San Sebastian also has its fair share of places to ‘txikitear’ many of which are located along the Calle Fermín Calbetón in the Old Part.
My personal favorite is Borda Berri where the focus is on hot pintxos freshly prepared from the kitchen on demand.
- The beef cheeks in red wine are particularly delicious.
- As is the squid paella (see below), the cannelloni filled with black pudding, the mushroom risotto and even the cod tripe (which I gobbled up one day, not realizing until later that it was tripe… let’s just say I am a convert!)
Then there’s Txalupa, a few doors down, whose every surface is seemingly covered in pintxos. Most of them are just ready for you to load up on your plate, but there are some that are heated up and some that are cooked and then served to you. Sweet-toothed as I am I love their goat’s cheese with tomato jam on crispy bread. Don’t be afraid of the green chilli peppers at the end of the bar, they are very, very mild and so moreish fried and sprinkled with salt. Their signature dish ‘codillo con salsa’ (pig’s trotter in sauce) is oh so tender but I found the sauce a little too salty.
Then there are the more avant-garde places such as A fuego negro (calle del 31 de agosto) which presents some of its pintxos in glass verrines.
- I went for clams in a Béchamel sauce with tomato purée and a savoury crumble topping. The flavours were well-balanced but the whole thing was a bit too wet and sloppy despite the texture from the crumble.
- Chris had a kebab burger which was tasty though disappointingly small.
Despite all the attention new Basque cuisine might get, in my opinion sometimes it’s the classic combinations (like membrillo, cheese and nuts) that really get the juices going and leave you wanting more.