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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 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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Visited On Thursday, 02 August 2018

Hello, I just wanted to say a huge thank you for last night. We had an absolutely wonderful time your private dining room and were so well looked after by your staff. The food was simply delicious and we were all wowed by the pork. Thank you for having us and look forward to coming back again soon! Kind regards, Sacha ________________________________________

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Visited On Friday, 03 August 2018

Excellent food, good service, and a reasonable bill. Can't ask for much more than that

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Visited On Thursday, 02 August 2018

Terrific food. Lovely waitress too.

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Visited On Saturday, 28 July 2018

We have been here many times and also recommended it to our friends too. All our friends who visited there were really impressed and we loved the new menu so much. The price is on the high side as most of the potions are quite small even for tapas, but this is happening to most of the restaurants in central London. Would strongly recommend it if you are not bothered by the price tags.

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Visited On Saturday, 28 July 2018

the restaurant has historically been one of our favourites in london and we have been 8-10 times over the past 18 months. we have not visited for a few months before this visit however and disappointed by the changes- new chef and food significantly less good in particular

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Visited On Saturday, 28 July 2018

Went for an anniversary dinner, staff were friendly and helpful and the food was excellent.

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Visited On Friday, 27 July 2018

A little wait for our table but this did not detract from the comfortable surroundings, great food and particularly the advice we were given as to how and what to order. Excellent service. You were recommended by our son and we were not disappointed. Thank you.

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Visited On Friday, 27 July 2018

Excellent as always. staff were great despite it being very busy.Well done to all especially our waitress who I think was Italian. She was great.

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Visited On Friday, 27 July 2018

You are up against some very stiff competition yet you excelled in every way. I will definitely be back!

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Visited On Thursday, 26 July 2018

The cooking was not at the usual standard we enjoyed in the past - the prawns were not fresh (the flesh was already mushy ) the duck was ‘swimming’ in oil but not much of the taste of the sauce and the special crab starter was full of cream and butter taste that there was no texture or crab meat. Disappointed as I was entertaining a friend visiting from Malaysia that evening.

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Visited On Wednesday, 18 July 2018

My favourite in London by far and this time we could enjoy the terrace. Specials are really good.

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Visited On Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Excellent

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Visited On Monday, 16 July 2018

The jamon iberico platters are to die for... enjoy!

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Visited On Saturday, 14 July 2018

Second time with you on Saturday and the food was wonderful. My fiancé is Basque and so we know the region very well. Your staff were lovely especially the Italian girl who wasn’t from Northern Spain - I guessed wrongly! Superb veal. We’ve had lunch at Lurra too but I prefer Donostia :)

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Visited On Sunday, 08 July 2018

Third time at the restaurant and all good experiences

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Visited On Saturday, 07 July 2018

Phenomenal food,equal only to great restaurants n Northern Spain combined with the best G and T for a hot hot day. We will be back whenever we are in London again.

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Visited On Friday, 06 July 2018

Donostia used to be really good, but the quality of the food was very poor last friday (everything was super heavy!) and the service was a real disaster. We were sitting outside and felt totally forgotten by the staff.

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Visited On Tuesday, 03 July 2018

Fantastic food Good wine list and not too expensive Really cool staff who are attentive and there when you need them Not sure how you fix it but acoustics are not the best so peoples conversation can spoil the occasion especially if they “ like the sound of their own voice” ....if you get my meaning I’ll bf back next Tuesday ....already booked

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Visited On Monday, 02 July 2018

Even if moving house means we no longer join you once a week, we still try to make it at least once a month. All the more perfect in the current weather, but always friendly and always delicious.

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Visited On Friday, 29 June 2018

I have been a couple of times at the sister restaurant which has an amazing personalised dervice. I know they work together but appear to loose once they criss the road. I have been here on Friday and was very disappointed. The Spanish waitress had no clue. I would fire her fire her for her utter ignorance and arrogance or shall I say non interest in her actual job. I lived years in Spain and know the food well. Not even the pan con tomate convinced me. Absolutely tasteless and watery not even with garlic which is the basic, basic ingredient for this dish. The rest was disappointing as well. Much overpriced for what it is really. The hype will hopefully soon go because there is better choices in London. Sorry guys but NOT like this. Una verdadera tomadura de pelo que es una vergüenza ya!

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Visited On Thursday, 28 June 2018

As a regular I am never disappointed but this week is was superb especially the special asparagus starter

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Visited On Thursday, 28 June 2018

Brought a table of 13 and everyone loved it - I often bring clients here as food and atmosphere and service are all superb . Highly recommend Donostia

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