Best Pintxos in San Sebastian: 13 Must-Try Bites

When going out for pintxos in San Sebastian, the sheer variety can be overwhelming. Between the mouthwatering choices visible on the bar to the dozens of made-to-order options on the blackboard, how can you possibly decide?

Going out for pintxos in San Sebastian is a true art form that locals have perfected. The number one rule, of course, is to not spend too much time at any one place. After all, each pintxos bar has their own specialty, so you shouldn’t fill up too much at one place or another! Here are our top picks for the best pintxos in San Sebastian and where to find them so you can be sure to have a fantastic pintxos crawl.

Pintxo bar in San Sebastian with counter stocked with several varieties of toast
The pintxo bars in San Sebastian’s Old Town are piled high with beautiful, tempting delicacies.

Vegetarian pintxos

Risotto de Idiazabal (Cheese risotto)

Risotto is a classic, but we bet you’ve never had it like this before! First of all, in San Sebastian, it’s made with orzo pasta rather than rice. Second, you’ll often find it covered in a creamy Idiazabal cheese sauce. This sheeps’ milk cheese, very typical of the Basque Country, has a buttery, smoky flavor that makes an exquisite sauce. Throw in some perfectly grilled mushrooms and you’ve got one of the best (vegetarian-friendly!) pintxos in San Sebastian.

Try it at: Borda Berri (Fermin Calbeton Kalea, 12)

mushroom risotto with onion and hebs
Creamy, tasty risotto de idiazabal is something you won’t soon forget. Photo credit: Kolforn

Hongos (Mushrooms)

While delicious mushroom pintxos especially abound in the fall months, you can find them all year round. From wild mushrooms topped with quails eggs to mushroom skewers to delicate puff pastry-encased mushrooms, there are amazing pintxos de hongos for every taste.

Try them at: Casa Senra (San Francisco Kalea 32), which serves croquestas de hongos every month of the year.

Tortilla (Spanish Omelette)

It’s hard to beat a good tortilla, and the locals in San Sebastian take theirs seriously. Every year there are contests for the best pintxos, including, of course, the beloved tortilla. In this food-loving capital, you’ll find all sorts of amazing twists on tortilla, from the classics to those stuffed with veggies like carmelized onion, zucchini, or red peppers. (If you’re avoiding meat, make sure your tortilla doesn’t include ham or chorizo.)

Try them at: Bar Nestor (Arrandegi Kalea, 11). They run out daily, so make sure you go early to grab a slice!

Potato and eggplant omelet on a table next to a glass of red wine
Spanish omelet made with eggplant.

Fish and seafood pintxos

Mejillones tigres (Spicy mussels)

San Sebastian’s prime coastal location gives it a long maritime history, and seafood is extremely prevalent in its fantastic cuisine. Some of our favorite pintxos in San Sebastian incorporate the region’s incredible seafood, such as mejillones tigres (“tiger mussels”). As you might guess from the name, what makes these mussels stand out is their spicy tomato-based sauce.

Try them at: La Mejillonera (Calle del Puerto, 15)

Spicy mejillones tigres are one of our top picks for pintxos in San Sebastian.

Be sure to wash down your mejillones with a crisp glass of cider.


The best pintxos in San Sebastian get right down to the root of Basque cuisine: simple ingredients put together in imaginative ways. The classic Gilda pintxo is exactly that. It’s nothing more than an olive, an anchovy and a spicy guindilla pepper skewered together, but the flavor combination is unbeatable. It’s one of the spiciest pintxos in San Sebastian, so be sure to have a glass of cider or txakoli on hand to wash it down!

Try it at: Any pintxos bar! The Gilda is one of the oldest pintxos in the city and can be found at bars all across San Sebastian. (We’re partial to the Gilda a Bar Txepetxa, a classic restaurant that has been open for over 100 years.)

Plate of olive, anchovy, and pepper skewers on a square plate surrounding olive oil

Spicy, salty Gilda pintxos present an incredible fusion of flavors.

Brochetas de gambas (Shrimp skewer)

As you might have noticed, San Sebastian does some pretty spectacular seafood. One of the best examples of this is the classic brocheta de gambas (shrimp skewer). Freshly caught shrimp are seasoned to perfection with garlic and just a little bit of spice. Then, they’re speared onto skewers and ready to gobble down!

Try them at: Goiz Argi (Fermin Calbeton Kalea, 4)

Boquerones (Anchovies)

Yes, anchovies are delicious! Here in San Sebastian, the best boquerones come from the nearby town of Getaria. Caught fresh from the Cantabrian Sea, cured in vinegar and served with rich roasted garlic, these are seriously incredible. If you weren’t an anchovy fan before, we promise you’ll become one after trying these fantastic pintxos in San Sebastian.

Try them at: La Espiga (San Martzial Kalea, 48)

Plate with several tiny open faced toasts topped with fish and olive tapenade
It’s hard to resist a delicious bite of anchovies, especially when they are topped with olive tapenade.

Bacalao (Salted cod)

Bacalao, or salted cod, is a favorite all over Spain. However, San Sebastian takes this popular dish to a whole new level. One of the most unique pintxos in San Sebastian is smoked bacalao, brought to you on a mini grill and smoked over charcoal before your eyes. Depending on the time of year, you can also find delicious pintxos such as green beans topped with flakey salted cod. No matter where you go, give the bacalao a try!

Try it at: Zazpi STM (Plaza Zuloaga Nº 1), which has a delicious bacalao ajoarriero, a spicy cod dish with tomatoes, paprika, and lots of garlic. 

Plate of bacalao (codfish) on a plate drizzled with green and red sauces with a glass of wine in the background

Bacalao, or cod fish, is a classic pintxo you’ll find around the entire city.

Meaty pintxos

Carrillera de ternera (Beef cheek)

Eating pintxos in San Sebastian is all about trying new things! It might not have ever occurred to you to try carrillera de ternera (beef cheek), but we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. The tender meat is cooked to perfection in red wine and practically melts in your mouth. It’s truly earned its reputation as one of the best pintxos in San Sebastian!

Try it at: La Cuchara de San Telmo (Santa Korda Kalea, 4)

Carrillera de ternera, or beef cheek, is absolutely one of the best pintxos in San Sebastian!
Tender and full of flavor, the carrillera at La Cuchara de San Telmo is to die for.

Mini burgers

We know what you’re thinking: “Why would I go all the way to San Sebastian to eat a hamburger?” However, one of the most popular pintxos in San Sebastian are little bite-sized burgers! Made with high-quality kobe beef and served on a colorful bun (it gets its red color from tomato), you’ll want to order more than one!

Try them at: Bar Sport (Fermin Calbeton Kalea, 10) or Baztan (Calle Puerto, 8)

Solomillo (Sirloin steak)

Spain is home to some seriously incredible grilled meats, but no place does it quite like the Basque Country! Solomillo, or beef sirloin, expertly grilled to perfection, is one of the simplest yet most delicious tapas in San Sebastian.

Try it at: Gandarias (31 de Agosto Kalea, 23)

Plate of 6 pieces of toast with grilled sirloin steak (solomillo) at a pintxo bar in San Sebastian
Who says sirloin steak can’t be finger food?!

Sweet pintxos

Foie topped with fruit 

Grilled foie gras with raspberry reduction, anyone?! We admit that we love the play of savory and sweet, and the foie pintxos in Sen Sebastian are a true treat. Each place has their own, but you’ll often find foie gras with apple or Pedro Ximenex reduction on the menu.

Try it at: Bar Haizea (Aldamar Kalea, 8)


Something sweet to round out our list of the best pintxos in San Sebastian! After a successful pintxos crawl, treat yourself to something sweet. The local version of cheesecake is soft, fluffy, and just sweet enough to be sinfully delicious without making you feel like you’ve got a cavity coming on. It’s the perfect pick-me-up to cap off your night!

Try it atLa Viña (31 de Agosto Kalea, 3)

Three slices of creamy cheesecake on white plates lined up across a wooden surface
A slice of burnt cheesecake from La Viña is the perfect finale after a night of pintxo-hopping.

This article was updated on August 15, 2023.

Join us for the best pintxos in San Sebastian on our Ultimate Pintxos & Wine Tour! Throughout this fun-filled evening, you’ll eat your way across 6 of the best family-run pintxos bars in the historic center. In addition to devouring the best bites in town, you’ll learn just what makes San Sebastian the best foodie city in Europe!

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