One drizzly morning in San Sebastian, we zipped out to Zarautz in search of surf. Ryan’s hopes were dashed by lackluster waves, but my dreams of whole roasted fish were just coming true. Nearby in the charming fishing village of Getaria was Elkano, a Michelin-starred restaurant called one of the “7 Most Underrated Restaurants in Europe.” They take reservations only by phone, so I knew with my lack of Spanish and Ryan’s inability to make plans other than surf, that was not an option. I’d read if you just show up for lunch, however, sometimes you get lucky.
This was not the case for us. We arrived 10 minutes prior to opening and were informed they were full, despite my offers to eat quickly or sit at the bar. Bowed but not broken, I asked if they had any recommendations for places nearby. The Mayflower, they said.
The Mayflower was situated overlooking the harbor and we arrived in time to get a covered patio table, just as the drizzle turned to a downpour. Just like we saw at Elkano, The Mayflower had an outdoor grill fired up for whole roasted fish wrapped in grill baskets. A sturdy female chef hauled fish caught that morning onto the grill and served them simply with plenty of salt, olive oil and lemon. Our friendly server talked surf breaks with Ryan and recommended the whole turbot with a few vegetable sides (the asparagus is white and marinated! And tastes more like artichokes to me). We were given a hefty side of crusty bread and a bowl of mayonnaise.
I.ate.all.the.fish. Long after Ryan had thrown in the towel, I was sucking meat from the bones, digging in for the juicy pieces around the cheeks and throat, and licking olive oil off my fingers. I ate until I was sick. We walked it off in the charming alleyways of Getaria, delirious in my food coma.
Drive to Zarautz