San Sebastian’s Bar Bergara- A local Pintxo bar that’s not on the traveller’s trail

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A pinto of Prawns on a bed of egg white, local cheese and paprika base

 

 

You can’t go to San Sebastian and have a food-less moment. It’s true what they say about this part of the world. The people here are food-obsessed. And their love for food is transformed into the most delicious dishes you will ever have the pleasure of tasting.

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Veal, caramelized onions and peppers with a tangy, mild paprika dusting

 

 

Make no mistake, this is not Spanish Tapas I’m talking about here. In the Basque country, they have another name for small, bite sized gourmet creations- Pintxo! And as you discover one pintxo after another (you won’t really need much persuasion here, the sight of them is enough) you will agree that they aren’t merely tapas… these beautiful creations are little bites of heaven.

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Crab mousse, cheese foam, shrimp and salmon Caviar!

 

The old town of San Sebastian has quaint Pintxo bars crammed along its streets. In fact, you can’t find anything along some of those cobbled streets apart from pintxo. You will be spoilt for choice. And a peek into any of them will reveal bar counters heaving with piles (I’m not exaggerating) or variations of pintxos. Choosing one is tough. Luckily, you don’t have to. You can always Pintxo Bar hop all night. Drinking Tinto Verano and munching on one plate of Ham mousse (yes they’ve made ham into a mousse) or Pulpo (octopus) before heading to the bar across the street and trying something else.

Local cheese with caramelized onions, salmon and anchovies

 

After we did the entire Pintxo trail of the old town (well, as many as our stomachs and itinerary allowed us) we discovered Bar Bergara, not too far from where we were staying. And what a find it was! It’s a modern yet simple place that serves up truly unique pintxo. It’s won quite a few awards for its food and rightly so. The chef here is constantly innovating and trying out new things with the food. After sampling plenty of the fare on the other side of the San Sebastian bridge, this place threw us some pleasant surprises. Its interiors are stylish, but still very warm and friendly. And you’ll see an interesting mix of locals and the odd tourist here, stepping in all day to sample the awesome spread.

Lobster stuffed in a pastry chell

Lobster and local cream cheese stuffed in a delicate pastry shell

 

 

Like all pintxo bars, the food is out on the bar top and you can pick and choose what you like. And most of it doesn’t sit around too long and most of what we ordered was actually made fresh. With over 8 dozen Pintxos, there’s lots to choose from. They also do a pintxo size portion of roasts, which you can ask for, since it’s usually not displayed on the counter. It’s not the cheapest pintxo bar, but worth it for it’s unique dishes and evident passion in each pintxo.

 

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Vegetarian Pintxo with zuccini, goat cheese, olive paste and roasted tomato

 

Some of the unusual suspects that are worth trying, though I’m pretty sure these won’t be permanent fixtures on the menu, with the amount of reinventing they do. And yes, they do have an English menu, for you Spanish-challenged travellers! Happy eating!

Udaberri-Warm, creamy ham mousse on a bed of toasted bread

Txalupa- A creamy, crunchy lobster/fish on a little tart

Tortilla de Anchoas -cold toast with an egg omelette stuffed with potato and anchovies.

The modern bar counter with pretty typography at Bar Bergara

The modern bar counter with pretty typography at Bar Bergara. The tissue on the floor is part of the Spanish tapas, Pintxo experience

 

 

How to get there (thank me later 🙂

Bar Bergara

Calle del General Artetxe, 8, 20002 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain

 

 

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