Elena Arzak is an incredible talent, and just about the nicest person you could ever hope to meet (her and my kids are about the same ages, and played together during our last visit to Arzak), so it really pains me to say this... But Arzak's menu is suffering from a case of "3-Star Autopilot Syndrome". Make no mistake: The execution from the kitchen remains great at Arzak (I dare even use the word 'flawless' to describe it), but the overall concept is feeling a bit tired, especially when even more superb stuff is going on just down the road at another 3-star, Akelarre. The difference is that I felt Chef Subijana's cooking at Akelarre is still pushing that proverbial envelope. One truly gets the sense that there is no rest in his quest for nothing less than a spectacular experience for every diner at Aklearre.
Then you have Martin Berasategui and Azurmendi, each sporting 3 estrellas of their own, within earshot. Talk about an embarassment of riches. Oh and Asador Etxebarri (1-star, gads!) is about an hour away. OK, enough about the stars of Basque Country...
The quality control in the San Sebastian region, both in sourcing of ingredients and what the Basque chefs do with those ingredients, is unmatched anywhere else in my travels except for maybe Japan. I guess what I'm trying to say is that you it's hard to wrong here with the seafood.
Heck, I'd just do pintxos crawls all day and night to get your fill of that incredible seafood. And as a wonderful resource, TodoPintxos does a fine job of taking all the hard work out of finding out what are the most current specialty highlights are featured at each bar.
Due to the overflow of the local Txakoli from my visits, I have forgotten most of what I ate and where I ate it. However, I do recall going to La Mejíllonera for the tasty mussels, Goiz Argi for the brochetas de gambas (shrimp skewers), and Bar Haizea for the canned seafood (which can get pricey though, at least for a pintxos bar).
Mercado de la Bretxa is a fun photo-op, but food-wise, skip it. And instead, do the pintxos crawl as only one can do in San Sebastian. Enjoy! Here are a few photos from various pintxos crawls: