Dating back more than 200 years, Fortaleza is one of Oiartzun’s oldest buildings. Its sturdy walls have endured the passing of time, repelling attacks and witnessing the myriad historical changes to have taken place until now, when it is recognised as one of the area’s most iconic buildings.
The earliest traces of its construction date from 1786. For many years the northwest facing wall had embrasures from which weapons were fired to ward off oncoming attacks. Years later a farmhouse was rebuilt on its foundations as the home of a local family.
It wasn’t until 1987 that the building opened to the public as a restaurant. For twenty years it was run by Simona and her husband, Patrick Leveque, a French chef who offered a select menu, a rather unusual proposal at the time for the locals and regulars who were accustomed to more standard fare.
Those were years of buoyant gastronomic success, during which the leading chefs of Basque nouvelle cuisine were habitual visitors.
New Fortaleza 1786 is a homage to tradition, a tribute to the cuisine of Simona and Patrick and an initiative bringing a modern slant to the doors of the Peñas de Aya nature reserve.