A generation younger than Subijana and Arzak, Martín Berasategui has grown a culinary empire from this eponymous restaurant, earning a total of six Michelin stars (including three for this place, which opened in 1993). Berasategui began working in the family restaurant at age 14 before being sent to France to train as a pastry chef at age 17. At age 20 he took over the family operation. What distinguishes Berasategui from his fellow three-star chefs in San Sebastián is a kind of simplicity. Ultimately, the success of the plates comes down to perfect product—tuna belly fresh from the boat that he grills over wood charcoal; little peels of raw fennel served with risotto; or pig’s trotters stuffed with quince, cabbage, and Manchego cheese. Of course, he’s equally adept at spectacular presentations, like the roasted red mullet presented with edible “scales” of crystalized fish juices. Few dishes are more than two or three bites, but each bite is packed with more flavor than entire meals elsewhere. He does offer a la carte selections, but almost everyone opts for the tasting menu.
- Frommer's Staff