Should you ever find yourself marauding around the pintxos bars in the Parte Vieja in San Sebastian at one o´clock in the afternoon or eight o´clock in the evening, you might wonder why there are people spilling out of the door of Bar Nestor on Calle Pescaderia.
It may look pretty similar to many of the other bars but, like a lot of the places in the grid of lanes, it has a speciality that draws those in the know. And that speciality is a gooey tortilla – that miracle of Spanish cuisine that, when done well, is so much more than a sum of its simple parts: potatoes, eggs, onions and olive oil.
At Nestor, the secret is the caramelised onions, together with good quality potatoes and oil, and fresh eggs. That´s it. They only make one at lunchtime and one in the evening, which is randomly sliced at odd angles – no pristine segments here – and served to 16 or 17 lucky customers. You need to get there a bit earlier and let them know you want some.
Nestor – that’s him with the moustache and the striped shirt – and his wife Piluka (she does the expert slicing) have been running the bar for more than 30 years.
They don’t go in for having the counter groaning under loads of platters of pintxos. As well as the tortilla, they make an amazing tomato salad, great grilled peppers, top-quality Iberico ham and huge slabs of steak, which is served in slices to share.
There is a lot of fancy food in San Sebastian, but sometimes the simplest things are the best. If you want to try the best bars in the city, just book a pintxos tour with gastronomic expert Gabriella Ranelli at Tenedor Tours.