Taste modern reinterpretations of traditional pintxos at A Fuego Negro, where vintage action figures and Michael Jackson memorabilia adorn the walls. You're here for innovation, so order the twelve-course "super tasting menu" ($57) for small-plate surprises like frozen cheese with sardine or pickled pork ear with frozen mole ice cream, all explained in English by the patient waitstaff. No matter what night, expect to try a few standbys, including the famous mini-burger made with wagyu beef and frozen gazpacho in flavors like beet, mango, and green apple.
Sample traditional Basque cuisine with a few unique twists at Michelin-starred Kokotxa in Old Town, where the all-white space pairs with a conservative menu of stripped-down ingredients. For an authentic dish, try the Hake Kokotxas ($39) with pil pil sauce, an emulsion made from juices of the fish and olive oil that is made throughout the region. For dessert, be sure to try the creamy caramelized French toast ($11).
Hop in a cab and head to the suburbs for dinner at Arzak, which manages to stand out even in the city with the highest concentration of Michelin stars per capita. The nine-course tasting menu is a splurge at $195, but the restaurant helped pioneer New Basque cuisine and continues to serve cutting-edge plates like rockfish mousse wrapped in crunchy noodles. Reservations are hard to come by, so start planning at least two months in advance.