Pinxos in San Sebastian

It has become something of a foodie pilgrimage, a familiar trail to those in the know. You can follow them on Twitter: someone will share a photo of a little plate of food or a chalkboard menu and the replies are scattered with knowing guesses as to which of the tiny pinxo bars in San Sebastian this particular dish came from.

We spent three days in San Sebastian. Hotels are super-expensive compared to the rest of Spain and we picked a bit of a duffer, trying to be cheap. We went for a wham-bam 3 Michelin star meal at Arzak and although it was perfectly lovely there wasn’t ultimately anything about it that I can remember a few months later (apart from the exceedingly powerful flavour of prawn brains). What I’ll absolutely remember about San Sebastian is our evenings (okay, and lunches) mooching around the old town from bar to bar, trying one or two pinxos at each one with a glass of wine… or vermouth… or tinto de verano if we were starting to get a little thirsty!

Just in case we wind up there again, here’s my notes on what we had where:

  • Vina – Tarta de queso (the silky Basque cheesecake, heavy heaven)
  • Recara – gilda (cocktail stick with anchovy and pickled gentle green chillies, yum)
  • Espiga – Anchovy with garlic crumb on dark bread (yum)
  • Hidalgo 56 – Volcan morcilla (mega yum!) & fried anchovies with garlic chips (yum)
  • Ormatzabal – Morros (pig cheek, sauce, puree potato, extreme yum) & Spinach croquetas (peppery and yum)
  • Martinez – Courgette stuffed with centollo (spider crab cream, very yum)
  • Urola – Scallop on ajo blanco with crispy seaweed (ultra yum)
  • Ziaboga, next village over – Fried pixin, bacalao fritter, bit of salad (medium-yum)
  • Cuchara de San Telmo – Foie de Montfort w/ apple sauce (caramely yum), Carrillera de ternera w/ hummus (pigs ear, massive yum)
  • Tamboril – mushrooms in garlic (very yum), tuna escabeche (nice)
  • Urola again – Truffled mushroom tart (yum), asparagus salad and parfait (yum)
  • Ganbara – Txanguro tart (spider crab, hot pastry, mega-yum!), Fried prawn (yum), local cheese with bitter orange gel (yum)
  • Cuchara de San Telmo again – Suckling pig w/ crackling (piggy yum), Grilled goat cheese w/ veg stuffing (splendidly yum)
  • Txepetxa – anchovy w/ sea urchin, anchovy w/ olive, anchovy w/ spider crab cream, anchovy w/ pepper & salt (increasing levels of happy yum)

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