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Donostia

10 Seymour Place, London, United Kingdom, W1H 7ND
Critics Review 13/20
Restaurant info
Opening Information

Reservations are taken for tables during lunch and dinner services. There are 10 dining stools around the open kitchen that are left free for walk-ins after 730pm so please always feel free to drop by. If all stools are occupied when you arrive, the reservations manager can take your number and call you when something becomes available. Please note that we usually have two sittings so may respectfully ask for your table back after two hours

Facilities
  • Outside Seating Area
  • Gluten Free Available
  • Business Lunch

About Donostia

Basque restaurant serving pintxo, tapas and unique wines

Cuisine: French, Spanish, Tapas
Dress Code: Smart Casual
Price point:
£ £ £ £ £

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Critics Review
Review by Andy Hayler
13/20
Donostia is the Basque word for San Sebastian, the north-western coastal city that is the foodie heart of Spain and is famous for its pintxo (tapas) bars. This particular restaurant is in the slightly less exotic location of Marble Arch, in a quiet street not far from Oxford Street. Its chef Tomasz Barranski previously cooked at Barrafina, though he was not at service when I visited. The dining room was quite small and sparsely decorated, with an open kitchen at one side of the room. The short wine list had detailed notes on each wine, prices starting at £17 but including a few grander selections. El Cortijo De La Vieja Iniza Four Cepas Tierra Laujar Alpujarra 2009 was £22 for a wine you can find in the high street for £12, Psi 2009 from Pingus was £70 for a wine that will set you back £29 in a shop, and Remirez de Ganuza 2005 was £105 for a wine that retails at £53. Bread was bought in from a bakery I had not come across, and was uninspired. Leek, egg, apple and mayonaisse salad (£2.50) was served on a piece of toast, and was heavy on the mayonnaise and too light on the apple, so was rather too rich (12/20). Jabugo ham (£18) is a top class pata negra and is of course a bought-in product, but the carving of the ham makes a difference, and here it did not seem particularly skilled, with too many rather hard pieces served. In San Sebastian the pinxtos bar Nestor serves the most famous tortilla in town, and I had by chance eaten this very tortilla just a few weeks before my visit here. The Donostia version (£5.50) was actually a very respectable rendition, served warm with a nicely balanced filling, the egg, potato and onion carefully cooked (14/20). Patatas bravas (£3.50) was much less good, the chips, which according to the menu were triple cooked but didn’t taste like it, were rather pale and soggy, served with a pleasant tomato sauce (11/20). The meat dishes were on surer ground. Pluma (pork shoulder at £12.50) was carefully cooked and had very good flavour and texture, served with a punchy Romesco sauce (14/20). Quail (£10.50) with slices of pickled vegetables (such as courgette) was itself very good, the quail cooked through nicely and served whole, but the pickled vegetables, a logical enough pairing, had rather too much vinegar, the sourness rather dominating the dish (still 13/20 due to the enjoyable quail). Lemon tart (£5) with summer fruit sauce and a couple of raspberries as garnish was very good, the pastry having pleasing texture and the lemon filling well constructed, rich but with enough acidity from the lemon to balance (14/20). Figs (£6.50) with vanilla cream were pleasant, though after eating figs from the markets in the Mediterranean it is always sad to compare the ones that we have to put up with in England. My main issue was that these figs, which were actually quite good by English standards, did not need the orange zest with them, which was rather distracting and detracted from the dish, at least to my taste (12/20). Coffee (£2.50) was a little on the bitter side. Service was friendly enough though pretty casual e.g. drinks were topped up irregularly, and staff did not seem to always know who had ordered what; not a big deal in a tapas bar, but what was more irritating was that we turned up for an early lunch at noon (which is the time that their web site said that they opened) only to be told that the kitchen didn't start operations until 12:30 - restaurants really need to be aware that in this day and age customers are relying on the accuracy of their web sites. The bill came to £40 a head for three dishes each plus dessert, with only tap water (and a coffee) to drink. This is not unreasonable in the evening, but at lunch there are no obvious concessions, and at lunchtime many much grander London restaurants than here offer set meals for a lower price. Still, Donostia is a pleasant if slightly inconsistent addition to the already quite extensive list of capable tapas bars in London.
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Visited On Thursday, 11 October 2018

Lovely restaurant

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Visited On Thursday, 11 October 2018

The pintxos are superb and we are huge fans of San Sebastián and this is the real thing just wonderful.

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Visited On Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Lovely G&T to start in a goldfish bowl. The specials one after another were superb. Wine paired with the cheese was exceptional. Then another G&T to finish. A great first visit - we would like yo live there!

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Visited On Friday, 05 October 2018

Great food. Great vibe.

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Visited On Tuesday, 25 September 2018

the food and service is great. When you are sitting in the back you are loosing some of the atmosphere and you feel your are in the "second" space - if possible try to get a table in the front part

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Visited On Saturday, 22 September 2018

Amazing authentice Basque cuisine. Great service and we had a wonderful evening. We will be going back soon!

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Visited On Saturday, 22 September 2018

Superb quality food. Lovely service

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Visited On Friday, 21 September 2018

Always enjoy our dining experience in Donostia. Food deliciously fresh, staff warm and welcoming, great wine and all reasonably priced!

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Visited On Friday, 21 September 2018

Wonderful restaurant. I’ve been here many times and it’s always fantastic- the food, the wine and the service. A real favourite

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Visited On Thursday, 20 September 2018

Great find. Very unique and delicious tapas. Great service as well.

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Visited On Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Delicious food & buzzy but relaxed atmosphere. We will be back!

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Visited On Sunday, 16 September 2018

Lovely reminder of Catalan cuisine. Perfect if you’re hungry, or just want a light snack.

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Visited On Sunday, 16 September 2018

Really good service, and food always reliable . Great for casual get together with friends, no fuss no hype

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Visited On Saturday, 15 September 2018

Trendy hip place with excellent tapas and chill atmosphere. Delicious croquetas, soft as butter oxtails and great bread pudding dessert. excellent waitstaff! Would definitely return if in London.

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Visited On Sunday, 09 September 2018

Cuando hice la reserva, reservé mesa a las 20.30 pensando que no habría problema y teniendo en cuenta que vuestro sistema ofrecía mesa a esa hora. No caí en la cuenta de que cerráis a las 21.00 y cuando llegamos allí básicamente tuvimos que pedir todo rapidísimo y un poco agobiados. El servicio fue muy deficiente. Llegamos a las 20.20 y hasta las 20.40 no tuvimos las cartas para poder pedir, lo que nos agobió aún más. Las camareras no fueron precisamente amables, no dieron ni las buenas tardes y te traían los platos prácticamente soltándolos en la mesa. Una camarera, que parecía que no hablaba español, era la única que me pareció profesional y encantadora. Eso sí, la comida estaba muy rica aunque viendo que era un lugar vasco me sorprendí con los platos gallegos :) me hubiera encantado ver algo más de la tierra! Pero sin duda la comida espectacular, a pesar de una experiencia no demasiado buena en cuanto al servicio se refiere...

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Visited On Thursday, 06 September 2018

With a party of 3 we chose Donostia for this year's annual 'reunion' dinner, having been recommended to try the restaurant. We enjoyed excellent food, wine and service in a relaxed atmosphere with an authentic 'feel'. We chose across the tapas menu until our waiter suggested 'that would be enough' and the arrival of food kept pace with and complimented the conversation perfectly. We inquired if we would be able to keep the table longer than the advised 2 hours and by luck were told this was possible and although the restaurant was full we did not feel pressured in terms of time. A thoroughly enjoyable evening, we will be back and would highly recommend Donostia.

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Visited On Wednesday, 05 September 2018

Overall nice, service wasn't great maybe because we were in the corner but we were pretty much ignored and had to put our hands up and really try to get attention for another glass of wine!

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Visited On Thursday, 30 August 2018

Excellent as always. Delicious food and great service!

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Visited On Thursday, 23 August 2018

Very friendly and helpful staff made for a good experience.

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Visited On Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Excellent evening - a little too fast service to start but afterwards the staff understood and adjusted.

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Visited On Sunday, 19 August 2018

Good. But expensive

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Visited On Saturday, 18 August 2018

this was my 4th visit - always a pleasure.

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Visited On Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Set menu was very good and excellent value. The white wine pairing was a really yummy and interesting wine - worth having the bigger glass for a small extra charge. Friendly staff, pleasantly efficient service. The only small negative is that the menu was a bit short on green veg choices to add as a side to the mains/larger plates which came without any veg at all.

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Visited On Sunday, 12 August 2018

Absolutely delicious meal with a wonderful gin and tonic to start -- and lovely, helpful staff to boot.

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Visited On Monday, 06 August 2018

Great food, service, special tastes and options.

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