While many people come to Spain looking forward to the amazing array of tapas (and rightly so!), you might also have heard rumours of these bite-sized joys on a stick known as pintxos.
And if you’re hungry to sample these at some of the best pintxos bars in Barcelona, well, I hear you.
Ever since I moved to Spain and have been lucky enough to have spent ample time wandering the alleys of Barcelona, I’ve become somewhat of a pintxos fan. From hole-in-the-wall joints to swanky establishments, I’ve had my fair share of these bite-sized wonders around the Catalan capital.
And so that’s why I’ve gathered my list of the places here that serve up some seriously good pintxos. With anything from the super traditional places to the more modern innovative offerings and everything in between, you definitely won’t go hungry at any of these spots.
Best pintxos bars in Barcelona
1. La Tasqueta de Blai
La Tasqueta de Blai is located on Carrer de Blai (which, by the way, is a hotspot for pintxos) and has a reputation that precedes it. You’ll probably notice this immediately though as the bar is typically brimming with locals and tourists alike.
One of the things I love about it is its laid-back, authentic atmosphere. Pintxos here are super fresh, with a rotating daily selection that keeps even the regulars like yours truly guessing.
Their variety is impressive. From the classic Spanish tortilla to more exotic combinations, there’s something for every palate.
Got a seafood craving? Try their skewered anchovies or salmon. More of a meat lover? Their mini beef burgers will not disappoint.
And let’s not forget about their drinks menu – it’s the perfect complement to the food!
The only downside? Because of its fame, it can get crowded, with many people including it on their own DIY Barcelona tapas tours. So, a little tip from your local foodie friend: head there off-peak hours to get a comfy spot.
2. Koska Taverna
Koska Taverna is a bit more modern in its vibe compared to La Tasqueta and offers a beautiful fusion of Basque tradition and contemporary flair.
The pintxos? Well, talk about innovation. I mean, who would’ve thought of combining goat cheese, caramelized onion, and black pudding in one bite? But they did, and trust me, it works.
The ambiance is a blend of rustic wood with artsy touches, creating a relaxed, urban vibe.
And if you’re into wines, this might just be your new favorite haunt. Their selection is top-notch, with some pretty unique local blends that pair wonderfully with the pintxos.
The only hiccup? Their innovative combinations might not be for everyone, especially if you’re more into classic flavors. But hey, life’s short, give it a whirl!
3. Taberna Blai Tonight
Situated – you guessed it – on the ever-bustling Carrer Blai, Taberna Blai Tonight has a special place in my heart. There’s a reason it’s a go-to spot for many Barcelonians.
The vibe is cool, friendly, and incredibly inviting. It’s one of those places where you walk in for a quick pintxo and find yourself still there hours later, having sampled half the menu.
And speaking of the menu, it’s extensive. La Taberna offers everything from the traditional bites like jamon y queso (ham and cheese) pintxos to more innovative creations.
I’ve got a particular soft spot for their seafood options. The octopus pintxo? Out of this world!
And if you’re into trying local drinks, order a vermut. It’s a traditional Catalan aperitif that pairs so well with their dishes.
If there’s any slight hiccup, it’s that, like La Tasqueta de Blai, it can get busy. So, if you’re someone who doesn’t fancy waiting, either come early or swing by later in the evening. The pintxos will be waiting!
Maitea isn’t just any old pintxos joint – this place has character. It’s got that warm, inviting vibe that feels like a big ol’ Spanish hug.
The moment you step in, you’re welcomed by walls adorned with photos of guests who’ve passed through, giving you that ‘everyone’s a friend here’ feeling. It’s no surprise that this spot is a hit with both locals and visitors.
The food? Pure love on a stick! Maitea sources their ingredients directly from the Basque country to give you an authentic taste.
Whether you’re into spicy chorizo or a refreshing bite of anchovy and pepper, they’ve got your back.
And to wash it down, their drink selection is on point. Have you ever tried Basque cider? This is the place to do it.
If there’s a slight wrinkle to be aware of, it’s that the place can sometimes get a bit noisy with all the chit-chat. But honestly, it’s all part of the experience. It’s vibrant, it’s alive, and it’s absolutely worth it.
5. Blai 9
If you’ve ever dreamt of a fusion between modern art and food, Blai 9 might just be your dreamland. The interior is sleek and contemporary, but it’s the pintxos that steal the show.
Each one looks like a mini work of art, making it almost too pretty to eat… almost.
The flavors? Oh, they deliver! Think fresh seafood combos, zesty vegetarian options, and some lip-smacking meaty bites.
My personal fave? The spicy tuna topped with a slice of jalapeño. It’s the right kind of kick that keeps you coming back for more.
And for the adventurous souls, they’ve got some cool, unconventional pintxos that you won’t find elsewhere.
However, if you’re more of a traditionalist, some of their modern twists might feel a bit out there. But hey, when in Barcelona, right?
6. Bodega Biarritz 1881
Bodega Biarritz 1881 is steeped in history, meaning that walking into this place feels like stepping back in time. The vintage decor, the moody lighting – it’s got a real old-world charm that’s hard to resist.
But don’t be fooled by its age – this bodega is as relevant today as it was back in the day.
Their pintxos are the stuff of legends. Rich, hearty, and full of flavor, each bite tells a story of generations of culinary craftsmanship.
Their spicy meatballs are a must-try, as is their classic Spanish tortilla.
And, of course, you can’t visit without trying their house wine. It’s robust, earthy, and pairs perfectly with their offerings.
On the flip side, due to its popularity, it can get pretty packed. So, you might want to time your visit just right to avoid the peak rush.
7. Irati Taverna Basca
Irati Taverna Basca screams authenticity. Picture this: traditional wooden interiors, a bustling atmosphere, and pintxos that have a personality all of their own.
This place is like the vinyl record of pintxos bars – it’s classic and has that timeless touch.
And their menu is a testament to tradition. Each pintxo feels like a journey to the Basque country, with classics like morcilla (black pudding) and bacalao (salted cod) making regular appearances.
Pair these with a glass of sidra (Basque cider), and you’re set for an unforgettable evening. And if you’re a cheese enthusiast, I’ve got two words for you: Idiazabal cheese. Thank me later.
Now, for the heads up: given its prime location just off La Rambla, it can sometimes attract a big tourist crowd. That said, it’s popular for a reason, so just embrace the buzz and dive into the flavors.
If Irati is the timeless classic, Anardi is like that trendy indie band everyone’s raving about. It’s got a fresh, youthful vibe that contrasts yet complements the old city charm surrounding it.
The decor is minimalistic, with modern touches here and there, making it a refreshing change of pace.
The pintxos? Fresh, vibrant, and packed with flavor. They’ve got a flair for combining ingredients in ways you wouldn’t expect, yet it all magically works.
The grilled octopus pintxo paired with a dash of aioli is the stuff of dreams. And don’t even get me started on their seared tuna with a smoky piquillo pepper.
However, for those with a deep love for classics, some of Anardi’s modern takes might feel a tad unconventional. But, you know what they say, variety is the spice of life!
9. Golfo de Bizkaia
Golfo de Bizkaia is like that cool cousin who knows how to throw a killer party. The ambiance is energetic, the crowd is diverse, and the pintxos, well, they’re the life of the party.
Set in the bustling El Born district, it’s the perfect spot to kick back after a day of sightseeing. I’d especially recommend trying to grab a spot just outside the door if the weather is good enough, as it’s like throwing yourself into Barcelona’s street food scene, just without the hipster vans.
The highlight here? The sheer variety. From seafood delights like shrimp and avocado pintxos to hearty meat options like chorizo and quail egg, there’s something for everyone.
And if you’re in the mood for a beverage or three, their wine list has some seriously good finds that won’t break the bank.
A small thing to note, the place can get loud, especially during weekends. It’s all part of the lively atmosphere, but if you’re looking for a quiet, intimate evening, this might not be your thing.
Located in the heart of Raval, Gasterea is a pintxos place that knows how to make a statement. It’s like that effortlessly cool person you know who doesn’t have to try hard, yet everyone wants to hang with them.
But the main event here is definitely the pintxos. I’m telling you, each bite is like a mini symphony of flavors.
They’re big on using fresh, seasonal ingredients, which you can instantly taste. The salmon with cream cheese and dill is a winner, light yet utterly memorable.
And their spin on the classic patatas bravas? Pure genius.
I should mention that, for the uninitiated, Raval can feel a bit overwhelming. It’s a lively neighborhood with a lot happening.
But, in my humble opinion, it’s precisely this energy that makes Gasterea stand out. A sanctuary of flavors amidst the buzz of Barcelona.
What’s the difference between tapas and pintxos?
Tapas are essentially appetizers or snacks, often served with drinks at bars across Spain. Pintxos, on the other hand, are specific to the Basque and Navarre regions and typically involve a slice of bread topped with various ingredients, held together by a skewer or toothpick.
Now, while both tapas and pintxos serve the purpose of satiating your hunger between meals, there’s a distinct cultural element to each.
Tapas can range from olives and nuts to more elaborate dishes like patatas bravas or gambas al ajillo. The idea is that these small bites complement your drink and encourage conversation – because who can gobble down a big meal and chat away at the same time?
Meanwhile, pintxos (derived from the Spanish word ‘pinchar’, meaning to pierce) are more about the art of layering flavors. Each bite is like a mini gourmet dish, where the combination of ingredients is key.
Plus, there’s something fun about walking into a pintxos bar and seeing an array of colorful options all skewered and waiting to be chosen!
Where do people typically go out for pintxos in Barcelona?
The most popular spot for pintxos in Barcelona is definitely Carrer de Blai in Poble Sec, which is considered the unofficial ‘Pintxos Street’ of Barcelona. A pedestrianized strip where both sides of the street are lined with pintxos bars, offering a range of delicious options.
Carrer de Blai is liket’s the kind of place where you can hop from one spot to the next, collecting a plate here and a drink there, all while soaking in the lively atmosphere. The prices are generally pocket-friendly, making it a hit among locals and tourists alike.
Just a word to the wise: it can get packed, especially on weekends, but that’s just a testament to its popularity!
Another great spot to get pintxos in Barcelona is El Born, a picturesque neighborhood with winding alleys and medieval architecture, creating the perfect backdrop for a pintxos outing. The bars here offer a mix of traditional pintxos and some innovative takes.
What’s great about El Born is that you can pair your pintxos crawl with a bit of sightseeing – think historical sites, boutiques, and art galleries. It’s a win-win for those looking to mix culture with cuisine.
How do you eat pintxos in Barcelona?
Step into a pintxos bar in Barcelona, and here’s what you do: grab a plate, pick the pintxos that call out to you from the counter, and enjoy with a drink. Once you’re done, the skewers or toothpicks are counted to tally up your bill.
There’s definitely a certain charm in this whole process. Many pintxos bars showcase their offerings on the counter, making it an eye-catching display of colors and textures.
It’s true that it can be a tad overwhelming for first-timers, but that’s the beauty of it – you’re free to pick and choose as you please. Feel free to ask the staff for recommendations; they’re usually more than happy to guide you through their specialties.
And while you can use cutlery, the best way to savor pintxos is often by just picking them up with your hands. It’s all part of the fun and informal vibe!
Do you pay for pintxos before or after you eat them?
In Spain, the general custom is to pay for pintxos after you’ve eaten them. The number of skewers or toothpicks on your plate indicates how much you owe (so make sure you hold on to them). It’s an honor system that’s both simple and efficient.
At many pintxos places, each skewer or toothpick corresponds to a set price, making the billing process smooth. However, it’s always good to keep an eye out for any variations in pricing – some bars might have special pintxos that are priced differently.
It’s a good idea to check the pricing board or ask the staff if you’re unsure. And hey, don’t be shy about stacking those skewers! It’s almost like a badge of honor showcasing your pintxos adventures.
When should you eat pintxos?
Pintxos in Spain are typically enjoyed in the late afternoon to early evening, say from around 5 pm to 8 pm. They’re considered a pre-dinner snack, perfect for those hunger pangs that hit before the typically late Spanish dinners.
However, many pintxos bars are open throughout the day, so you can indulge whenever the mood strikes. This means that while you can munch on them anytime, there’s something special about joining the locals during that golden window between lunch and dinner.
Picture this: the setting sun casting a warm glow, streets coming alive with chatter, and pintxos bars buzzing with activity. It’s not just about the food, but the entire experience.
Plus, pairing your pintxos with a chilled vermouth or a crisp white wine? Now that’s what I call living the Barcelona dream!
Just remember, pintxos are meant to be a teaser for your appetite, a prelude to the main meal, so leave some room for dinner. After all, Spanish gastronomy has so much more to offer!