Asador Extebarri

Up and down a winding road in the mountains an hour from San Sebastian (or thirty minutes from Bilbao) likes Asador Extebarri, currently the sixth best restaurant in the world. Asador means to smoke, or to grill and their speciality lies in grilled seafood and meat brought in and cooked to perfection. We made the trek one fine autumn day, to quite possibly the prettiest middle of nowhere I've been to so far. 

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 I stood in the middle of this road and danced like it was the Sound of Music and no one came down it. It was almost 1pm. 

I stood in the middle of this road and danced like it was the Sound of Music and no one came down it. It was almost 1pm. 

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 We opted for the degustation, with some wine to go with it.

We opted for the degustation, with some wine to go with it.

 Chickpea soup a very light starter to the meal 

Chickpea soup a very light starter to the meal 

Some small dishes on the left: The Chorizo Cracker was chewy from the fat, with a light touch of pepper and paprika coming through. One of the best chorizos I've ever had. The Salt Anchovy was smoky, rich with a touch of oil. I inhaled the oniony taste. The bread was crip but soft enough to be savoured. The next two were made from goat's milk, from the goats on site. It went very well with the bread, but not to diss their goats but it was not a unique flavour. The Tomato & white belly tuna was smokey and rich and the Chlamys varia or scallops were so rich and tasty that they deserved their own solo shot, below.

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The seafood at Asador was exceptional. The Prawn of Palamos, while ostensibly a simple dish was grilled to perfection. I left none of its guts behind. It was possibly one of the best dishes of the day, and I marvelled at how something so simple could be so amazing.

 Kokotxa - soft like jelly, the throat of the cod, salty with just a tang of the sea

Kokotxa - soft like jelly, the throat of the cod, salty with just a tang of the sea

 Red Sea Bream - Light, succulent and tasty. Lemon, olive oil and chives perfectly combined. So juicy.

Red Sea Bream - Light, succulent and tasty. Lemon, olive oil and chives perfectly combined. So juicy.

 In contrast, this was my least favourite dish. Sadly it was well cooked but chewy and too rare. The crisp bits were flavourful and salty, but the rest of it was too medium. I think I possibly just didn't get the right side of beef, that happens sometimes. 

In contrast, this was my least favourite dish. Sadly it was well cooked but chewy and too rare. The crisp bits were flavourful and salty, but the rest of it was too medium. I think I possibly just didn't get the right side of beef, that happens sometimes. 

Dessert included a bonus dish, not unlike Hawaiian shave ice, followed by reduced milk with beetroot, a fig to balance the richness of the dairy in the previous dish and Mignardise & cocoa, rich and bitter to balance the sweetness.

Asador Extebarri was truly an enchanting experience. Well worth the trek to one of the prettiest villages in the middle of nowhere. They release their bookings three months in advance, and I spent a few nights hunched over the keyboard trying to beat the clock and working out how to best get the reservation. The restaurant can also arrange for a taxi for you to return to your accommodation. The service was impeccable and the ambience was rustic and down to earth despite the restaurant's prominence. Locals and international travellers alike filled the room, and there is also an ala carte menu for those that don't feel like eating as much as we did. 

Asador Extebarri is located at San Juan Plaza, 1, 48291 Atxondo, Bizkaia, Spain