Barcelona is one of Spain’s culinary capitals, but you aren’t limited to fantastic Catalan cuisine here.
The famous Basque pintxos are widely available in Barcelona as well—but where should you go if you want to try the best?
Pintxos are delicious, carb-heavy, servings of bread with a topping. The topping could be chorizo and red pepper, cheese and quince paste, smoked salmon and cream cheese, olive tapenade and anchovy, tortilla—you name it. There are hundreds of different possibilities, ranging from classic to modern.
The term pintxo comes from the Spanish verb pinchar (to piece) as each pintxo is pierced with a wooden skewer. In most pintxo bars, there will be two lengths of skewer, each length representing a different price. When you’re ready to leave, just hand over your skewers and receive the bill. It’s an informal way of eating a little or a lot, and one of our favorite aspects of Spanish food culture.
But beware: there are lots of places in Barcelona offering pretty poor pintxos. Don’t waste a meal there—instead, head to one of these five spots for the best pintxos in Barcelona.
1. Koska Taverna (Poble Sec)
A list of where to eat the best pintxos in Barcelona would not be complete without an entry from Carrer de Blai. Running across the bottom half of Poble Sec, this street is famous for its dozens of tapas and pintxos bars. Koska is one of the locals’ favorites, and of a higher quality than many of its neighbors. Their selection is inventive without getting too weird, and as with all places along Blai, the best thing to do is to grab a seat on the terrace and watch the world go by.
2. Anardi (Sant Antoni)
The Sant Antoni neighborhood sits on the other side of Avinguda del Paral·lel from Poble Sec. At the heart of it is Carrer del Parlament, the trendiest foodie spot in Sant Antoni. Nestled towards one end is Anardi, a local favorite owned by Renata and Oihana, two relocated Basques. They have a wide array of pintxos available, with the jamón and quail egg option being a popular choice. And be sure to save room for one of their famous desserts, too.
3. Gasterea (Vila de Gracia)
In the heart of Vila de Gracia is Carrer de Verdi, a mainly pedestrian street running from El Mercat de l’Abaceria up to the top of Gracia. It’s packed with boutique shops, international restaurants, the popular local cinema—and Gasterea (Carrer de Verdi, 39).
A bar lines the left-hand side of the space, with a shelf and room to prop up a drink and small plate on the right. The bar is resplendent with classic pintxos and staff that know how to please. Every five minutes, a new plate is sent up and the staff walk the bar encouraging you to take a look and a pintxo. On more than one occasion, we’ve seen guests ask for some cider and the staff simply hand over the bottle they are pouring from! It’s a very easy place to have a good time.
4. Taktika Berri (Eixample)
Taktika Berri is well known in Barcelona as a leading Basque restaurant. And as a leading Basque restaurant, it obviously does great pintxos. You won’t find any mini-burger or spring roll pintxos here. Instead, the menu is full of classics, with the seafood offerings being standouts. Any of their pintxos with cod will be some of the best bites you can have in Barcelona.
5. Lagunak (Les Corts)
Lagunak is a Basque restaurant that celebrates classic pintxos, made well. The owner and head chef, Peter, is from San Sebastian and takes pride in his simple, classic approach to the food of his hometown. Nearly 30 different pintxos adorn the menu, with the crab croquettes being a highlight. Once again, you’ll find that many of the best pintxos are centered on seafood. This is a great option for eating outside of the city center and for discovering your inner Basque.