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“Hugely disappointing”
Review of Arzak

Arzak
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $167 - $191
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Reservations
Reviewed January 6, 2013

I had been so excited to finally try Arzak after so many people raving about it. The experience was not even close to three-star and I am surprised they can still maintain them.

The service was disinterested and disjointed, we never had the same person at our table so it felt like an assembly line of plates and people.

Our amuse bouche course came with no explanation, I have no idea even now what we ate- it wasn't on the menu. All the dishes were tired and felt like they had been sitting on a pass for a while, nothing was hot or particularly warm.

The flavour combinations made little sense and were fussy but didn't work together. The last meat dish we had, wild duck was in a word, awful. The beans and tofu made the meat taste sanguine and metallic.

There were endless courses of desserts, none of which stood out in my mind.

The experience was in stark contrast to our visit the next night to Akelare, that is a proper 3-Michelin restaurant. Arzak just feels like it is stuck in 2007 with dry ice tricks and freeze-dried fruits. Nothing felt it was made with love or was playful or inventive - something Akelare had in spades.

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3  Thank Silverswisstracksuit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 10, 2012

I don't know what I can say about Arzak that hasn't been said before. Truly an unforgetable dining experience. The food and presentation were excellent, the wine selection remarkable and the service was second to none. But beyond the obvious, I found the hospitality of the Arzaks to be warm and engaging. Their visit to our table was more than the usual obligatory stop. They both are charming and interesting. I couldn't eat there every night, but I will certainly eat there again.

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Thank lerrea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 10, 2012

I really wanted to love this restaurant, as I'd been looking forward to going here for months.
I took my girlfriend for her 40th birthday, so I really wanted it to wow her.
We had the tasting menu with matching wines and I have to say that some of the courses were astonishingly good.
BUT... this supposedly being one the best restaurants in the world, I expected the whole experience to be faultless and it wasn't.

I had emailed them to let them know that my girlfriend doesn't eat pork or beef for religious reasons.
They said this was no problem at all and they would modify her courses.
We also reminded them again when we arrived.
So we were baffled and a bit annoyed when 5 minutes later the first amuse-bouche arrived sprinkled with bacon.
Not a great start.
(I should point out that, at this point, we were one of only 2 tables in the restaurant, so you can't even say that it had slipped their mind due to being so busy)
The next amuse-bouche was announced as 'chorizo and tonic water'.
Again we were completely baffled but my girlfriend is too nice to make a fuss, so I ate them both.
But it turned out to be melon cut to look like chorizo.
It would have been handy if they'd told us that?!

The next few courses were a mixture of sublime and just ok.
But my main of duck was so underwhelming it was hard to comprehend it was from the same kitchen. I've had tastier duck in run of the mill London gastropubs.
Having said that, my girlfriend's venison main was beautiful.

Before our desserts arrived they brought out a stunning birthday cake for her, which was a lovely touch. They said they'd box it up for us and we could take it when we left.
But when we left they forgot to give it to us and we only remembered when we got back to the hotel, which was a 5 minute cab ride away.
The hotel reception gave the restaurant a quick ring and asked if they'd pop the cake in a cab and they said they would but we'd have to pay for it!
The cab would have cost 6 euros, considering I'd just spent €500 on our meal I found this a bit offensive!

So overall it was a meal of highs and lows.
I can see why some people could be impressed this place, as the presentation and processes that go in to each course are very impressive but they didn't always deliver on actual taste.

If the meal had cost €150 I would be saying it was a great meal with only a few negatives.
But for €500 you expect mind blowing perfection and it was far from that.

The next night we ate at Porrue in Bilbao, the bill was a third of the price but the food was, in my opinion, slightly better and given the option I would rather go back to Porrue to eat again.

If you're impressed with processes and presentation over taste then I would say this is worth the €500.
But I can think of numerous places I've eaten for a third of the price that I'd rather eat at again.

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4  Thank dansmudge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 9, 2012

We attempted and did visit several 3 star restaurants in Spain. Arzak was innovative and amazing. The tasting menu is the way to go but we didn't do a wine pairing trusting the advice of our waiter as far as the wine choice. I have to admit that when I first walked in and up the stairs I wasn't thrilled because the restaurant seemed noisy with lowish ceilings but I just went with the flow and ended up enjoying each and every bite.

Thank knitsforfood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 6, 2012 via mobile

We loved our meal at Arzak. The staff were friendly and the tasting menu was full of tasty surprises. The cardoman ice cream was a highlight.

With prior warning they were also happy to accommodate a vegetarian.

It's not a cheap night out, but totally worth it.

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1  Thank James H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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