Did you know that the act of moving one’s finger and thumb apart to zoom on a map on a screen is called Pinching? Figured I should probably explain the title right of the bat. But after so many years dreaming, sometimes inappropriately, about the food mecca of San Sebastian, I’ve finally, finally made it to…… Getaria. After all that, that’s where we ended up staying for a week, and San Sebastian became a day trip. Regrets? None whatsoever. But did I wish to spend more time in San Sebastian. Well, kinda. I wanted more, but turns out so do a lot of other people.
Turns out the San Sebastian Pintxos (“peen-chos”) crawl is the worlds worst secret. Yes, I suppose if you are planning your first trip to Spain, a Tapas crawl in Madrid, or a Pintxos crawl in San Sebastian or Bilbao is a good way to connect with local cultures. But its not so easy to do for tourists. Pintxos and Tapas crawls are not just about the food, but more of a way of life. Its a way to relax and socialize with your friends before lunch or dinner. Its not something you force and its never meant to be done after a full day of sightseeing. Maybe by just reading this and planning your Pintxos crawl three months in advance you are breaking the cardinal rule of Pintxo crawling. But researching is part of the fun, right?
So research away, but keep things flexible, dont stress, and do enough explorations on your own. Look at these as ideas and suggestions to pick from. There’s another list of places I didnt get a chance to visit, just as long as this one. On one of them, Borda Berri, I spent a good 7 minutes by the counter, waiting for some acknowledgement that I’m there and “what would you like sir”, but it never happened and we just left shamefully. This place gave “packed” a new meaning. Imagine around 40 people including food tours bigger than mine spilling into the sidewalk in a small bar that fits perhaps 15. A NY fire Marshal wet dream
Out of 7 or so places I tried, I picked 5 that I can comfortably recommend. Some of these are well known, some not so much. And some suggested by our trusted guide Mikel from Tours by Basque
Ordizia – No lines, no crowds, no hoopla in this tiny hole in the wall. You can even have a conversation with the server/bartender. All the goodies displayed on the board. Try the grilled squid with shrimp and ham and “Brotxeta Chuleta”, steak with peppers and potato.
La Cuchara de San Telmo – Seems popular with tourists but very manageable for lunch. Get a table outside which you may share with some new friends. Try the signature extra large Octopus that comes butterflied and grilled to perfection. Some of the meatiest, most delicious razor clams you’ll encounter. And if you never had proper stewed Veal Cheeks, this one will do.