[Spain: San Sebastian] Restaurant Ibai - Seafood At Its Best
The first lunch we had in San Sebastian was at Ibai - an unassuming restaurant located in the basement of a bar with only 8 tables and basically no menu. It is only opened for lunch on weekdays and no English is spoken at all. I had heard really good things about this low-key restaurant which is known for its seafood so I had my hotel make the reservation for me one month in advance. Chef Alicio Garro uses only the freshest ingredients from the market on the day of and the food is simple and rustic in order to let the natural flavors of the seafood speak for itself.
When it came time for our reservation at 1PM, we walked back the bar which looked surprisingly modern and descended down a flight of stairs in the restaurant.
The decor was homey and rustic - I felt like I was dining in someone's home actually.
The only menu that we got was a piece of paper with a list of ingredients for appetizers, fishes and meat. The staff let us know which ones were available with a simple si and no, and we ended up choosing 3 appetizers and 1 fish to share between the 2 of us. There were no prices on the menu but when we got the check at the end, we found that each dish costed around 30€. They also have a wine list (which does have prices) so we got a bottle of cava to go with our meal.
Our meal began with a complimentary spoonful of lobster which can only be described as heavenly and served as a teaser for our next dish.
The Lobster Salad came next and the chunky lobster meat was deliciously fresh while the dressing was refreshing with a hint of acidity.
The Rice with Clams was simple and light but not as impressive as the other dishes we tried during this meal.
The Kokotxas (hake cheeks) in salsa verde was highly revered here and I can understand why since it was my favorite dish of the meal! The hake cheeks were incredibly tender and fatty while the sauce complimented the fish perfectly. The sauce was prepared with its own gelatin, parsley, olive oil and garlic and for us, it was what really made this dish shine.
Lastly we ended our meal with a Squid in Black Ink. It didn't look like much but trust me, the squid ink was well-balanced and super flavorful - simply one of the best that I've ever had.
The bill came out to be around 170€ for the two of us which was pretty reasonable for the quality of the food that we had. I highly recommend Ibai for anyone visiting the Basque Country and I would love to try the whole Dover sole here next time!
Getaria Kalea, 15, 20005 San Sebastian - Donostia, Spain
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