Pintxos are over-rated
Frankly, there is nothing different between pintxos and tapas. They are exactly the same except that many pintxos come stabbed with a toothpick to keep the parts together.
Skip pintxos if you've already had tapas
If you have had tapas coming from Madrid or Andalusia, you should skip the evening of potear (bar hopping) in San Sebastian and save that time to instead do something that is special to Basque region of Spain.
San Sebastian is known for cider houses and some excellent fine dining. Make sure to visit a cider house, you will remember it forever. A cider house visit helps you to understand the local culture and meet local people in a better way than an urban pintxo bar hopping.
Instead, try fusion pintxos
If you must spend an evening to eat pintxos, make sure to try some of the experimental bars in addition to the traditional places.
Best experimental pintxo bars in San Sebastian
A Fuego Negro
The dominant color here is black and the decor is avant garde designer. They also offer a tasting menu of pintxos. (Address: Calle 31 de Agosto 31, Website)
Great outdoor seating with an open kitchen inside, Astelehana is in a stylish square of the city. (Address: Plaza de la Constitución 15)
Closer to the Guggenheim, in the new part of Bilbao, the modern bar is run by a Michelin starred chef. They are also famous for their fresh cider and great wine list (Address: Paseo Colón 15, Website)
A plain looking, family run place, La Vina is warm and welcoming. Make sure to arrive early, the town residents love this place. (Address: Calle 31 de Agosto 3, Website)
Borda Berri is a comfortable and welcoming bar in the old town of San Sebastian. The decor is of an old time; the pintxos are of a home cooked flavor. (Address: Calle Fermin Calbeton 12)
For the young and trendy, Gastroteka also has a great gin-tonic menu. The location and outdoor seating across from Santa Maria Basilica is a plus. (Address: Calle Mayor 18)
A large space where you should go on an empty stomach. The food is rich and meaty. (Address: Calle Zabaleta 55)
A vibrant atmosphere with bright colours, this bar has pintxos that resemble molecular cuisine. (Address: Calle Pescaderia 10, Website)
Easy to miss behind a modern facade, this modern bar is famous for its grilled chops. (Address: Plaza de la Trinidad 2, Website)
A convenient bar to stop by after a day at the Zurriola surfing beach. The decor is classy mixed with trendy. (Address: Calle de San Francisco 32)
Best pintxos - San Sebastian old town
The best pintxos bars in San Sebastian in the old town are:
- Goiz Argi in the street Fermín Calbetón nº 4. Specialty: brocheta de gambas (prawn skewer)
- Bodega Donostiarra in the street Peña and Goñi 13, is a very popular place in San Sebastian
- San Marcial on San Marcial 50 Street, traditional style
- Paco Bueno, shrimp specialty with gabardina (gambas con gabardina ) on Calle Mayor 6
- Txepetxa, C / Pescadería 5. Specialty: antxoas con crema de centollo (anchovies with crab cream)
- La Mejillonera, on Calle Puerto 15, specialty: mussels
- Haizea on Calle Aldamar 8, offers very original pintxos
- Baztan on Calle El Puerto 8, has a great pintxos bar
- Ganbara, on Calle San Jerónimo 19, is a place I recommend.
- La Cuchara de San Telmo, in the street 31 August, offers products of the earth
- Zeruko on Calle Pescaderia 10, offers very original pintxos
- Bergara, General Artetxe 8, one of the most awarded bars in Donostia. It offers a very stocked bar.
- Gandarias, in the street thirty-one of August 25, is a classic bar of the old part