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The Great Chefs from around the world
26

If you like your food pretty, this is the place. Father-and-daughter team Juan Mari Arzak and Elena Arzak Espina's plates look fantastic: striking, colourful and imaginative, yet for the most part unfussy. The pair run the kitchen as equals and is a major presence in the dining room. Like the food, it pulls off the neat trick of balancing tradition and innovation, with warm, familiar service. The cooking is done by an incredible father-daughter team. They have one foot in Basque tradition and the other in 21st-century modernity, fusing local ingredients with a very contemporary style. Try the smoked white tuna with fresh figs and pine nuts.

The history of the restaurant is also the history of the family. The house was built in 1897 by the grandparents, José Maria Arzak Etxabe and Escolastica Lete, as a wine inn and tavern in the village of Alza, now belonging to San Sebastian.

It was a tavern until, Juan Ramon Arzak and Francisca Arratibel, took it over the run of it. Together they started serving meals. Their effort and skill with the stoves was highly recognized. Little by little the rumour was spreading. In the Height of Miracruz, also called the Height of "Vinagres", one could eat delicious stew. The restaurant achieved renown and specialized in banquets for family celebrations.

In 1966, finished the studies in the School of Hostelería, the compulsory military service and my practices abroad, and started working at the restaurant. In the beginning I specialized in roasted meat on charcoal. Mother was a patient and constant teacher. She was the one that step-by-step revealed all the secrets of gastronomy to me. The curiosity and the will to keep on learning led me to work on the dishes of self creation.

The restaurant has grown with the family The two daughters, Marta and Elena. The restaurant from the middle of the 70's has received prizes and awards that have proved our efforts to turn the Restaurant Arzak into one's point of reference in national and international gastronomy. In 1989 we received the third star of the famous Michelin Guide.

Arzak today is a Michelin 3-star restaurant in San Sebastián, Spain. It is highly awarded and features New Basque Cuisine. In 2008, Arzak's owner and chef, Juan Mari Arzak, was awarded the Universal Basque award for "adapting gastronomy, one of the most important traditions of the Basque Country, to the new times and making of it one of the most innovative of the world".



Elena is already completely involved in the day-by-day management of the restaurant and still widens her training. She's ready to run the restaurant and continue with this tough task. You can already appreciate her hand in the changes that she's adding to the menu. It's the fourth generation of this family devoted to the catering business and enthusiasm for fine cuisine.




Awards and accolades:

1989-Present, Michelin Guide, Three Stars
2003-Present, Top 50 Restaurants in the World, Restaurant (magazine) Top 50
2010, 9th Best Restaurant in the World, S. Pellegrino

Contact Details:

Address: Alcade Jose Elosegui 273, Alto de Miracruz 21, 20015 San Sebastian, Spain
Telephone: +34 943 278 465
Web Site: www.arzak.es
Photographs: heavy.com   

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