I keep mentioning my favourite places for drinks, coffee, snacks, breakfast etc so I thought I’d break with tradition and share some of these with you. There are lots of great bread and cake shops, cafes and bars in San Sebastian and I think we’ve tried a fair few of them.
It was only once I started writing that I realised most of my recommendations below are in or near to my favourite square, Plaza de Gipuzkoa, a romantic and charming green space right in the centre of the city, designed by the prestigious French gardener, Pierre Ducasse. It’s home to a large number and variety of trees, flowers and plants, plus a pond with ducks and swans. It’s bordered by a number of important local buildings and arcades, plus houses:
- a monument to local musician, Jose Maria Usandizaga
- a temple-shaped stone weather station
- a large white marble table indicating times
- an enormous multi-coloured flower clock
and the surrounding arcades are home to a number of our favourite establishments.
This one has several branches and was set up in 1886 by the Otaegui family in 1886. It has really pretty shop fronts and sells bread, homemade chocolates, biscuits made with local walnuts and hazelnuts, coffee and chocolate eclairs, madeleines and cakes such as their version of Pastel Vasco, a Basque cake made with cooked pastry cream and lemon rather than cherry jam.
Again, this small attractive pastry shops has a number of branches and also sells ice cream, homemade chocolates, pastries and a lovely range of tarts. My beloved likes their St Ignacio tart.
Cafe Gogoko Goxuak
With its bentwood chairs and industrial chic, this cafe has a decided Le Pain Quotidien vibe. Perfect for breakfast or an afternoon coffee and cake, it has excellent coffee, bread, croissants and baked goodies. Eat in or take away.
This neighbourhood institution can trace its roots back to 1699. It’s on the same square as the cafe above and is a great spot for breakfast. They sell bread, chocolate and an excellent range of pastries plus my favourite toast with tomatoes.
This place is open all hours and offers a more substantial breakfast including their delicious tortilla, ham and eggs along with croissants, cake, coffee and fresh juice. It also serves my second favourite Aperol Spritz and we’re not above dropping in here of an evening for some pintxos. The company has two branches, the larger one being in the same square as the two favourites above but we prefer its smaller branch around the corner.
Next to the theatre is the home of our favourite Aperol Spritz (€ 4.50) which we like to drink while nibbling on a bowl of olives and watching the world pass by. It also serves breakfast and snacks throughout the day.
At the entrance to the Old Town is our favourite ice cream shop which has since taken over the cake and coffee shop next door. You’ll find branches of this company in other towns such as Getaria. Their ice cream is made with top quality, local, raw materials and they have over 50 flavours. We cannot claim to have tried them all!