Vitoria-Gasteiz is the administrative capital of the Basque Country and often gets overlooked in favour of Bilbao and San Sebastián, but with its medieval old town, many green spaces and pintxos bars that rival anywhere in Spain, it’s well worth a visit. Here are our top ten pintxos bars in Vitoria-Gasteiz.
Bar, Spanish, Cocktails, Wine, Beer
Tximiso Taberna opened in 2001 to provide something different from the usual fare in Vitoria-Gasteiz – top-quality pintxos in a relaxed and casual environment. Sit on at low wooden tables with stools and choose from a variety of bites lining the bar or under glass cases. Nibble on pintxos of ham and goat’s cheese, mini stuffed peppers and chorizo with ham and green peppers.
One of the gastronomic symbols of Vitoria-Gasteiz, award-winning pintxo bar Toloño is both trendy and modern. Inside you’ll find a sleek white bar with a funky black-and-white-tiled floor and types of pintxos printed on labels, hung up on its wood-panelled walls. The seating area is a contemporary white space, plastered with media quotes about the bar and lit with colourful lights. Chef Enrique Fuentes and his wife Carmen Bargaño create delicious pintxo bites such as baked spider crab, wild mushroom risotto and pastry topped with broad beans, pisto (similar to ratatouille) and mackerel.
Situated in one of the most picturesque places in Vitoria-Gasteiz, La Malquerida is located opposite the Plaza Virgen Blanca and close to the Catedral de Santa María. The bar offers both tapas and pintxos in a cosy and creative atmosphere. Fancy-looking tapas and pintxos include cappuccino of vegetables; carpaccio of salmon with honey and mustard; and veal sirloin with potato, foie gras and rum cola sauce.
A bar and restaurant in one, El Tabanko is a tiny quaint looking place with bare-stone walls, white tables and chairs and cute country cottage-style floral soft furnishings. Pintxos and tapas offerings are stylish and gourmet – served in mini glasses, small frying pans and on pieces of bread.
Bar Erkiaga is known for its award-winning, fine dining-quality pintxos, created by chef Josune Menéndez. Its most famous offering is La Vieira del Peregrino – a candied scallop served with a reduction of Albariño wine, an algae vinaigrette and a mussel foam, served on a bed of dry ice and inside a scallop shell (the symbol of the Camino de Santiago). Bartender Jesús Palomo also serves an array of delectable wines and cocktails.
Bar Barrón is a great modern hangout spot in the centre of the city, which serves both pintxos and larger portions to share. There are international offerings such as nachos, woks, tempura and curried chicken wings, as well as more traditional Basque fare. Some of the Basque and Spanish bites include ham with goat’s cheese and caramelised onions and cod with olive paté.
Bar, Spanish, Tapas, Cocktails, Wine, Beer, Fast Food
A small old-fashioned bar with ham hanging from the ceilings and stools along the bar, El Rincón de Luis Mari opened in 1950 and has a local, familial feel. Over many years the bar has become well known for its excellent Iberian ham, and even serves jamón de Jabugo – Spain’s best, award-winning ham from the town of Huelva in Andalusia. As well as the typical pintxos, they also serve local produce, such as peppers from Tolosa, black pudding from Burgos, and percebes – a Basque delicacy of goose barnacles.
Located on Vitoria-Gasteiz’s most prominent plaza – the Virgen Blanca, where the Fiestas de la Virgen Blanca are held – Restaurante Virgen Blanca occupies en enviable position. Sit outside and choose from a menu of the day with three courses or a range of pintxos and montaditos (mini filled baguettes), found along the bar.
Bar, Spanish, Fast Food, Cocktails, Wine, Beer, $$$
Twice named the best pintxo bar in Spain, Sagartoki is the place to go to splash out, where innovation and flavours combine. Not just a restaurant and not just a bar, Sagartoki is the place to be and be seen with nightly DJs and fancy cocktails created by bartender Raúl Fernández. It’s a space to experience the five senses, where chef Senén González has created a fine pintxo menu, featuring Mediterranean-style sushi, baby mushroom and truffle omelettes, and salmon and shrimp trawler.
Cafe, Spanish, Coffee, Fast Food, Vegetarian, Tea , $$$
Situated in the Jardínes de Falerina gardens, Hor Dago! is one of the best spots to sit in the spring and summer when the sun is shining. Inside you’ll find a warm and cosy dining area, while outside in the garden, you can listen to live music in the evenings. Traditionally, it’s a barbecue restaurant, serving huge chunks of grilled meat, but it also offers delectable pintxos featuring typical Basque ingredients such as cod.