Discover the Basque Country

Top 10 Dishes You Have To Try In San Sebastián

If you’ve made it to this beautiful town nestled on Spain’s northwest coast, chances are you’ve heard about the food. With more Michelin stars per capita than anywhere else in the world, plus a barrage of tempting pintxo bars crowding the atmospheric streets of the old town, San Sebastián is a culinary capital that has a ton to offer when it comes to all things gastronomical. Foodies flock here, chefs love to eat here, and even novices come away with a new understanding of food as culture.

To make your next trip to this culinary mecca a bit easier, we’ve rounded up the top 5 Basque dishes you absolutely must try on your next visit.

5) Gilda

This quintessential pintxo consists of local pickled guindilla peppers, salted anchovies, and green olives, all skewered together on a toothpick. It can be found pretty much in every pintxo bar in town.


4) Txistorra

A type of Basque chorizo that’s flavored with garlic, salt, and paprika, and is thinner in size than traditional chorizo. It’s made of minced pork or a mix of pork and beef, and is a typical pintxo you’ll see on nearly every bar counter in town.

3) Pastel Vasco

This delicious dessert looks like a covered pie or tart. It’s found throughout the Basque region and is filled with crème patissière and/or cherry jam.

2) Idiazabal cheese

The most typical cheese in town, it’s made of unpasteurized sheep’s milk and is aged for a few months. It comes in natural and smoked styles and has a hard rind. You’ll find plenty of pintxos using it as an ingredient, from the popular San Sebastian-style risotto made with orzo to Idiazabal cheesecake.

1) Kokotxas de bacalao al pil pil

Bacalao, or salted cod, is a staple throughout the region and served in an array of ways. The popular Basque “pil-pil” style is a classic sauce that’s made from the fish’s natural gelatin and olive oil, plus garlic and, sometimes, chili pepper. It demands a bit of technique to make, combining oil with the gelatin that’s released while cooking the cod to create a creamy emulsion. Kokotxas are the fleshy fish cheeks or throats, a part that’s usually thrown away elsewhere, but one that the Basques savor and have turned into a local delicacy.

These tasty bites are definitely worth a try on your next trip to San Sebastián, but there are so many more dishes to taste. Pintxo bar hopping is a must, and we have several tours that can guide you through eating in the city with a local expert. Or, try your hand at making pintxos yourself, or other classic dishes, with one of our cooking classes

Check out our experiences in San Sebastián here:

Did your favorite dish make the list? Leave us a comment.

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