The Basque country is renowned for the quality of its food, with San Sebastian flying the flag for its haute cuisine. No wonder, then, that San Sebastian and the surrounding area are home to some of the world’s best restaurants, including Arzak, El Akelarre and El Mugaritz, all of which hold multiple Michelin stars.
As well as restaurants, we have to mention the pintxo bars. Pintxos (the basque word for tapas) are a cuisine in miniature found in bars all over the city.
In this article, we take a tour around the best pintxo bars in San Sebastian’s old town
- Bar Zeruko: In this bar you’ll find a counter full of sophisticated and lovingly crafted pintxos. Each of them will surprise and delight; you can’t fail to be impressed. Try ‘La Hoguera’ (‘the bonfire’), a smoked cod pintxo which is a house speciality.
Pescadería 10 Street. www.barzeruko.com
- Bar Bordi Berri: A traditional old town bar. You really have to try their rice dishes: arroz bomba con chipirón, with baby cuttlefish or the risotto with queso de idiazábal, the local ewes’ milk cheese. It’s also famous for carrillera de ternera (braised calf cheeks).
Fermín Calbetón 12
- La Cuchara de San Telmo: A small bar with a younger clientele, usually full to bursting. If you manage to muscle your way in and find yourself a space, we recommend trying the cannelloni or foie with compota de manzana (apple compote).
31 de Agosto Street. www.lacucharadesantelmo.com
- Ganbara: A San Sebastian classic! The pintxos here are simple but traditional and well executed. The hojaldre de chistorra, a Basque take on the sausage roll, is one of our favourites.
San Jerónimo Street. www.ganbarajatetxea.com
- Gandarias: Like the Gambera, this is another traditional old town bar. Don’t miss the sirloin steak pintxo de solomillo.
31 de Agosto Street. www.restaurantegandarias.com
- La Viña: A good place to finish your San Sebastian pintxo crawl. Try their famous cheesecake; one of the best you’ve ever tasted.
31 de Agosto Street. www.santiagorivera.com
- A Fuego Negro: One of the city’s more modern bars. The pintxos here are highly sophisticated and delicious. It may be a little more expensive than other places, but it’s worth it for the work that goes into their pintxos.
31 de Agosto Street. www.afuegonegro.com.
- Goiz-Argi: A very small and slightly uncomfortable bar but well worth a visit. Goiz-Agri is one of the bars most often recommended by guidebooks. Try the famous brocheta de gambas (prawn skewer).
Fermín Calvetón Street. https://plus.google.com
- Paco Bueno: This bar is very different to the others. Here, you’ll find very simple but freshly prepared pintxos. There’s nothing glamorous about this old bar, but it’s one of the most popular with San Sebastian locals. It’s renowned for its calamares (squid) and gambas rebozadas (battered prawns).
We recommend you our San Sebastian Pintxos tour. The easiest way to discover the best pintxos bars with our expert guide.
If you visit San Sebastian, you have to go out for pintxos at least once. It’s one of the most unique and fun experiences the city has to offer.
You can also find many pintxo bars in the city centre and Gros, another traditional neighbourhood to sample the city’s cuisine in miniature.