Our rental apartment in San Sebastian was owned by the friendliest and most well-informed pintxo bar guide you can imagine. First off, I should give a shout out to our little home, Pension Irkia. Just steps from the beach and old town, our compact room came with a kitchenette, comfy bed, and 24 hour tea and coffee in the foyer. Upon arrival the host handed us his own personal pintxo map – claiming that off the 200(!) pintxo bars in the city, he had been to 150 and personally created his own restaurant guide to San Sebastian. Armed with an expert, we did our very best to hit the highlights. It´s fair to say you will eat and drink until you are beyond full in this city. Below is our top 10 Pintxos Bars in San Sebastian.
Recommendation: croqueta de Txipiron en su Tinta
The “squid ink” croquettes were hot and crunchy, full of rich black batter, color credited to the ink. Though they might look strange they are delicious. 2.50 euro, 5/5
Pairs well with the house “Sirimiri” vermouth, 3.50 euro
Recommendation: Brocheta de hongos
The mushrooms, served with salty ham and cheese sauce, were ridiculously good. 2.75 euros for 3 giant grilled mushrooms, 5/5.
Pairs well with Golfo vermouth, 3 euro
Recommendation: Tarta del Queso
The famous cheesecake was, literally, the best cheesecake I´ve ever had. I couldn´t stop eating it, and I don´t even really like cheesecake. 5 euro for a giant piece, 5/5
We counted, there were a total of 18 huge cheesecakes cooling on the shelves for one night’s worth of customers, clearly the secret it out.
Bonus: Chorizo cooked in local cider, also very good. 4/5.
Recommendation: Foie and fancy vermouth
We did not try the foie, just the vermouth. Various varieties will set you back 2.5 euro for a half portion and 3.5 for a full. All delicious. They serve chocolate mousse in flower pots here too.
Recommendation: tomato salad, fried green peppers, and dinosaur-sized bone in steaks (Txuleta).
Already flagging a little (clearly we need to work harder), we went for just the peppers and tomato salad. This bar was the busiest one by far, absolutely packed with locals and tourists alike. We put our names on the list and took a vermouth outside in the street (of course) to wait. After a good 30 minutes, we were swept inside and given a miniscule patch of bar to eat at. The bar is loud, smells of smoke and steak, and so much fun. The tomatoes arrive, fresh as can be and dripping with local olive oil and tons of flakey sea salt. The peppers are blistered and also doused in a good dose of salt. Delicious, but salty. 4/5. We saw several of the steaks flying out the door, quite literally the size of a baby and served blood rare. Two skinny tourists from Malaysia waded through an entire one between the two of them – impressive.
Recommendation: Morcilla de cebolla
I looooove blood sausage. This one, as you can see for yourself below, looked entirely disgusting, but was probably the best one I´ve ever had. Laced with a good dose of sweet onions. 4.5/5
Recommendation: Sopa de Bacalao
The famous cod is crafted into a miniature-sized soup here, with bread for dipping. 3.5/5.
Recommendation: Fried eggplant layered with jamon and cheese
I mean, it´s fried stuff with cheese. Generally good. 4/5.
All the while our trip mascots (wine charms), Chuck and Butch, were ready to drink and eat with the rest of the bar.
9. Rojo y Negro
Recommendation: Deep fried artichoke with cheese. Very friendly and kind staff! 2.20 euro, 3.5/5
10. Aramendia Chocolates: Life is never complete with a dessert pintxo, right? Aramendia houses an amazing collection of truffles, bonbons, and bars.
I sincerely wish we could have tried all the places on the list of our host, as he definitely knows what he´s talking about when it comes to Pintxos. That just means we have to go back. . . and I highly encourage you to make a visit and make your own review of the best pintxos in San Sebastian!