San Sebastian, Spain Pintxos Reviews


San Sebastian, Spain

We visited San Sebastian (Donostia), Spain in 2017 and have some reviews for more casual restaurants in this review. If you are a foodie, you definitely need to visit this beautiful area.

Also checkout our reviews of legendary gastronomy temples:

Gorriti Taberna Pinxtos San Sebastian (1)

What are Pintxos?

San Sebastian is notorious for this fun way to eat! Think of it as a buffet spread that you can pick from. Pintxos are small snacks eaten in bars or taverns. One of the ‘novelties’ of pintxos is that you don’t order, you take it from the counter. It’s a bit of fun to order wine or beer and just start nibbling at what you see on the bar. You then normally just tell them at the end how many you’ve had and the barman will charge you accordingly. Some use toothpicks to tally the bill.

Gorriti Taberna Pinxtos San Sebastian (2)

A typical snack of the Basque Country, “pinchos” consist of small slices of bread upon which an ingredient or mixture of ingredients is placed and fastened with a toothpick, which gives the food its name “pincho”, meaning “spike.”

Gorriti Taberna Pinxtos San Sebastian (3)

Places to get Pintxos and other food in San Sebastian


Atari San Sebastian Pintxos (4)

atari gastroteka
Calle Mayor, 18
20013 San Sebastián
Guipúzcoa, Spain

TripAdvisor 4.5 out of 5

Atari San Sebastian Pintxos (2)

A busy Pintxos bar right across from the Church de Santa Maria in the Old Town.  Many folks buy their food here, and then sit on the steps of the Church.  Don’t be shy! You need to muscle yourself up to the bar and order your food.  We were instructed by our Pintxos tour leader to avoid ordering items sitting on the bar itself.  Look at the menus on the wall.

Must Order:

Atari San Sebastian Pintxos (3)

Patatas Bravas (5e) was a big dish full of well cooked cut up potatoes. Includes 2 sauces.  You need to order this one.

Foie Plancha (5e) was extremely cheap and excellent.  This would cost $25 in the US!  Again you need to order it.

Carrillera (4.5e) or veal cheeks had a great gravy for us to dip the patatas into. Very tender meat.

Red Wine (2.50e) is cheap and good. The same glass costs $15 in the US easily.

Mojito (8e) was expensive compared to the wine, and full of ice.  Still it is cheap compared to back home.

Overall – Very Good

Food – Very Good
Decor – Very Good
Service – Very Good
Value – Very Good

Would we come back – Yes

Pintxos San Sebastian

We took a tour of San Sebastian with a local firm mimofood that guided us to several spots and brought us food and drink.  We wish they would teach us how to survive on our own, but they really did not.

Guidelines for Pinxtos Success

  • Look for busy places
  • Slowly push your way up to the bar
  • Each place has specialties, try to ask around
  • Order off the menu and avoid the stuff sitting there

Other recommend restaurants and specialties for a Pinxtos Crawl:

–        Bar Sport (Fermin Calbeton Street)

o   Txipirón con vinagre de Modena y salsa de ajo y perejil – Baby squid with modena balsamic vinegar and parsley and garlic sauce

o Guindilla peppers & Txistorra Sausage

o  White Wine, Txakoli

–        Zumeltzegi (Fermin Calbetón street)

o   Brocheta de rape y lomo– Monkfish skewer and pork one

o   Guindilla peppers

o  White Wine, Verdejo grape

–        Casa Urola (Fermin Calbetón street)

o   Pintxo de Txuleta – T-Bone steak pintxo

o  Karmelita – Egg pintxo

o  Ensalada de tomate  – Tomato salad

o  White Wine, Txakoli

–       Borda Berri (Fermin Calbetón street) Similar to La Cuchara de San Telmo

o   Risotto de Idiazabal – Sheeps milk Cheese Risotto

o   Kebab de cerdo – Pork ribs with apple puree

o  Rose Wine from Navarra

–        Gandarias (31 de Agosto street)

o Solomillo – Sirloin

o  Jamón Ibérico de Bellota – Bellota Iberian Ham

o  Red Wine, Trus Roble from Ribera del Duero

–        La Viña (31 de Agosto street)

o   The best cheesecake from the city (or even the world!)

o   Drink: Sweet sherry wine, Pedro Ximénez

Other nice bars to visit:

–        Nestor (Pescadería street)

o   This is the bar I mentioned is well known for four things; the steak, the tomato salad, the pimientos de padrón and the tortilla de patata (for this remember to go 30 mins before to book your piece!).

–        Atari (by Santa María Church)

o   Foie a la plancha – Foie Gras

o   Carrilleras – Veal cheeks

–        La Cuchara de San Telmo (off 31 de Agosto street)

o   Foie gras membrillo – Foie gras with quince jelly

o   Cochinillo – Sukling Pig

–        Goiz Argi (Fermin Calbetón street)

o   Brocheta de gambas – Prawns skewer

–        Txuleta (off 31 de Agosto street)

o   Pintxo de Txuleta – T-Bone Steak on a Pintxo

o  Piquillo Peppers & Croquetas

–        Txepetxa (Pescadería street)

o   Anchoa con arándanos – Anchovy and blueberry

o   Anchoa con huevas de trucha – Anchovy and trout eggs

o   Anchoa con aceituna negra – Anchovy and black olives

o   Anchoa con centollo – Anchovy with spider crab (my favourite! :p)

–        A Fuego Negro (31 de Agosto street)

o   MCobe – Cobe beef mini burguer

–        La Mejillonera (Puerto street)

o   It may not look that nice from the outside, but they have the best;

  • Patatas Bravas
  • Calamares bravos – Calamrari with the bravas sauce
  • Tigres – Mussels with spicy tomato sauce

Enbeltran, 1
20003 San Sebastian

Trip Advisor 4.5 out of 5

Maiatza was a restaurant in the Old Town of San Sebastian, focused on more healthier dishes, although they did sell hamburgers and fries!  We came here to eat some healthier items after too much pintxos bar hopping and high calorie foods.

Must Order:
Quinoa Salad (9.20e) hit the mark, after days of eating meaty and fried dishes.  Weird dollops of hummus.

Tarta (3.20e) was a vegan Apple cake.  Pretty large portion and better than most vegan baked items back home.  Eat it right away, our leftover portion the next day was not very good.

Sangria (5.50e) was not cheap but good. It possessed a coconut flavor but not much strength.

Overall – Very Good

Food – Very Good
Decor – Very Good
Service – Very Good
Value – Very Good

Would we come back – Yes

Restaurant Map:

Overall Rating: (Very Good 2.5)

Come Back?

Food Rating: (Very Good)
Service Rating: (Good)
Atmosphere Rating: (Very Good)
Value Rating: (Very Good)

Guide: 0 = poor, 1 = Below/Average, 2 = Good, 2.5 = Very Good, 3 = Excellent , 4 = Extraordinary

Alcohol:Beer, Wine

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1 Comment

  • Nora
    April 4, 2018 at 10:42 am

    Just got back from Spain a few weeks ago, and you’re making me want to turn around and get on a plane. Yum! We have some great Spanish food in the Bay Area, but of course it isn’t the same without the whole experience.

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