other fish are prepared. The restaurant itself does not have a view of the sea, but you are just a short stroll away from a lovely vista over the marina and the Atlantic ocean. It was founded by Pedro Arregui in 1964. 

The wine list was surprisingly comprehensive, with some genuine bargains. We drank Vega Sicilia Unico 1999 at the wildly kind price of €145 for a wine which would set you back €260 in a London shop. Bread is bought in from a local bakery part-made and finished in the kitchen, and was delicious: a single choice of crusty white bread, which was served warm (16/20). A little marinated tuna as a nibble had superb flavour (at least 15/20). To start with, fish soup was an entirely different creature from the watery concoctions that pass for it in so many Paris bistros. Here the soup was dark and rich in colour, the product of extensive preparation with lots of fine quality fish bones as the basis of the stock. This was well seasoned, a simple but excellent bowl of soup (15/20). Even better was lobster bisque, with rich shellfish stock, carefully seasoned with deep lobster flavour (16/20).

The star of the show was a whole turbot, cooked on the charcoal grill and served on the bone. This was as simple a dish as you can imagine, with no sauce or garnish, but the turbot was stunning. It was of superb quality and perfectly timed, the charcoal giving just a hint of smokiness, the flesh firm and cooked through beautifully. I find it hard to score something like this, which is inherently simple yet hard to improve upon. I can say that it was some of the best turbot I have eaten (18/20).

A dessert of chocolate fondant was excellent, with a rich liquid centre and with excellent vanilla ice cream (16/20). Caramelised pain perdu was good but the bread a little soggier than some other versions we tried, served with capably made banana ice cream (14/20). Service was very good, friendly and efficient, and avoided being distracted even when Rafael Nadal came in and sat down to eat. The bill came to €324 (£131 a head) but this was because of the lovely wine than we drank. The food element of the meal was €169 (£136) for two, with water at €3.90 for a litre of Hildon and coffee at €2.50 i.e. £68 a head without wine. With a modest wine it would be easily possible to eat three courses for £70 a head. I really liked Elkano: it is the kind of restaurant that focuses on flavour and ingredients rather than making dishes look pretty for food blogger photos, and its fish is of the highest standard. The bargain wine list is just another reason to love the place.

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User comments

  • Di holket

    Cannot wait to try!

  • Jesper

    Elkano is one of my three favourite restaurants in regards to fish-and seafood in Spain (together with Ibai in San Sebastian and Rafa’s in Roses). We opted for kokotxa as a starter (i.e. starters though we had kokotxa prepared in three different ways) but were before this served a lovely lobster soap as an amusement. For the main, I had probably the best turbot ever, and this was definitely the main event this dinner. Some additional info and pictures from our dinner could be found here: