Looking for suggestions on wineries/ accomodations/ restaurants not to be missed. I'd be most greatful as to any suggestions y'all might have.
I heard that Emilio Moro does tours if you call in advance, as does Muga. Have fun!
Do the tapas tour in Logrono!
I was just in Spain in October and there were a few "must see" places in the regions you're looking to go to.
Rioja - Lopez de Heredia. Hands down, if you want old school Rioja, killer wine, and an awesome look at production from start to finish (including an on-site coopers workshop where they build and toast their own barrels), you must stop here.
Ribera del Duero - Vega Sicilia is only open for tours to members of the trade. Definitely worth making an appointment and tasting the latest release of Unico after a tour of their sparkling clean facilities. I also recommend Aalto for a look at the more modern take on Ribera del Duero and Pesquera for a nice complement to the pedigree to Vega.
San Sebastian - not a winery, but one of my most memorable experiences was eating at one of the local sidrerias (cider houses). I recommend Pietretegi, which is about a 15 minute taxi ride out of the city. For under 30 euros per person you get handed an empty glass, get seated a long tables, and will get some simple yet great food. The glass thy give you is so you can go back to the room full of cider tanks and fill up as frequently as you like. That night got a bit fuzzy...
Don't miss the roasted baby lamb if you stop in Burgos, ask Javier at Aalto for dining recommendations (he's more than happy to hook you up with a great meal wherever you go...he used to work for the Consejo Regulador in Ribera del Duero, so I'm guessing he didn't pay for many meals during his tenure)
Have fun! It's a fantastic corner of the world!
Thanks for the post about recommendations in Spain. I plan to be in Spain as well in May and if I can, I would like to add Ribera Sacra and Rias Baixas to the list for must-see, taste, or otherwise experience while we are there. Thanks for the recommendations everyone! Very helpful.
If you can do not miss Segovia....or Salamanca if possible
Just booked a two week (delayed honeymoon) trip to Spain in early April. We will be flying in and out of Madrid, renting a car and heading North. We are planning time in Rioja (Andosiila), Vallaolid, & San Sebastian.
Anyone have any more or more current recommendations for wineries/restaurants?
Hi Vanessa - if going to Rioja (specifically Haro), R. Lopez de Herredia is a MUST stop. Absolutely nothing modern about it - as dank and dark a cellar as you are ever likely to visit, (beware the albino spiders!) but the wines are wonderfully rustic and delicious. San Sebastion has a whiskey museum that we went to every night we were in town - fabulous Irish Coffee (who knew??) and an incredible array of whiskies from all over the world. Our high $ restaurant of choice was Arzak - interesting culinary experience, to say the least. As seems so often to be the case, the starters and small plates outshined the Main Course. Stick to small plates as much as you can - textures and presentations that will blow you away. For a day trip, a visit to a nearby, quaint little town called St Jean de Lutz is fun, too. Buon voyage!
A bit on the sappy side of writing for me ;) but you'll find some nuggets from a trip I took a few years back
Txomin Extaniz is a short drive from San Sebastian, and I highly recommend it.... Have fun!
Bodegas Luis Canas. Laguardia en Rioja Alavesa. Arnedo. La Cultura de Rioja.
Vinos Vega Sicilia Bodegas.
Bodegas Moraza (JJ Moraza will welcome you for sure, just tell her that you come from me)
For places- Laurel St. A lot of bars with specialties in each bar: Octopus, Foie, Patatas bravas. All of them in Logroño.
In Rioja,el Portalon, Herventia... and for a final drink El viajero!
And more to come up next...
Many good suggestions here. I'll add some restaurant tips for Donostia and areas around it. You can find more info on these with a google seach:
Rekondo (SS) - One of the best cellars in Europe. Drink Rioja from the 60's (or older) for under €100. Don't miss.
Ibai (SS) - One of most complete and overall best food experiences in my life (I'm a fan of rustic cooking). Small restaurant only open for lunch. Have your hotel call and reserve. Bring lots of cash, depening on season and choices it can be quite pricy (if they serve percebes or baby eel for example).
Etxebarri (Axpe) - One of the most interesting restaurants in the world, and frequently on the "Top 50", cooking wise. The service is very rustic.
Elkano (Guetaria) - Fish as good as any in Japan. Share a whole turbot. Also some very nice things on the list.
Kaia Kaipe (Guetaria) - Great list, good food.
Saltxipi (SS) - Very nicely selected but small list, great cooking and hospitality.
Ganbarra (SS) Classic pintxos, but the restaurant downstairs is pretty good.
Gandarias (SS) - Same as above. Nice wine list.
Bar Nestor (SS) - Huge steaks, pimientos and cider. Not much else available. Great place to go for dinner after a more fancy lunch.
As for the "stars" of the region, I recommend aforementioned Extebarri. In my opinion, both Mugaritz and Arzak are overrated. Not bad, but not really special either. Never tried Martin Berasategui. I've heard good things about Azurmendi outside Bilbao though.