San Sebastián – My Top 5 Pintxos Bars

With more Michelin stars per capita than anywhere else in the world, San Sebastian has become one of the world’s most coveted foodie meccas. Its molecular basque cuisine continues to wow the world over with Michelin stars appearing seemingly at will – San Sebastian contains not one, but three triple starred restaurants! The real heart of San Sebastian’s food culture comes not from its high-end molecular gastronomy however, but simply from the quality of its everyday Pintxos. The historical centre is littered with hundreds upon hundreds of Pintxos bars serving a variety of mouth-watering snacks and individual dishes. For the everyday traveler the choice can be overwhelming but luckily, unlike other world city centres, its almost impossible to go wrong here. The beauty of Pintxos comes from its simplicity – high quality produce served in bite sized portions attached with bite sized price tags. If all you do is roll the dice and follow your nose the chances are you’ll eat well… Very well! If, however, you feel a little guidance is in order, then here is a list of my top 5 Pintxos bars in the stunning seaside mecca of San Sebastian…

#1 Borda Berri

In terms of quality across the board Borda Berri had the best Pintxos of all the bars we tried in San Sebastián. In particular the veal cheek was outstanding. We also tried their beautiful rich and creamy risotto, falls off the bone pork ribs and stunning fish of the day dish. Everything was delicious. Service was also very efficient. Highly recommended!!

#2 Casa Urola

There was one dish here that stood head and shoulders above the rest and was arguably the best single Pintxos we had anywhere! That was the Vieira en salsa ajoblanco, con algas y frutos secos. Or, in English, the Scallops in ajoblanco sauce with seaweed and pine nuts. Utterly divine! Some of the other dishes we tired included a mushroom dish covered in a creamy potato foam and also their guindillas peppers. Top notch Pintxos in nice surroundings. Highly recommended for the scallops if nothing else!!

#3 Bar Txepetxa

Bar Txepetxa specialises in anchovy pintxos that they serve on bread with a variety of different toppings. I highly recommend the Anchoa con huevas de trucha (with trout eggs), Anchoa con aceituna negra (with black olives) and Anchoa con centollo (with spider crab). The best and the most surprising however, was the Anchoa con arándanos – Anchovies with blueberries! Unusual but the sweet and salty complimented each another beautifully. Don’t forget to wash it all down with a glass of txakoli (salty, fizzy white wine poured from height)!

#4 Atari Gastroteka

Wonderful food, service and drink. From a variety of deliciousness highlights included the foie with white chocolate sauce, grilled bonito with quinoa and their slow cooked egg. Decadent!

#5 Gerald’s Bar

Ok so not technically a Pintxos bar but the tapas at Gerald’s bar is fantastic. Expect big delicious portions – ideal for sharing. We ordered their deviled eggs, stuffed peppers, salmon, avocado salad and tempura vegetables. The salmon in particular was to die for.The staff are super friendly and helpful and the bar itself is a wonderful place to chill. Oh and it has some local basque ales on tap to boot. Highly recommended!

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