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San Sebastian Pintxos Guide


Each spot offers a wide range of tapas with a whole lot of variety, but realize that each one will have one or two specialties worth seeking out.

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San Sebastian Pintxos Guide


Each spot offers a wide range of tapas with a whole lot of variety, but realize that each one will have one or two specialties worth seeking out.


As if beautiful beaches, Belle Époque architecture, and a prominent film festival isn’t enough, San Sebastian holds the bragging rights to more Michelin stars per person than any other city.

But there is no need to spend your time or money at these temples of haute cuisine to enjoy great food in San Sebastian. Twice a day, you can amble from tapas bar to tapas bar enjoying creative and delicious pintxos (small snacks, pronounced “pin-choss” ). The ritual is called txikiteo, which is basically a bar-hopping, canape-driven cocktail party.

Napkins on the floor at a pintxos bar | Jamon Pintxo | Traditional Txakoli Long Pour | Photo Credits: Find. Eat. Drink.

Napkins on the floor at a pintxos bar | Jamon Pintxo | Traditional Txakoli Long Pour | Photo Credits: Find. Eat. Drink.

The pintxos are displayed on the bar and rarely is there a menu to order from. You can either point (depending on your language skills) and be served, or just grab what you want to eat. Everything is on the honor system and you pay when you are done, based on what you drank and how much you ate. Don’t worry about throwing your napkin on the ground. It’s the local way. The portions are bite-sized and range from the simple (cod croquetas, fried anchovies), to more elaborate (salmon mousse, vegetable terrine), to the grandiose (baby squid stuffed with spring onion; duck, apple, pine nuts and Calvados).

A large number of the bars are in the Parte Vieja (old quarter), which makes it easy to wander from place to place, but it is worth exploring further afield as well. The pintxos are served in the early afternoon and evening. Generally, people either sip a beer, a glass wine (Txakoli, being the local wine of choice), or the local Basque cider.

All of the restaurants, bars and food shops come recommended by well-regarded chefs, bartenders and sommeliers. To get the full San Sebastian Guide download the Find. Eat. Drink. iPhone app.


BREAKFAST

Bread, pastries, and Right Side Coffee at The Loaf (Photographs courtesy of The Loaf and Right Side Coffee)

Bread, pastries, and Right Side Coffee at The Loaf (Photographs courtesy of The Loaf and Right Side Coffee)

Baked Goods | The Loaf

Artisan breads, sweets and coffee from Right Side.

“This is by far the best bakery in town and the only place for artisanal coffee.” - Chef Kevin Patricio of La Madame

18 Avenida de Zurriola, San Sebastian 20002
T: +34.943.26.50.30 | theloaf.es

Coffee | Right Side Coffee

Located inside of The Loaf and run by Spain’s four-time barista champion Javier Garcia. He serves Right Side’s single origin coffees.

“One of my favorites for a morning coffee.” - Sommelier Jacopo Focacci, formerly of Restaurant Arzak

The Loaf, Avenida de Zurriola, 18, San Sebastian 20002
T: +34.493.26.50.30 | www.rightsidecoffee.com


Coffee & Pastries | Cafeteria Iturralde

A coffee shop with pastries and sandwiches.

“One of my favorites for a morning coffee.” - Sommelier Jacopo Focacci, formerly of Restaurant Arzak

Avenida Libertad, 11, San Sebastian 20004
T: +34.943.42.88.69 | cafeiturralde.com

Photograph courtesy of Kafe Botanika

Photograph courtesy of Kafe Botanika

Baked Goods | Kafe Botanika

Locals cafe with a private garden overlooking the river that runs through the city. Come early for breakfast and a coffee or late for cocktails. They also serve a lot of vegetarian options.

“One of my morning stops for a coffee.” - Sommelier Jacopo Focacci, formerly of Restaurant Arzak

8 Arbol de Gernika Ibibidea, San Sebastian 20006
T: +34.943.44.34.75

Baked Goods & Coffee | Meyvi

Baked goods, savory and sweet, and coffee all made here.

“One of my favorites for a morning coffee.” - Sommelier Jacopo Focacci, formerly of Restaurant Arzak

19 Gran Via, San Sebastian 20001
T: +34.843.63.01.26


SHOPPING

Mercado de la Bretxa | Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Mercado de la Bretxa | Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Browse the Local Food | Mercado de la Bretxa

You’ll find catch of the day, local produce, and regional specialties at this indoor market.

“So unique and a great reflection of the local regional foods.” - Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz of Mugaritz

Calle de Aldamar, San Sebastian 20003
T: +34.493.43.03.36 | cclabretxa.com

Wine and local provisions at Lukas Gourmet | Photograph courtesy of Lukas Gourmet

Wine and local provisions at Lukas Gourmet | Photograph courtesy of Lukas Gourmet

Buy Wine | Lukas Gourmet

A wine emporium and specialty foods store.

“The have a very good selection of Spanish wine.” - Sommelier Jacopo Focacci, formerly of Restaurant Arzak

Julio Caro Baroja Plaza, 1, San Sebastian 20018 | T: +34.943.22.48.00
Av de Zurriola, 1, San Sebastian 20002 | T: +34.493.32.76.77
lukasgourmet.com

Buy Old Wine | Vinos Ezeiza

The oldest wine shop in San Sebastian offering many aged wines.

“They have the best selection of old vintage Spanish wine.” - Sommelier Jacopo Focacci, formerly of Restaurant Arzak

Calle Prim, 16, San Sebastian 20006
T: +34.943.46.68.14 | vinosezeiza.com


TRADITIONAL TAPAS in PARTE VIEJA

Atari Gastroteka

A gastroteka for croquettas, jamon, and other traditoinal pintxos. Look for the taco with guacamole.

“I love their pintxos.” - Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz of Mugaritz

“I stop in here for the croquetas de jamon (ham croquettes) and salmon marinado (marinated salmon).” - Sommelier Jacopo Focacci, formerly of Restaurant Arzak

Mayor Kalea, 18, San Sebastian 20003
T: +39.943.42.97.86

Morcilla and Peppers at Bar Goiz Argi | Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Morcilla and Peppers at Bar Goiz Argi | Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Bar Goiz Argi (Lunch and Dinner)

Their specialities include brocheta de gambas (shrimp on a skewer) and morcilla (blood sausage).

“Super tiny and always packed. Order brochettes de gambas, morcilla, and the balon de carne, a fried croquette of beef and piquillo bound loosely with a bechamel.” - Chef Kevin Patricio of La Madame

“There are many superlative tapas spots in the old quarters, but I really like this one.” - Wine Importer Andre Tamers of De Maison Selections

Calle de Fermin Calbeton, 4, San Sebastian 20003
T: +34.493.42.52.04

Bacalao at Borda Berri | Photo Credit: Krista [Flickr]

Bacalao at Borda Berri | Photo Credit: Krista [Flickr]

Borda Berri

This pintxo bar changes their menu often, but there are standouts to look for, including the crispy pig ears, and the squid ink and mushroom risottos.

“This bar is similar to La Cuchara de San Telmo.” - Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz of Mugaritz

“This is an always crowded staple for Donostiarras. It’s hard to find many holes in their pintxos list. Check out the tender cooked arm of octopus with pimento or any braised meat they serve.” - Chef Kevin Patricio of La Madame

“Order the Magret de Pato Asado Lentamente (slow roasted duck) and Oreja de Cerdo Crujente con Tximitxorri (crispy pig’s ear with chimichurri sauce).” - Sommelier Jacopo Focacci, formerly of Restaurant Arzak

Fermin Calbeton, 12, San Sebastian 20003
T: +39.943.43.03.42

Bar Nestor (Lunch and Dinner)

Opened in 1980, their menu features classic dishes like ensalada de tomate (tomato salad), steak, gildas and green peppers, and potato tortillas.

“They specialize in txuleton de buey (beef steak), tortilla de patata (Spanish omelette), tomato salad (when in season), gildas (anchovies, olives, and guindilla)” - Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz of Mugaritz

Calle Pescaderia, 11, San Sebastian 20003
T: +34.943.424.873 | barnestor.com

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Ganbarra

For Txangurro (Basque-style stuffed crabs), hongos a la plancha con un yema de huevo (seasonal grilled mushrooms with an egg yolk), pulpo (braised octopus), percebes (goose barnacles).

“Order the hongos a la plancha con un yema de huevo that will normally consist of fresh porcinis, depending on the season. The pulpo (braised octopus) is the best in the city. Exercise patience and wait for a fresh batch of warm mini-croissants of the jamon de jabugo. Other exceptional plates include percebes (goose barnacles), in the right season. The kokotxas de merluza are a must have. They are fish throats that are gently poached and shaken with garlic, olive oil, and parsley. In addition to tapas, you can sit for a proper dinner downstairs. ” - Chef Kevin Patricio of La Madame

“Finding the same tapas bars you like a second time is always an adventure, but this is another one of my favorites in the old part of the town.” - Wine Importer Andre Tamers of De Maison Selections

Calle San Jeronimo, 21, San Sebastian 20003
T: +34.943.42.25.75 | ganbarajatetxea.com

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Txepetxa

An award-winning pintxos bar and a great place for many different renditions of delicious antxoas (anchovies).

“The specialties are anchovies and spider crab toast, jardiniera-style anchovy toast.” - Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz of Mugaritz

“The valhalla of fresh anchovy dishes. A haven for white anchovies. Order a glass of Txakoli with anchovies. Get the barman’s selection of marinate white anchovies served on a thick slice of baguette with black olive, piquillo, aioli.” - Chef Kevin Patricio of La Madame

Pescaderia, 5, San Sebastian 20003
T: +39.943. 42.22.27 | bartxepetxa.com

MODERN PINTXOS in PARTE VIEJA

Modern Tapas at Bar Zeruko | Photograph courtesy of Bar Zeruko

Modern Tapas at Bar Zeruko | Photograph courtesy of Bar Zeruko

Bar Zeruko

Very sophisticated and modern pintxos.

“Order the award-winning specials of the house from the board, like balalao (cod) and anchovies.” - Chef Kevin Patricio of La Madame

“Order the minitarrina de bacalao al sarmiento con ensalada efervescente de caserio (mini cod terrine) and Txupa Txup de bacalao al pilpil de piquilo con patata y ensalada de puerro con tallarin de pimiento (cod with potato and a salad with a ribbon of pepper).” - Sommelier Jacopo Focacci, formerly of Restaurant Arzak

Calle Pescaderia, 10, San Sebastian 20003
T: +39.943.42.34.51 | barzeruko.com

A Fuego Negro (Parte Fieja)

A contemporary-designed black and red tapas bar that takes their pintxos to an avant-garde level of sophistication. Look for the mini-Kobe beef burger and with banana chips.

“Lesser known, but run by a young, talented chef offering seasonal menus.” - Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz of Mugaritz

“For Txangurro, aguacate, regliz (three scoops served together that are Basque-style stuffed spider crab, avocado purée, and sweet licorice ice cream).” - Sommelier Jacopo Focacci, formerly of Restaurant Arzak

Calle de 31 De Agosta 31, San Sebastian 20003
T: +39.650.13.53.73 | afuegonegro.com


BEER BREAK IN-BETWEEN PINTXOS

Beer at Never Stop | Photograph courtesy of Never Stop

Beer at Never Stop | Photograph courtesy of Never Stop

Never Stop

Cerveceriá featuring beers from around the world and many of them locally-made.

“This is a one-stop shop to sample beers from the burgeoning local (Pais Vasco) and domestic (Spain) craft beer scene.” - Chef Kevin Patricio of La Madame

6 Reyes Catolicos Kalea, San Sebastian 20006
T: +34.649.42.75.69


TRADITIONAL PINTXOS in CENTRO

 Lightly seared foie gras with sweet and tart apple puree at La Cuchara de San Telmo | Photo Credit: Krista [Flickr]

 Lightly seared foie gras with sweet and tart apple puree at La Cuchara de San Telmo | Photo Credit: Krista [Flickr]

La Cuchara de San Telmo

Down the alley near the church, they specialize in carrillerras de ternera (braised veal cheeks).

“This pintxos here fall on the more modern end of the spectrum. The menu changes often, but the carrillerras de ternera (braised veal cheak) are always there to satisfy you as you peruse the menu.” - Chef Kevin Patricio of La Madame

“Order the bacalao confitado con patata y berza (cod with potatoes and cabbage) and the kokotxa de bacalao al pil pil (cod cheeks cooked with olive oil, garlic, and parsley).” - Sommelier Jacopo Focacci, formerly of Restaurant Arzak

Calle de Treinta y Uno de Agosta, 28, San Sebastian 20003
T: 34.943.42.08.40 | lacucharadesantelmo.com

Bar Antonio

This is a tapas bar that is not located amongst the others. A chalk board lists the specials with ingredients found in the market that day.

“This is a little ‘almost nothing to look at’ pintxos bar with a good selection of wines along with the cold and hot pintxos. Don’t miss the hot pintxos of foie gras or morcilla and the cold pintxo of cured anchovies with peppers.” - Chef Kevin Patricio of La Madame

Calle Bergara, 3, San Sebastian 20005
T: +39.943.42.98.15 | barantonio.net


TRADITIONAL PINTXOS in GROS

Bar Bergara | Photo Credit: Kent Wang [Flickr]

Bar Bergara | Photo Credit: Kent Wang [Flickr]

Bar Bergara

Stop in here for their specialty of bacalao a la Vizcaina (cod).

“They have a great selection of wines and a range of pintxos in a very casual and inviting setting.” - Chef Kevin Patricio of La Madame

Calle General Arteche, 8, San Sebastian 20002
T: +39.943.27.50.26 | pinchosbergara.com

Hidalgo 56

Winner of the Mas Gastronomia Award for Best Pintxos in 2012. They specialize in anchovies, a mojito tomato and jamon, sausage with egg, raisons and apple, and cod baked with pepper.

“I love this place for pintxos. Get sashimi de bonito con genjibre piparras y mermelada de tomate (tuna sashimi with ginger and tomato jam piparras) and bacalao gratinado y jugo de pimientos (cod with grilled peppers).” - Sommelier Jacopo Focacci, formerly of Restaurant Arzak

De Colon Ibildidea, 15, San Sebastian 20002
T: +34.943.27.96.54

Pintxos at Bodega Donostiarra | Photograph courtesy of Bodega Donostiarra

Pintxos at Bodega Donostiarra | Photograph courtesy of Bodega Donostiarra

Wine & Pintxos | Bodega Donostiarra

Featuring pintxos and a few menu items include steak, morcilla crujientita con su pimiento (blood sausage with sauteed peppers), and mini de jamon (ham on baguette).

“Order the mini completo, indurian, tortilla, mini de jamon, and plato de vinagres.” - Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz of Mugaritz

“This is a pintxos bar with a great selection of wines by the glass.” - Sommelier Jacopo Focacci, formerly of Restaurant Arzak

Calle Peña y Goñi, 13, San Sebastian 20002
T: +39.943.011.380 | bodegadonostiarra.com

POST PINTXOS WHISKY + GIN TONIC

Gin Tonics at Museo del Whisky | Photograph courtesy of Museo del Whisky

Gin Tonics at Museo del Whisky | Photograph courtesy of Museo del Whisky

Museo del Whisky

Decorated with 3,400 different bottles of whisky, the largest collection of whisky in Europe in a bar. Pedro Bordonaba, who is the father of owner Paul Bordonaba, was a cook in the UK and a collector of whisky bottles. He moved back to the Basque Country and opened a bar. When people passed through, they left a bottle. The tradition still continues with Paul and his sister.

“An amazing whisky selection and they also make a perfect gin and tonic. Go early before the Spanish cougars come out.” - Chef Kevin Patricio of La Madame

Boulevard Zumardia, 5, 20003 San Sebastian
T: +34.943.42.64.78 | www.museodelwhisky.com


Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.


LATE NIGHT

La Madame

This is a combo restaurant, cocktail bar and lounge. Chef Kevin Patricio worked in top New York restaurants before relocating to the Basque Country. 

"Come here for cocktails." - Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz of Mugaritz

“For the slow poached egg, quinoa caviar, horseradish, blinis and roasted leek. Also the Vietnamese-style sandwich: banh mi of braised pork, pickles, nuoccham aioli.” - Sommelier Jacopo Focacci, formerly of Restaurant Arzak

Open until 2am, 3am on weekends
San Bartolome Kalea, 35, 20007 San Sebastian
 |  T: +34.943.444.269
www.lamadamesansebastian.com


A BIT FURTHER AFIELD in GETARIA

Elkano Txiki

This is the original location of the famous fish restaurant Elkano where grillmaster Pedro Arregui started. After being closed for 26 years, Pedro’s son Aitor re-opened it as a tapas bar.

“This is from the people who own Elkano, but it’s in bar and pintxos form. Down the street from the original Elkano, it was the first place that the founder of Elkano, Pedro Arregui, opened in 1964.” - Chef Kevin Patricio of La Madame

13 Calle Elkano, Getaria 20808
T: +34.943.14.00.17

Souvenirs


Souvenirs


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Txakoli White Wine

Take home a bottle of the local wine that is a key component of the pintxos experience. It's a young, bright, almost fizzy white wine drinks best when poured from a height and splashed into a beaker-like glass.

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Txakoli & Cider Pourer

In all the pintxo bars in San Sebastian, when you order a glass or Txakoli or cider, you'll see the bartender pour from a height and cause some frothing and fizziness in the glass. Bring home a cheap souvenir to replicate the experience at home.

Basque Cider

Not the sweet or even bubbly versions of cider you find in the US or in England, Basque Cider is mildly spritzy and definitely a little funky. You'll find more sour apple notes than fresh apple expressions.

Map


Map


FED Pros


FED Pros


andoniluisaduriz_1-3-2.jpg

Andoni Luis
Aduriz

Chef and owner of Mugaritz in the hillside of San Sebastian.

Kevin
Patricio

Chef and co-owner of La Madame in San Sebastian.

Jacopo
ocacci

Sommelier, Champagne Master, Master of Food, Court of Master Sommelier formerly at Arzak in San Sebastian.

Andre
Tamers

Wine importer and founder of De Maison Selection.

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