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“Fabulous meal in all respects”
Review of Arzak

Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $157 - $180
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions, Local cuisine, Business meetings
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Lunch, Full Bar, Parking Available, Private Dining, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Valet Parking, Validated Parking, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
San Francisco
Level Contributor
62 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
“Fabulous meal in all respects”
Reviewed October 26, 2012

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.

  • Visited November 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank Out-of-SFO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,128 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
18 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Worth the hype!”
Reviewed October 24, 2012

After reading the mixed reviews, we were nervous that Arzak might not live up to expectations...boy were we wrong, it far exceeded them. Arzak was our third restaurant in the Top 10 in the World and the food and service collectively exceeded the other two in our opinion.

Once we arrived (about 10 minutes early) for our 9pm reservation, we were promptly greeted and sat at our table. The maitre d' took us on a private tour of their wine cellar! Pretty neat experience that you might want to ask for 1) if you are a little early like us or 2) at the end of the evening.

All the food we found very approachable . We did the tasting menu and let them pair wines with each course for us. All of their by the glass offerings were excellent and while the food was obviously 179 Euros per person, the wine was true value coming in around 37 Euros each for 11 glasses of wine total.

The service was impeccable as well. Each staff member was very nice and helpful. During the meat course, one of us needed to use the restroom. The staff member removed our plate whlie we were gone, put it on a heater and then brought it back to us when we sat back down. This as without asking. Pretty amazing service if you ask me! Once course was not my favorite as it had a very fishy taste...so I didn't eat much of it. The maitre d' insisted on cooking me another fish and brought me a glass of wine to go with it (all at no extra cost). Even the Chef came out to make sure I was ok....Again, all of this and I didn't even ask to send anything back! Amazing!

The Chef and his daughter (the other Chef) come out and greet people during dinner which is nice. After dinner they take pictures in the bar with everyone. Don't forget to ask the maitre d' to call you a cab as soon as you ask for the bill. Otherwise you might have a slight wait when you get downstairs. We waited a little too long to call. Overall a great experience that all foodies should try if in San Sebastian.

  • Visited October 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank jjll77057
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
18 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Pretty ridiculous”
Reviewed October 14, 2012

Only the second michelin starred restaurant we have been to. The food was excellent. We had the tasting menu. No other way to go in my mind. The room is nice but nothing crazy, the spacing is a little tight for my liking. Our service was great except one of the staff who ran most of our food looked like she hated her job. In my mind you are charging me 190 Euros per person, as an owner and manager, you don't let staff like that on your floor. The rest of the staff was very accomdating and we spent quite a bit of time speaking to maitre d who was awesome.

The other michelin star restaurant we have experienced was Palm d'or in Cannes. For 59 Euro at lunch for their tasting menu and their gorgeous location on the second floor facing the beach I would have to say that the value was not there at Arzak. We both enjoyed it thoroughly and don't regret it. I just didn't leave feeling like wow, that was worth 550 euro for two of us.

Visited October 2012
Thank saufai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
29 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“They bring out the best in food”
Reviewed October 13, 2012 via mobile

Our first time here exceeded all expectations
1- we didn't want the tasting menu, so the waiter suggested we split our courses, eg choose 2 mains and they gave small serves of each and charge for 1. I have never seen this before, and his reason was - it will be more fun!
2- each course was a discovery, with many things to try in combination or isolation
3- the flavour pairings were exciting and brought out the best in the ingredients.
4- the chef came out twice to just chat with diners.
5- they have all the technology available but the respect the ingredients. Eg they finished with chocolates
6- for the effort, creativity and ingredients in the dishes, the price was very reasonable

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank JR_Aus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Best restuarant we have experienced”
Reviewed October 12, 2012

I took my fiancé to this resturant as a surprise after proposing to her earlier that morning. We had been lucky enough to visit Heston Blumenthal's resturant a week earlier and it didn't even compare to the experience and food we received at Arzak. The tastes, the colors on the plate, the presentation, the service and everything else that came with it were all exceptional. It is hard to imagine that there are better restaurants in the world. A truly first class restaurant deserving of all it's accolades!!

Thank Jade R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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