Gandarias

Gandarias
31 de Agosto Kalea 23
20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa
Spain 
TripAdvisor

My experience with beef throughout Europe over many years of vacationing in different countries, has been disappointing for the most part.  Steaks in Europe don’t just have the same tenderness as they do in America.  They might have a bit more beefy flavor, but the chewiness detracts from the enjoyment.  You may think I’m biased, but my born and bred Swiss uncle wholeheartedly agrees that steak in America is #1!  People raved about the steak at Gandarias, like 2,651 reviews on TripAdvisor raved.  Unfortunately, I did not plan ahead with reservations.  We decided to see if we could just roll in at 5pm for an early dinner, even early by American standards.  The place was pretty empty.  Score!

Jamón Íberico
A more lean cut of ham, but delicious nonetheless.DSC05474

Tomato Salad
The Spaniards love this combination of tomatoes and canned tuna.  The tomatoes were subtle in their sweetness.  A light but satisfying starter.DSC05477

Roasted Mushrooms
A variety of mushrooms were roasted here.  The flavors were so deep and all tasted so different. Deliciously simple.DSC05478

T-Bone Steak
This is what we came for.  It was flavorful in the way all beef in Europe is flavorful.  Deep, earthy, undoubtedly bovine.  It was also chewy in the way all beef in Europe is chewy.  The texture was harder to get past for The Annoyer.  In short, it was a bit underwhelming.  Maybe by Spanish standards, this is an excellent steak.  For us, we’ve had better. DSC05481

Tartaleta de Txangurro spider crab tartlet
Sea Urchin Gratin
For the most part, we actually avoided most of the pre-made pintxos and enjoyed mostly the made-to-order kind.  The pre-made pintxos are all sitting in piles on plates for customers viewing pleasure, and are they taken back to be heated up before serving.  I don’t think that really lends itself to the highest quality food or experience, but somehow most people just rave about it.  As we finished up our hefty dinner, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to try some of the pintxos from Gandarias.  They were just all laid out around the bar as we were trying to exit.  The sampling was nice, but I imagine it could have been better if it wasn’t pre-made and just microwaved for us.
DSC05482

Gandarias was solid, but didn’t live up to all that hype around their T-bone steak.  The starters and sides were as delicious as we had anywhere else in San Sebastian.  In America, the steak is different and in my opinion better.  I’m guess I’m just used to something more tender.  I’m glad we didn’t have a long wait to eat here.  The pintxos, while mostly an afterthought, gave us a nice sampling of the other types of pintxos popular in San Sebastian.  Overall, a good place to try, but I don’t need to come back here.

 

10 – You NEED to eat here
9 – Awesome
8 – Very good
7 – Good
6 – OK
5 – Average
4 – Not bad
3 – Not good
2 – Terrible
1 – Do NOT eat here

 

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