Some of you may know we are pretty obsessed with Anthony Bordain, and ever since we saw his Parts Unknown episode on San Sebastian we knew we had to go. (Although, we do think that about almost all of the places he goes on that show).
San Sebastián is known for its food. It has an incredibly high number of Michelin starred restaurants per square metre, coming second only to Kyoto in Japan. The people and chefs of San Sebastián and the basque region really care about food, they use quality ingredients and the results are almost always outstanding. That is even true with the food you get at a bar. This even has its own name, pintxos.
Pintxos literally means spike, and these delicious bar snacks get their name from the cocktail sticks that are usually popped in the top. Typically pintxos are pieces of bread with different toppings, but they can be way more than that. Think of it as Northern Spanish tapas. We had a few pintxos stops during our stay in SS but most notably would be the one night we bar hopped and ate as we went. This is arguably the best way to eat pintxos and see San Sebastian’s old town.
We made a list of all the places we wanted to go, taking inspiration from Parts Unknown as well as local recommendations and online reviews. Our list looked something like this:
Cervecerias La Mejillonera
La Cuchara de San Telmo
There’s also some bad food in San Sebastián. We had terrible tortillas from one bar, for example.
Its not all Pintxos though. Our best meal came from a restaurant called Casa 887. Small plates of delicious simple food, brave chefs putting together dishes that showcase ingredients in their simplest form with little extravagance or dressing up. You’ll rarely find herbs used here basque cookery. Perfect seasoning, a little olive oil and heat – although not always – is all that food sees before being served to you.
We had our hearts set on eating at Etxebarri but we were far too late with booking. Honestly we’re pretty gutted about it and even the delicious food we did eat has not snuffed that flame. This just means we need to return to San Sebastián one day, with a hefty amount in our bank account!
Our food highlights were:
- Tomatoes @ Casa 887
- Cheesecake @ Casa 887
- Txipirones @ Bar Valles
- Tuna and anchovy pintxos (found everywhere, best at Bergara)
- Everything at La Cuchara, but especially the morcilla with honey and veal cheeks
- Prawn spring roll @ La Viña
- Famous cheesecake @ La Viña
If you want a visual here is a “reel” of our pintxos bar crawl on our Instagram @candame_adventures