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San Sebastián, Spain is the birthplace of pintxos. Hundreds of pintxos bars in San Sebastián form the backbone of the city’s nightlife scene. Pintxos are the perfect food for an evening of drinking. While basic pintxos can be found everywhere (with toppings such as meat, seafood, cheese, or tortilla, often on a piece of bread, and usually held together with a toothpick or skewer), the best places for pintxos in San Sebastián go even further, with lovingly-cooked rich dishes that you will remember for the rest of your life.
All of San Sebastián’s pintxos bars have their own house specialties, and thanks to the small portions it’s possible to do a bar crawl & try several places in one night out, especially in the Old Town. For an even deeper experience, there are plenty of pintxos tours around San Sebastian. Here are some of my favorite pintxos bars in San Sebastián. If you’re not hungry yet, you will be soon!
The best pintxos in San Sebastian
La Cuchara de San Telmo
Chef Iñaki Gulín helped kick off the evolution of San Sebastián’s modern pintxos scene at La Cuchara de San Telmo (near the San Telmo Museum, just beneath Monte Urgull). It’s a little bit different from some of the more traditional pintxos bars in San Sebastián, but it’s the place to go for luscious meat dishes and a changing seasonal menu.
Think roasted suckling pig, veal cheek, pig’s ears, and foie gras. This is not the place to go if you’re a vegetarian. All of the dishes are made-to-order, preserving the fresh, hot, fatty, salty aspects of each meat.
Address: Santa Korda Kalea, 4, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain (map)
After La Cuchara de San Telmo, Iñaki Gulín then opened Borda Berri. It also has an entirely made-to-order menu, with a heavy focus on grilled meats. Borda Berri gets crowded, but it merits the battle.
Address: Fermin Calbeton Kalea, 12, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain (map)
Bergara is another San Sebastián pintxos bar that leans toward the higher-end, with inventive offerings you won’t find elsewhere. This bright, modern spot proudly shows off all the delicacies they offer.
The crab cocktail at Bergara was one of my favorite pintxos on my entire trip to Basque Country. I could have easily eaten a dozen of them. Everything else was also great. One of their most popular tapas items is the txalupa: pastry shells filled with a combination of prawns, mushrooms, onions and bechamel sauce, topped with cheese.
Bergara is in Gros, so it’s a little bit of a trek away from the majority of pintxos bars in Parte Vieja, but it’s worth the walk.
Address: Calle del General Artetxe, 8, 20002 Donostia-San Sebastian, Gipuzkoa, Spain (map)
Ganbara is a traditional, high-quality pintoxs bar. Their spider crab tartlet is to die for. It’s another favorite pintxo that I could have put away a dozen of.
Other seasonal Basque favorites at Ganbara include the fried white asparagus and wild mushrooms with egg yolk.
Address: San Jeronimo Kalea, 19, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain (map)
Sirimiri Gastroleku & Atari Gastroleku
Sirimiri Gastroleku & Atari Gastroleku are two modern pintxos bars located right next to each other in San Sebastián’s Parte Vieja.
In addition to this regular beautiful spread of pintxos, they even offered gluten-free options.
While many pintxos bars focus just on the food, Sirimiri & Atari also make great cocktails. I had a Dark & Stormy on a dark & stormy night. They also have a fun mix of eclectic music covering everything from jazz to Busta Rhymes.
Address: Calle Mayor, 18, 20003 Donostia-San Sebastian, Gipuzkoa, Spain (map)
148 Gastroleku (AKA Astelena148 or Aste148, the name appears to have evolved) is also owned by the same group as Sirimiri & Atari.
Their focus leans toward seafood, such as smoked salmon & sardines that pair nicely with a local txakoli.
Address: Iñigo Kalea, 1, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain (map)
Paco Bueno is a simple, old school pintxos bar. While some of the modern pintxos places in San Sebastián may come off as a bit fancy, family-run Paco Bueno is a nice change of pace. In addition to montaditos (small sandwiches), their fryer gets a ton of use.
Fried shrimp, fried calamari, & croquetas are the go-to tapas at Paco Bueno. As long as it’s busy (or you’re patient), you’ll get everything fresh out of the fryer.
There’s no better pairing for warming your soul than fried shrimp & calamari with local txakoli on a cold night.
Address: Calle Mayor, 6, 20003 Donostia-San Sebastian, Gipuzkoa, Spain (map)
Casa Vallès is another throwback, but one that has an important place in the history of pintxos. It was at this bar where the legendary Gilda pintxo was created. The Gilda gets its name from a Rita Hayworth role, with her tall, spicy, green personality being represented by the cured anchovies, pickled pepper, and olives of the pintxo. The Gilda can be found everywhere in Basque Country, but this is where they became the first pintxo, and thus led to everything else on this list.
Address: Calle Mayor, 6, 20003 Donostia-San Sebastian, Gipuzkoa, Spain (map)
Txepetxa is famous for one thing: Anchovies. The anchovies are paired with a variety of toppings. It’s not difficult to find Gildas, but having one at a pintxos bar that specializes in anchovies is a treat.
Address: Arrandegi Kalea, 5, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain (map)
La Bodega Donostiarra
La Bodega Donostiarra in Gros is another local favorite that’s in a bit quieter area of San Sebastián. Their traditional pintxos specialize in sausages & other grilled meat, as well as seafood & sandwiches. Plus lots of mayo.
The bread at La Bodega Donostiarra was some of the best I had at any local pintxos bar, which is a nice bonus.
Address: Peña y Goñi Kalea, 13, 20002 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain (map)
In addition to having a great selection of pintxos, Casa Urola also has a menu with larger dishes. Oysters are particularly popular here, along with other seafood such as oily, cured fish that go perfectly with a glass of txakoli.
Address: Fermin Calbeton Kalea, 20, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain (map)
Gandarias has a menu of traditional Basque dishes. Standout dishes include the sea urchin & the morcilla (blood sausage) with egg & pepper.
They also have a nice selection of wine by the glass, and unlike many pintxos bars in San Sebastián, they remain open in the late afternoon.
Address: 31 de Agosto Kalea, nº 23, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain (map)
La Mejillonera is another great San Sebastián seafood restaurant that’s a local favorite. Mussels & calamari are particularly popular, available with a variety of sauces. Try the tigres (mussels in tomato sauce), or the calamares bravos (fried calamari with patatas bravas sauce). Both come with bread to help you sop up every last drop.
Do as the Donostiarres do & drop your mussel shells on the floor along with your napkins. It’s a simple menu, but sometimes doing simple perfectly is all you need.
Address: Calle del Puerto, 15, 20003 Donostia-San Sebastian, Gipuzkoa, Spain (map)
La Viña has pintxos. But that’s not the reason why it’s one of the most popular restaurants in San Sebastián later in the night. La Viña is known for their decadent Basque cheesecake, with its burnt top & creamy, but light cheese filling.
It’s like no cheesecake you’ve ever had before. The Basque cheesecake at La Viña is so good that you just might find yourself ending multiple nights here.
Address: 31 de Agosto Kalea, 3, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain (map)
Antonio Bar is especially popular with locals. Their rich pintxos include plenty of foie gras (including foie with morcilla), prawn ravioli, and lots of fish in olive oil.
Address: Bergara Kalea, 3, 20005 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain (map)
La Espiga is a bit south of Old Town, just off the San Sebastián promenade, near Mercado San Martín. Thanks to being a little bit off the beaten path for pintxos crawls, La Espiga has a somewhat more laid-back atmosphere. Plus lots of eggs & shrimp.
Address: San Martzial Kalea, 48, 20005 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain (map)
Iturrioz is a modern pintxos bar with a small craft beer selection. Menu highlights include smoked eel & salted cod.
Address: San Martin Kalea, 30, 20005 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain (map)
To learn more about pintxos and have a great guided experience, go on a San Sebastian pintxos tour.
If you’re visiting Basque Country for pintxos, be sure to also check out this list of the best pintxos bars in Bilbao.
If you’re looking for a place to stay, check out these San Sebastian hotels.
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