I have just been on a trip covering various Spanish regions from north to south. Cities visited included Madrid, Seville, Bilbao, San Sebastian and Segovia. I have been to Spain numerous times before but was more strongly focused on great food this time . I was especially curious about the food in the much lauded Basque region. My daily schedule was sightseeing from morning until a late lunch, a siesta and then tapas/pinchos in the evening. I believe this is a great strategy as there are many very good deals for lunch. One can easily have a simple but very tasty 3 course lunch with wine for 10-12 Euros. I found the quality of food to be high, an example meal could be soup ( gazpacho), perfectly fried fresh cod and flan for dessert. I did plan on some special more sophisticated meals, highlights:
Bilbao: I had a great meal at a traditional Basque restaurant: Mandoya in the old city centre , El Perro, 3-5. The days menu including wine from Rioja was 22 Euros. I had a very comprehensive tasting platter with many of the restaurants first courses. The main was grilled lightly salted cod with garlic.
San Sebastian: The enormous mouth watering selection of Pinchos is what drew me to visit ! I had planned one high quality sit down meal and was very pleased with the tasting menu at Bodegon Alejandro. This costs 38 Euros and with 3 glasses of wine, coffee and mineral water my bill came to about 50 Euros. The tasting menu consists of 6 courses in many ways based on traditional Basque cuisine but with definitive creative touches. Service was friendly and excellent and there were numerous small gifted additions like a shot of soup with bread crisps, the house dessert wine and chocolate. The full menu as of now is described on the restaurant www page (http://www.bodegonalejandro.com/en/menu/). None of the courses disappointed for me the definitive highlight was a tomato filled with squid resting on a delightful risotto based on squid ink and a spanish cheese. The amount of food was just right for someone with a healthy appetite after a days sightseeing.
Seville: Great Jamón Ibérico de Bellota other high quality tapas
Segovia: A very scenic smaller city, famous for roast suckling pig (Cochinillo Asado). Three restaurants seem to have the best version of this classic dish: José Maria, Candido and Duque. I chose Duque and had the regional three course menu, 30 Euros. Great conchillo with golden crisp and very tasty skin (crackling). Not very fatty at all. Great service and an atmospheric restaurant setting.