Pintxos – My Favorite Part of Spanish Cuisine

pintxos Spain

Traveling through Spain for me is a study in slowing down and relaxing. Maybe that’s why I love the country so much, not only is it beautiful but the pace of life there is just slower. Even as a casual tourist it’s easy to get caught up in the constant supply of wine and meat, and even the odd meal hours. One of my favorite parts of Spanish food and even culture, is the small snack known as pintxos.

Pintxos (or pinchos) are small bites, almost like tapa, found in cafes and bars around Spain. In many parts of Spain, dinner is usually served late, between 9 – 11 PM, so many people crowd neighborhood bars in the early evening to enjoy good company, fine wine and some light bites. Enter the pintxo.

I first found this fun food while in Girona, part of Spain’s Costa Brava. I was out with some friends enjoying yet another warm afternoon when I noticed that the bar top was lined with a variety of foods. Each one was served on a small piece of bread and pierced with a toothpick. That’s actually how pintxos got their name; pincho means spike, and this lanced snack is what also separates it from its culinary cousin, tapas.

I strolled up to the bar, selected a few mystery items and returned to our table. Just relaxing comfortably with friends is probably my favorite thing to do in Spain. Not having a clear agenda, instead just grabbing a glass of wine at the local bar and chatting the afternoon away. Add pinxtos to the mix, and you can even make a meal out of it, at least I can. It’s not a pay as you go system, instead the toothpicks are counted up when you settle the bill and that’s how they calculate how much you’ve consumed.

This is how I choose to think of Spain, the warm memories of sitting at an outdoor cafe, watching people go by, chatting with friends and doing absolutely nothing. While I may not like organized moments of relaxation, surprising ones like hanging out at a cafe in Spain is definitely one of my fondest travel memories.

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By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer. Also follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook and

9 Responses

  1. Jen

    Yum! I love Spanish food at home but I think it will be a million times better when I get to Spain soon.

    Reply
  2. Lisa

    This post made me hungry despite just finishing my lunch! It reminded me of my visit to Vigo and Santiago de Compestela in North-West Spain. I’d love to return and eat my way along the Camino de Santiago…

    Reply
  3. Mike of Mapless Mike

    My mouth is watering! I love Spain, and its food. I’m looking forward to enjoying pintxos much more often once I arrive in Spain!

    Reply
  4. Rachel

    I chose to live in Spain for part of every year and much of that decision was because of the food. Match that with Thailand, the other place I live, and as you can imagine I’m always well fed 🙂

    Beautiful photos on your blog, btw.

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      Yes, I can’t imagine going hungry in either country 🙂 And thank you!

      Reply
  5. Hannah

    We can’t wait to check out Spain food when we get to Europe soon! Any news on their street food? or they are just really upscale?

    Reply
    • Didier

      San Sebastian in north of Spain (Basque Country) is home of pintxos. Its also an amazingly beautiful city. North of Spain is quite different to the Spain most tourists have in mind, but to me it is not only stunningly beautiful (and green for it rains quite a lot) but also a paradise for food where a wide amount of vegetables, meats, and fish, all of them of such good and fesh quality will amaze you. I love pintxos for they are almost an art, but as I do with famous tapas I encourage people to go further and explore beyond, to really learn and discover the vast amount, the quality and really varied culinary offer in Spain.

      Reply
  6. Tonio

    Although pintxos may now be found anywhere in Spain, they are originally from País Vasco (Basque Country).

    Reply

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