Merendero Justiz, Fontarrabi/Hondarribia, Basque 12/20

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FONTARRABI is the French border with Spain, Hondarribia is the other side, a border town known for its tapas bars. You cross the frontier from France and the mood changes from franco suburbia to a sudden sense of alegría de la vida The architecture changes, the houses are colourful, instead of beer there is also local cider…Hondarribia has many restaurants of which this is not technically the best by any stretch, the French TripAdviser lists it with just 17 reviews as the 48th of 95, tres bon rather than excellent, near the golf driving range. It is pretty high up on the scale of you-have-never-heard-of-it.

If James Bond needed to get holed up incognito out of wifi range then you might not be taken aback to find him with a current floussie in the back bar. I wanted to include it, not because it is a great restaurant but it is a great secret, a great find just when you don’t think you are going to find anything. If you are walking or cycling around Jairzkibel it would be a boon and half…the sign on the door in basque says guztiz ederra which is not its name but translates as absolutely beautiful. Ab fab for the Basque. Welcome across the border.img_1289

It is border country, unruly in the literal sense, ie not ruled. The menu is basic or made up of what is made up here, ham, bread, cider, croquettes, salad. I am told they can do a pretty good side of beef too.There is fish too. Everyone mentions the baby squid. Also cod in peppers with a good list of Riojas.

The countryside is formidable. There are many places to eat from here to San Sebastian but there are not so many as likeable as this mountain hut.

Barrio Gornutz-Montaña, 31 | Barrio Gornutz-montaña 31, 20280 Fontarrabie (Hondarribia), Espagne +34 943 64 55 57 No web site as yet.

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