Let me first state - there are TWO restaurants in San Sebastian named Astelena. One serves Pintxos (plaza de la constitution) and the other is casual fine dining (located on Euskal Herria). I can see by the reviews that the comments here on trip advisor are based on guests reviews for both restaurants. I made reservations for the casual fine dining restaurant. It's confusing because the phone number on trip advisor is for the casual fine dining Restaurant, but the address is for the Astelena for Pinxtos.
We had reservations for 5. We arrived about 10 minutes early - which seemed to bother the owner a bit. He did seat us, with some hesitation. Two menus were provided - one ala carte and the other a fixed menu (three courses which included wine). Our table had to choose either all ala carte or the fixed price menu. Since the fixed price menu seemed well priced (24 euros pp) and each guest could select from about 3 to 4 choices per course, we opted for the fixed price menu. We were not disappointed. The owner started with a shot of gazpacho (excellent) and the fish cake (very much like a light fish mousse to spread on bread). Both were not part of our menu - so this was an added surprise. We then moved on to our starters - puff pastry filled with some sort of creamy crab mixture. For our next main course some of us selected fish - bacalao and hake. They were both excellent. The beef cheeks were great, more like the texture of beef short ribs, but very good. For dessert we all chose the French toast with ice cream.
The food presentation was picture worthy and I would rate the quality it excellent. The total cost for five - included a bottle of white AND red wine, was 135 euros. This was an excellent value. Our only complaint was the sevice could have been a bit more friendly. It did get a bit better as the dinner went on. I would highly recommend this restaurant -and would definitely go back. Just be sure you go to the correct Astelena.
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