Itsas Zaldi

Itsas Zaldi (Hendaye)

© Itsas Zaldi

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This place might not be new, but it’s generating a lot of buzz in the Basque bistrosphere! To bring this nautical restaurant (formerly known as La Poissonnerie) back to life, all it took was for owner Michel Antraygues to get rid of the fish counter, cover the walls in nice aquarium wallpaper and rename it Itsas Zaldi (“seahorse” in Basque). Its credo? A short blackboard menu, wild fish, organic eats and clean drinks. The day we went for lunch: a lovely summer roll stuffed with wild shrimp whipped by an exotic vinaigrette; irreproachable line-caught hake from Saint-Jean-de-Luz with beurre blanc sauce, coconut mousse, cauliflower and grains; before a rather gourmet rice pudding with salted caramel and lime zest. At night, the menu gets enriched with a few beautiful dishes that aren’t necessarily aquatic: John Dory, sea bream, monkfish or… Iberian pork! // P.L.

FEELING THIRSTY? Java, a Côtes-de-Gascogne from the Domaine Chiroulet (€4 a glass), an Alsace Riesling from Albert Mann (€34 a bottle), a Sancerre from Daniel Crochet (€37), or even Iturrioz hard cider (€14 for 750 ml).

PRICE: Menu €17-20 (weekday lunch), à la carte €29-50.

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