Pintxo culture alone should excite any food-lover to visit the charming town of San Sebastián. This Basque city makes eating an event. You’re not only fueling your body, but you’re also exploring the city as you indulge in some of the world’s greatest ingredients.
As any pintxo enthusiast will tell you, when feasting on these gourmet bites, you enjoy one at a bar with a drink of your choice, and then move on to the next.
Each pintxo bar has their own specialties, and it’s common to visit a place solely for that one dish. Of course, they’ll have others that you may just have to try, but with limited time, make sure to try the house special.
With the pintxo tradition being so instilled in the city, it’s one of the main tourist attractions. It’s truly what people from all over the world flock to the coastal town to experience.
Each day, multiple guided group tours take hungry tourists to taste the city’s pintxos. While this is a great option for those that want to be shown the ropes and not figure it out on their own, a guided tour may not be for everyone.
And for those people, there’s a secret weapon that will take your self-guided pintxo tour of the city to the next level.
That secret weapon you ask? Pintxos – The 99 Best!
Pintxos – The 99 Best is a special project that highlights the 99 best pintxos in San Sebastián. What makes it special though is that the judges are the 11 Michelin starred chefs of the city.
That means that by following the guide, you’ll eat the best pintxos as chosen by some of the best chefs in the world:
Juan Mari Arzak – Arzak
Pedro Subijana – Akelarre
Martín Berasategui – Martín Berasategui
Elena Arzak – Arzak
Adoni Luis Aduriz – Mugaritz
Hilario Arbelaitz – Zuberoa
Gorka Txapartegi – Alameda
Dani López – Kokotxa
Rubén Trincado – Mirador De Ulia
Aitor Arregi – Elkano
Paulo Airaudo – Amelia
The judges narrowed down the list by choosing pintxos and establishments that have the highest standard in products used, as well as dishes that are, well, delicious.
Basque people, in general, are quite picky in terms of quality of produce, so you can be certain that all those on this list are only using the best.
Pintxos – The 99 Best has made it extremely easy to eat well in San Sebastián. On their website, you can purchase the book which gives background information on each neighborhood, as well as elaborates on each restaurant and their star pintxo (or in some cases, pintxos).
For those that prefer a digital version, there’s an app too! Available for both iOS and Android, the app provides the information available in the book, as well as gives recommended routes to make your pintxo crawl easy to self-guide.
As listed on the Pintxos – The 99 Best website, here are the pintxos that made the list. You’ll find the name of the restaurant or bar in alphabetical order followed by the pintxo (or pintxos) that made it.
By the end you’ll find that you now have 99 more reasons to visit beautiful San Sebastián!
>> Read till the end for a free map of all the places to find the 99 best pintxos.
The 99 Best Pintxos in San Sebastián
1A Fuego Negro
Tigretón de Mejillón – a pintxo with warm tomato, béchamel sauce, three mussels, vegetables, and pork rinds
Black Rabas – a take on a traditional Basque stew of baby squid in their ink. Fried balls of squid in a tempura batter filled with cream of baby squid and their ink.
Makcobe with Chips – a mini burger of Kobe beef served with plantain chips
- Ravioli de Langostino en Salsa de Martini – ravioli stuffed with king prawn and topped with a Martini sauce
- Crujiente de Rabo de Buey – crispy pasta stuffed with oxtail and topped with parmesan cheese
- Antxoa en Salazón – a piece of crispy bread topped with salted anchovy, green pepper, chili pepper, and olive oil
- Berrogi – a small sandwich of tuna, anchovy, green pepper, and mayonnaise
- Tosta de Papada Ibérica – crispy bread topped with slices of Iberian bacon
- Montadito de Pringá – a small panini filled with a traditional Andalusian meat stew
- Pulpo a la Brasa – grilled octopus with marinated potato and kimchi mayonnaise
- Brocheta de Langostinos – a skewer of grilled king prawns served on a slice of bread and topped with vinaigrette of peppers and onion
- Gambón en Tempura – prawn fried in tempura and covered in sliced almonds with a shellfish cream
- Patatas al Ajillo – potatoes cooked with garlic and then sprinkled with hot paprika to taste
10Bar El Bombín
- Pastrami – a sandwich filled with pastrami
- Ensaladilla Rusa – a salad of boiled potatoes, tuna, carrot, hardboiled egg, and olives mixed with mayonnaise and topped with a salted anchovy
- Croqueta de Jamón y Huevo – ham and egg croquette
- Risotto de Chipirón – black rice risotto with small squid
- Charlota de Calabacín Relleno de Centollo – a slice of bread topped with zucchini stuffed with cream cheese and spider crab
- Crujiente de Langostino – shrimp rolled in a crispy pastry
- Tortilla de Patata – a popular Spanish omelette. Only two are made each day which people come early for to reserve a slice.
- Croqueta de Mejillón – croquette filled with mussel cream
- Foie de Las Landas – Foie gras from Landes that’s grilled and served on toasted bread with apple compote and topped with sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Antxoa con Jardinera – an anchovy on top of a slice of bread and topped with chopped bell peppers and onion
Antxoas con Crema de Centollo – a piece of bread topped with an anchovy fillet and spider crab cream
- Txalupa – a brochette of griddled baby squid topped with a garlic and parsley sauce
- Tortilla de Patata – a classic Spanish potato omelette
- Croqueta de Tres Quesos – three cheese croquette made with cream, blue, and edam cheeses
Tortilla de Antxoas – Spanish omelette with anchovies and garlic
Txalupa – puff pastry topped with mushrooms, prawns, chives, cream, and grated cheese
- Carrillra Sobre Puré de Patatas – stewed veal cheek served on potato purée
- Ensaladilla Rusa – a classic potato salad pintxo made of potatoes, tuna, carrot, hardboiled egg, and olives, mixed with mayonnaise and topped with an anchovy
- Indurain – a pintxo in honor of the famous cyclist made of a chunk of tuna, salted anchovy, piparra chili peppers, and chive with olive oil
- Completo – a sandwich of Spanish white tuna in oil with Cantabrian anchovies and chili peppers
26Bokado San Telmo
Tortilla de Patata Hecha al Momento – freshly made Spanish omelette with pepper and onion
Patatas Casi Bravas – translating to “almost fierce potatoes”, this pintxo is a plate of fried baby potatoes with ali-oli sauce, mayo, chili, and topped with a wasabi pea
- “Risotto” con Idiazabal – a “risotto” made of small pasta noodles and Idiazabal cheese
- Oreja de Cerdo Crujiente – crunchy griddled pork ear served with romescu and chimichurri sauces
- Carrillera al Vino Tinto – veal cheeks that are stewed in red wine and vegetable broth and served with a home-made tomato sauce
- Cochinita Pibil – pork stewed with achiote pepper served on a corn tortilla
29Casa Senra Donostia
- Gambón con Bacon y Patatas – a skewer of king prawn wrapped in bacon and served with crispy potato sticks
Vieira a la Plancha con Ajoblanco – grilled scallops season with ajoblanco (cold cream of almonds, garlic, and oil), nuts, and a coffee vinaigrette, then topped with fried seaweed and sesame
Karmelita – a cold pintxo of fried bread topped with salted anchovy, boiled egg, prawn, and mayonnaise
Alcachofa con Praliné de Almendras y Jamón – artichoke with almond praline and cured ham
- Gilda – the original pintxo created in Donostia in the 1940’s made of chili peppers, an anchovy, and an olive pickled in vinegar and skewered on a cocktail stick
- Patata Tortilla – a potato omelette that’s served slightly runny on the inside
- Oreja en Salsa – pig ear cooked with carrot, onion, leek, garlic, and pepper sauce with a touch of brandy
- Croqueta de Queso y Nuez – a cheese and walnut croquette
Gambas Rebozadas – a skewer of fresh battered prawns with a hint of spice
Tartaleta de Txangurro – spider crab tartlet
Hongo a la Plancha con Yema de Huevo – seasonal mushrooms sautéed in olive oil and garlic topped with an egg yolk
- Brocheta de Gambas – a skewer of three prawns and Iberian bacon topped with a vinaigrette of bell peppers and onion on a piece of baguette
- Solomillo con Pimiento Verde – piece of veal tenderloin on bread, topped with a roasted green pepper and sea salt
- Mari Juli – a piece of toasted bread topped with smoked salmon, anchovy, and green pepper topped with a vinaigrette
- Cabeza de Jabalí, Cebolleta, y Pepinillo – bread topped with head of wild boar, pickle, and chives
- Brocheta de Vieira y Langostino – a grilled skewer of scallop and king prawn
- Callos y Morros – traditional stew made of tripe and snout and served in a clay pot
- Bacalao Club Ranero – desalted cod in a confit of olive oil with fried green and red pepper and garlic
- Yema del Caserío – free-range egg cooked at a low temperature and served with polenta, pine nuts, Manchego cheese, and mushrooms
- Mixto de Jamón – warm sandwich of Serrano ham and cheese
44La Cuchara de San Telmo
Foie de Manfort con Compota de Manzana – freshly grilled foie gras on a bed of stewed apples and sea salt
Carrillera de Ternera Guisada al Vino Tinto – veal cheek stewed in red wine for 8 hours and served over hummus
Delicia – a brochette topped with anchovy, a hardboiled egg, mayonnaise, and a vinaigrette of egg white, onion, and parsley
Chorrera – a hot pintxo of boiled egg, cheese, and ham that’s battered in egg and flour and deep-fried
- Patatas Bravas – fried potato cubes topped with garlic ali-oli and spicy tomato sauce
- Láminas de Txuleta – a pintxo of salted steak slices
Taco-talo de Begihaundi – a Basque-style wrap filled with small squid, kimchi, and micro-greens
- Trainera – piece of toast topped with grilled squid, prawn, and Iberian cured ham with a sauce made of oil, garlic, vinegar, and white wine
- Risotto de Idiazabal con Foie – Idiazabal cheese risotto topped with grilled foie gras
- Brocheta de Langostinos con Salsa Ponzu – a skewer of battered and fried prawns with ponzu sauce
- Tortilla de Patata – traditional Spanish omelette with potatoes
Morros de Ternera – veal snouts stewed using a special family recipe
Croqueta de Espinacas – a croquette filled with creamy spinach
- Gambas a la Gabardina – one of the most typical pintxos in San Sebastián of battered and fried prawns on a skewer
- Carbón Brie – brie cheese covered in poppy seeds and served with sweet tomato jam
Secreto Ibérico con Puré de Manzana – slow-cooked Iberian pork skirt steak over a purée of local apples served with mashed potatoes
Arroz de Crustáceos con Socarrat – shellfish rice with prawns and “socarrat” or toasted rice
- Mini-hamburguesa de Secreto Ibérico – a small burger of pork shoulder on a sesame bun served with chips
- Brocheta de Rape y Langostinos – brochette with anglerfish and shrimp
- Gavilla – ham, cheese, and béchamel battered and deep fried
- Pan Bao de Pato – an Asian-style bun filled with duck stew
61Taberna Dakara Bi
- Taco de Solomillo con Foie – slice of bread topped with grilled sirloin and foie gras
62Taberna La Jarana
Pastel de Pescado – a classic pintxo of fish pie with mayonnaise
Ropa Vieja – a potato omelette with shredded meat
Champiñón – a skewer of three mushrooms on a piece of bread with their sauce
Gamba a la Gabardina – battered and fried shrimp
- Takotalo de Pastor – a pintxo combining Basque and Mexican flavors. Flour and millet tortillas filled with marinated pork and local Basque applesauce.
- Guacamole Topa – avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro, chili, and lime served with instructions on how to prepare the guacamole and is shared and eaten with chips
- Croqueta Vegetal de Coco y Curry Rojo – a croquette made of red and green peppers, red curry paste, and coconut milk, then breaded in Panko and deep-fried
- Croqueta de Chuleta – steak croquette
- Croqueta de Ave – a creamy poultry croquette
- Langostino Crujiente – crispy prawns with soy mayonnaise
69Xarma Cook & Culture
Solomillo Euskaltxerri – Basque pig sirloin with celeriac cream, mushroom emulsion, and wasabi caviar
Piquillo Parrillero – grilled piquillo pepper stuffed with piquillo emulsion
- Abanico de Cerdo Ibérico – roasted Iberian pork with seasonal garnish
Ravioli Cremoso de Rabo de Toro – a creamy oxtail ravioli
Borrajas con Almejas – clams stewed with borrage leaves
Solomillo con Caldo Morrón – tenderloin served with sweet red pepper sauce and topped with sea salt
Check out the map below of where to find all 99 pintxos!
Tip: Click on the star next to 99 Best Pintxos above to view and save the map in the Google Maps app on your phone.
>> Have a favorite pintxo? Leave a comment and let us know what it is below!