Pintxo hopping in San Sebastián

San Sebastián (Donostia), Spain is known for delicious food. The city has a high number of Michelin stars. However, we went there for the pintxos, which are a version of tapas in the Basque Country. Though small in individual size, you can certainly make an entire meal out of pintxos by hopping from one pintxo bar to the next.

Typical pintxo spread (Dakara bi Taberna)

In many pintxo bars in San Sebastián, you can ask for a small plate, un platito, and start adding tasty items from the bar to your plate.

You also can usually ask for something made to order from the menu, like this delicious beef cheek over a potato purée with a Rioja wine sauce and coarse salt sprinkled on top:

Or a small piece of perfectly medium-rare sirloin topped with seared foie gras and a Port wine reduction:

From Dakara bi Taberna

The menus were almost always written in Basque, so you might need to ask questions to clarify what you are ordering.

Menu written in Basque at A Fuego Negro in the Old Town

Our favorite pintxo bar was La Cuchara del San Telmo in the Old Town. Once we discovered it, we ate there every time it was open.

Pig’s ear

The narrow bar serves pintxos to order, and you can sip the local white wine, Txakoli, as you find a space to set your plates. I was addicted to the aforementioned beef cheek and also their slow-cooked suckling pig. We tried several unique dishes, such as pig’s ear and octopus. While not things I typically order, I was impressed by the presentation and with being able to try so many different foods.

Despite the gourmet taste and appearance of the pintxos we ate, the quality-to-price ratio was amazing. All of the pintxos described above were each less than 4€. The drinks are also reasonably priced with small glasses of beer or wine costing around 1.50€.

During our half of a week trip, we did not eat any meals sitting or any in just one place. It’s marvelous to be able to stop, eat and drink a little bit, and continue on in search of more regional specialties and unique surprises.

A thumbs up at one pintxo bar

My husband and I visited San Sebastián, Spain in August 2012 during the La Semana Grande festival week and also went to Bilbao, Figueres, Girona, and Barcelona

We ate a lot of pintxos, and our favorites in San Sebastián came from the following bars:

La Cuchara del San Telmo
Calle del Treinta y Uno de Agosto, 28

Dakara bi Taberna
Calle del Treinta y Uno de Agosto, 27

Ramuntxo Berri
Calle Peña y Goñi, 10

Aita Mari
Calle del Puerto, 23

Bar Astelena
Calle Inigo 1


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