We ate here several years ago and I never wrote a review. But ever since, whenever the conversation turns to memorable meals, I find myself just bowing and slowly shaking my head and saying that Arzak was hands-down the best meal that I had ever had. I was damn near in tears when we walked out the place. We didn't get to Adria's El Bulli while it was open, so I can't compare the two, but Arzak topped the many fine restaurants that I've eaten at over the years, including French Laundry here in the Bay Area.
The focus at Arzak was very much on the food, not the decor or interior, though both were very nice; it's in an old building that has been renovated on the inside, which has a rather austere, modern feel to it. The service was impeccable, and rather unusual in that when we were there all of the waiters were middle-aged women in these rather plain, almost Amish-like grey outfits. You'd just never see that here, and somehow it was incredibly comforting, like you were being served this fabulous meal by your favorite aunt. Juan Mari and his daughter Elena came out near the end of our meal and took a moment to great each table, which was a nice touch.
We both had the menu degustacion. The food was delicious and extremely well executed. It was a transporting experience, if a meal can be such a thing. I'd love to go back there, and recommend it to anyone in the area of San Sebastian, where there is no shortage of great food at all price points and style of eatery.