Restaurant Arka (Sare)

© Gérard Roubeix

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A temple to porky delights! At this white house located across from the Rhune River, you’ll find an untreated wood bar and waxed concrete floors, where Marianne Sage, who proudly bears the title of first female member of the French academy of cured hams (Kintoa from the Aldudes, Iratzia from Lasse), is busy in the dining room, while Tristan, her delicatessen/chef husband sends out serious eats from the open kitchen. The day we went: delightful white asparagus from Magescq with sabayon, Anglet chilies, ham chips and zucchini; stunning semi-salted steamed cod served with celeriac purée, a vegetable vinaigrette and red chili pepper coulis; before a fresh seasonal fruit salad infused with verbena and sweetened by vanilla ice cream. If you’re in the mood for a snack, there are charcuterie platters – Arka (chorizo, saucisson, dried lomo, coppa, Manex ham…); Kintoa pork aged for 24 months and various tartines (Basque pâté, boudin, head cheese); local cheese platters (Ossau-Iraty, bleu des Basques, a sheep’s milk-goat’s milk mix). Need more convincing? There’s also a boutique section so you can leave with plenty to stock your pantry, and bedrooms available if you feel like staying the night. // Gérard Roubeix 

FEELING THIRSTY? Txakoli Getariako (€3.50 a glass), Confluence, a Jurançon sec from the Domaine Nigri (€19 a bottle), Les Cluques, a Béarn red from the Domaine Mont d’Oraàs (€24) or Bipil d’Espelette beer (€5.50 for 330 ml) and Kupela hard cider (€8 for 750). 
PRICE: Menus €28 (lunch), platters at any time of day €18. 

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