The world economic crisis has hit Spain hard, but one corner is continuing to thrive and attract the tourists. San Sebastian in the northern Basque Country, is known as one of themajor culinary capitals of the world and has more restaurants with Michelin Stars per square metre than any other city in the world.
Juan Mari Arzak is the patriarch of Basque new cuisine. His restaurant, Arzak is not only one of the world's top restaurants but also the origin of the Spanish culinary revolution that was later headed by Catalonia's El Bulli and its legendary chef Ferran Adria.
Arzak finds it hard to explain the phenomenon of the New Basque Cuisine movement. He puts down its success to local tradition and an obsession with good cooking and eating. "The only thing that I know is that we have a passion for cooking," says Juan Mari Arzak, head chef and owner of Arzak restaurant. This also applies to the regular people in the city that love to cook as well."
The city of San Sebastian is located in the Basque region. It is the world's second city when it comes to Michelin stars per capita behind Kyoto in Japan, but when it comes to Michelin stars per square metre San Sebastian tops the list.
A Michelin star is considered the world's most exclusive food award. The stars are given by the French Michelin Guide. Restaurants are awarded between one and three stars and rankings are revised every year.
There are five three-starred Michelin restaurant in Spain, two of them in San Sebastian. There are 26 restaurants with Michelin stars in the Basque Country, 16 of them in San Sebastian.
Every year 800 food critics designate the World's Best 50 restaurants in the world. In 2012 the top ten includes two restaurants in San Sebastian. Two- star Mugaritz occupies the third place and Arzak, with three stars is ranked eighth.
San Sebastian is definetely a good place to visit and try one of the best cuisine in the world.