As I mentioned before San Sebastian is well know for all the Michelin Starred restaurants but it’s also very popular for pintxos (pinchos) or tapas. You can say we went to San Sebastian just to EAT!
We didn’t waste any time. Our first night we walked from our hotel Parte Vieja (Old Part) where all the pintxos bars were. On the way there we passed by this clean and lovely park.
The city was small and we just walked to most places.
If my cousins didn’t do research beforehand we would have a hard time to choose from all these restaurants and bars.
It was astonishing to see a beautiful baroque church, the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Chorus, at the end of these buildings.
Basilica of Saint Mary of the Chorus
My cousin in law Chee with my niece and nephews met us in San Sebastian. They came from Virginia and Los Angeles. Rochelle and I were the only ones who came from the other side of the world, Manila.
The first stop on our pintxos bar hopping was the hip A Fuego Negro bar.
A Fuego Negro Bar
My cousins who did the research on where to eat also made a list on what pintxos to order. I was surprised they ordered sliders or mini Wagyu burgers served with fried banana chips.
Makcobe (mini Wagyu burger)
They were pretty good for burgers and the kids just loved them thus more orders. Yes kids were allowed in the bars. We were a big group of 8 adults and 4 kids so we just huddled against the wall where a narrow ledge was home to all our food.
The best thing with A Fuego Negro was their creative food presentation. A tin can normally used for sardines contained foie gras topped a caramelized shell of sugar. We had to pull the top of the tin open. A jar of honey was provided for this sweet, salty, decadent treat. Even the kids loved this! The kids in our family are all future gourmands.
The lean Iberico ham was wrapped in a big sheet of paper and it looked like a gift we had to unwrap. And it was a delicious gift indeed.
1/4 Iberian ham (shoulder blade)
How imaginative was this? Cod fish fried and puffed up to look and taste like chicharon.
fried cod fish trips with young garlic sauce
To get to the next bar we had to pass Plaza Constitución which was the equivalence of Plaza Mayor in Madrid.
Bar Borda Berri had a more traditional ambiance and food presentation but the quality was excellent.
An order of stewed beef cheeks consisted of one piece. We ordered three right away.
Carrilleras de Ternera al Vino Tinto (beef cheeks)
It was so tender and the combination of sauces was beyond anything we’ve tasted another order was placed. The men loved this dish the most.
Another specialty of the bar was the squid ink risotto. I liked the intense flavor of the squid ink and the al dente texture of the rice but it was too salty.
squid ink risotto
It was a good thing eagle-eyed Sharon saw this on the bar and ordered a small plate to sample. I just about fainted with delight when the sharp Idiazabal cheese with the creamy rice hit my palate. It was like the best mac n’ cheese you’ve ever eaten and multiply that ten times. I don’t know how many additional orders we made since the kids loved it too. This was my favorite pintxos for the whole night.
risotto de Idiazabal
Don’t lose your fork and dig in. There were no extra plates or napkins. Just eat as you please and be quick about it since my cousins have this no holds barred attitude towards food. Well we all do.
While some adults were inside Bar Borda Berri most of the kids were inside Quebec Cafe.
Quebec Cafe (Creperia)
Since there were no chairs for us in Bar Borda Berri others sat here and got fed risotto and beef cheeks while waiting for their crêpes.
It was actually good! The adults also had a lemon crêpe which the kids didn’t like. Good for us 😀
These young cousins attacked and demolished the crêpe in a flash while their respective parents behind them were oblivious. Another one please!
While the two previous bars were on my cousins’ list based on their research this last we went to this last bar on a whim. Our basis for choosing it was the number of people inside and the tempting display of pintxos on the bar.
Bar Txalupa Jatetxea
This is what I pictured a typical pintxos or tapas bar would look like based on what I saw on food tv shows. You choose whatever you want and pile them on a plate and pay at the cashier at the end of the counter. Pintxos turo-turo.
As good as they all look I grew wary when I saw the microwave oven which they used to warm up some of the pintxos.
Rochelle and I were already full so we just chose these to share. I was right they weren’t very good compared to the first two bars. The bread was hard and almost stale and taste was mediocre at best.
My cousin Sidney chose this for his family. He agreed with my observations but food was food and he was happy.
The kids still had room for gelato after all that food.
It was a nice walk back to the hotel. The beach was empty and the weather was cool.
A view of our hotel at night.
Good night San Sebastian! I love your pintxos and I will return.
A Fuego Negro
C/ 31 de Agosto, nº 31, 20003 Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain
telephone: +34 650 135 373
Bar Borda Berri
Fermín Calbetón nº 12 20003, Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain
telephone: +34 943 430 342
Quebec Cafe (Creperia)
Fermin Calbetón nº 11, 20003 Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain
telephone: +34 943 900 560
Bar Txalupa Jatetxea
Fermín Calbetón nº 3, 20003 San Sebastián
telephone: +34 943 429 875