Eat “Pinxos,”… Drink Wine and Repeat In Bilbao & San Sebastian
“Pinxos”… are the Basque region’s version of tapas (appetizers), but most of all it is a social hour, a gathering of friends, neighbors, and colleagues on the streets of northern Spain as they munch and drink. On a recent trip to this region of Spain, I had no idea this may well become one of my favorite spots to visit.
Excited to arrive in the city of Bilbao in the evening, and revitalized by the energy of the city, we decided to head out as soon as we settled into our hotel. Hearing loud conversations in the streets made us wonder what was going on in the neighborhood. As we approached, the voices grew louder and we came upon crowds of people gathered in front of cafes that lined the alley-like streets. Locals were laughing, talking, drinking and eating “pinxos.”
We snuck into one of the cafes, wanting to be part of this great atmosphere. We followed local protocol the locals were using… order wine or beer and point to the mini appetizers, called “pinxos,” and the servers would prep the order so we could begin our Basque “happy hour” culinary experience.
Talking to locals and feeling a warm welcome we knew we had made the perfect choice!
We stayed in Bilbao for a few days, visiting areas such as San Juan de Gastalixate, a beautiful church on a cliff beachside, which required an hour’s hike each way. The coastline was beautiful and we made stops along the way to take pictures or have lunch in restaurants serving freshly caught fish.
Although we were tired from our explorations each day as we headed back to our hotel, the call of the “pinxos” was loud and clear to us each evening!
The coastal city of San Sebastián is mesmerizing with its beautiful calm bay and boardwalks with its cafes, historic sites, and locals on a stroll throughout the day and night.
We accomplished a quick check-in to the hotel and headed out to the boardwalk for a stroll to get into the “pinxo” scene once more.
In San Sebastián the pinxos scene is a bit different. Locals seemed to have an agenda and a game plan. There is actually a map the concierge gave us to follow as to who serves what and when. There are even Michelin Star-rated Pinxos that are followed by foodies from around the world.