Why the fuss about ordering Pintxos?
Like with any food, it is quite simple even with pintxos. As a visitor you are not expected to know everything; so don't worry so much about the ordering and eating process. Just be comfortable.
- If the waiter brings you an empty plate with your drink order, it means it is a self service place. Serve yourself from the counter and tell the waiter your count before you pay.
- If the waiter does not being you an empty plate, order what you would like from the waiter, along with your drink.
Skip Bilbao Pintxos
The best pintxos are in San Sebastian (old town) and in Hondarribia (marina). Save the pinto experience for either of those places. If you do want pintxos in Bilbao, go to the old town across the river from the Guggenheim museum.
Basque locals go “potear” or “txikitear”, which is pintxo bar hopping in the evenings along with having small glasses of wine.
The favourite Bilbao “potear” areas and their bars are:
- Casco Viejo: Bar Charly, Sorginzulo, Gure Toki, Bar Urdiña.
- Santa Maria Street: con B de bilbao, Santa María.
- Center of Bilbao: Irrintzi, Ziripot, Iruña
How does “potear” work?
In Bilbao we go out to “potear” in the evenings where we eat a pintxo and drink a ‘little’ bit of wine or txakoli at each place. This ends up being a lot when you add up everything consumed in the evening!
Normally one of the group is in charge of all the money and will pay for everything with the money the other people gave him; for example, each person puts out 50€ to pay for everything they will consume on the day and the person in charge will pay for it with everyone’s money.
There is not a fixed number of bars we visit, we just choose an “area” of the city that we want to do the “poteo” in and we go from bar to bar. We don’t stay long in each one, that’s the reason why the drinks are a little bit at each bar.
There isn’t really a sequence as what we eat and when, we just eat what we want at each bar! Bars have their own specialty pintxos.
You should go for a walking tour led by a local professional guide. Uness you do that, you cannot appreciate how Pintxos and Basque culture are intimately intertwined. I had gone for the "FLAVOURS OF SAN SEBASTIAN" tour conducted by San Sebastian tourism. That said there are many options both at San Sebastian and at Bilbao.