Food & Recipes

What to expect when you are in the Basque Country, land of pintxos

By Micaela Zaslabsky

San Sebastián is known for having excellent pintxos, which is the Basque variation on tapas served on top of a slice of bread and a toothpick through it. 

Practical guide for pintxos culture and places to visit in San Sebastián:

First of all, don’t wear high heels or any type of uncomfortable shoes, because you are going to be standing the whole time. If you are lucky, you may be able to find a stool, but most pintxo bars are just long counters covered with delicatessen.

The idea is simple: you push through people to get to the counter, then ask for a pintxo (or Spanish tapa) of your choice and they will either give you a plate or warm it up for you.

Bar Gorriti (San Sebastian)

Prices vary from 2 to 5 euros. It’s common to just select the pintxos from the bar. They are usually ready to eat. But some places also have a menu to choose from. 

Txuleta (San Sebastian)

My recommendations are:

Shelter (Zarautz)

Tortilla de patatas, of course. If you are in Spain, you have to try Spain’s traditional, amazing omelette.

Chistorra! This typical Basque chorizo sausage is a traditional bocadillo (sandwich) with a very particular (flavourful and spicy) taste. When accompanied by Spanish cider, it is heaven on earth.

Extra tip: try the talo (a traditional corn tortilla) with chistorra.

I have been in the Basque Country a couple of times, but this last Easter holiday I had the chance to visit many more restaurants, one of them the Michelin 2019 Pintxos bar: A Fuego Negro 

A Fuego Negro
Interior de A Fuego Negro

Like most Michelin restaurants, this place has an original concept: the menu is on the wall and no ingredients are listed. Menu items are based on cultural references to a well-known Spanish dish or a quote. The restaurant transforms these traditional dishes into an original and tasty concept.

This is what I would recommend:

Black Sabbath – Black Rabas

A classic: Lumagorri Fraitxiken (or “fried chicken” from Lumagorri…because Kentucky farms are too far away from Spain). 

Lumogarri Fraitxiken

In addition to having good food, while you are there why don’t you walk around San Sebastian’s beautiful streets?

You will find three main local attractions:

1. Surf: it may not be sunny and super warm, but the “La Concha” (which means seashell) Bay of San Sebastián has beautiful waves.

La Concha Beach

2. Local shops: you will find local and original art and souvenirs for everyone’s tastes and for all budgets. 

3. Sightseeing and Day Trips:

Guernika: the real town that inspired Picasso’s famous painting

Playa de la Concha: the most famous Basque beach (and one of Spain’s most famous beaches, too!)

Getaria: hometown of Balenciaga and his house-museum

Zarautz: hometown of the famous chef, Karlos Arguiñano 

San Sebastian: 


San Sebastián Cathedral

Urumea Itsadarra

San Telmo Museum

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