2017 UPDATE: I’ve been back to San Sebastian 3 times since this post, check out my new Pintxos post: TOP 10 PINTXO BARS IN SAN SEBASTIAN + HOW TO EAT LIKE A LOCAL
San Sebastian is in Basque County of Northern Spain and is the heart of Basque cuisine. You’ll notice when you go to San Sebastian that all the signs are reminesent of Spanish. However, Spanish is not the native language of the land, it is Euskara. Ahhh, this explains why the word pintxos, pronounced “pinchos”, is spelled with an x. That just makes pintxos so much more badass and ups its street cred.
If you get nothing else out of Pintxos 101 today, I hope you know that if you ever go to San Sebastian – no, make that – WHEN you go to San Sebastian, you have to visit Gandarias to have this amazing pintxo.
Surprisingly, I didn’t actually do too much research prior to going to San Sebastian, and most of the pintxos hunting came about by chance. As we were crawling through the different bars, we came upon Gandarias and saw another couple being handed this delicacy over the counter and knew we had to have it right away. What came more unexpectedly after was the bill, which showed that each one only costed us €2.35. Shocker! You can’t even get a taco from the Kogi Truck for that cheap.
Couple the foie with a glass or two of wine for €1-2 and you have both a happy stomach and wallet.
We spent a total of three and a half days in San Sebastian with enough time to fit in seven solid meals (no breakfast). Since our time here was planned around meals, here’s how it played out:
Day 1: Lunch near hotel & Pintxos crawl
Day 2: Lunch at Bistro in Bilbao/Guggenheim (Best Lunch Prix Fixe of my life) & Pintxos crawl around Old Town
Day 3: Pintxos in Old Town & Dinner at 3 Michelin Star Arzak
Day 4: Last meal: Pintxos in Old Town
Notice a pattern? Pintxos crawling in Old Town was clearly a favorite San Sebastian pasttime, and by Day 4 our stomachs grew natural GPSs leading us to our favorite pintxos.
In addition to the pintxos, you can find tubs of stewed dishes on the counters. Find braised pig snout, meatballs, or mushrooms in small orders.
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