Small, meaningful bites! Tapas & Pinxtos in Spain

By Sergio González | 10:25

Tapas relate to more traditional gastronomy and are meant to be shared

Tapas and Pinxtos are some of the most important aspects of gastronomy in Spain and, besides the famous molecular cooks, one of the most alluring attractions of the country’s cuisine. It’s fun, it’s cheaper than a meal and you get to try many different dishes in one single act. Did I hear ‘perfection’? 

Tapas is the most common name given for ‘Spanish shrunken gastronomy’ outside the country yet never to be confused with pinchos or pintxos. The latter is the way to say it in San Sebastian, homeland for the finest and boldest creations. Nearby cities Pamplona and Logroño are equally outstanding pintxos destinations.

Logroño festivals honoring the harvest of Rioja grapes, San Mateos, are about to happen and you can’t miss them. Though some foreign visitors can be spotted, it’s still a non-mainstream huge wine and food party to be discovered. Book your stay in Logroño directly at NH Hotels website to get the best comfort and discounts.

Pintxos (literally, sticks) get their name because most of them are individual portions hold together with a tooth stick, and are far more common in the north part of the country, though tapas are always welcome. Haute mini-cuisine and seafood pintxos are locals’ favorites.

Spanish tapas are usually smaller versions of regular-sized dishes like paella, calamares (deep-fried squid) or croquetas, Spanish for croquettes. You are supposed to share them, and they usually cover a lot of traditional dishes so tapas are perfect for travelers willing to grasp a general idea of Spanish unique gastronomy.

If you are hitting the south of the country, you are most likely to be having tapas, not pintxos. But don’t get sad, because Andalusian gastronomy is scrumptious, nearly perfect, as it is a great example of how healthy food can actually be delicious. Fresh vegetables and fish of all kinds are the flagship of this interpretation of Mediterranean diet.

In many southern cities like Córdoba, Granada or Cáceres tapas are for free. Seriously, they come along with your drink.

Some of the most popular tapas in Andalusia are jamón, Spanish serrano ham, pescaíto frito, deep fried fish platter, or atún rojo, red fin tuna. Marry them with some local sweet wine, fino or manzanilla, and enjoy. Don’t forget to order a cold gazpacho made with fresh veggies.

Pintxos, like this Cut of Foie at Estado Puro, drink from modern cuisine and are entirely for you

Madrid is the perfect fusion of every other thing. Whether you are into tapas or pintxos, you can have the best specialities from the rest of the country, even seafood. Madrid it is said to be the best fish market in Spain, although it lays 220 miles from the shore.

Once you’ve experienced the exquisite pintxos at Mercado de San Miguel and the tapas at La Latina and Malasaña districts, we invite you to come meet Michelin-starred chef Paco Roncero’s new bold proposals at Estado Puro. He imagined a new haute cuisine interpretation for Spanish traditional tapas and he nailed it.

Wait till you taste some delicious tiger mussels or the so popular deconstructed Spanish omelete to thank the info. Cocktails and desserts are equally exquisite, so totally worth the visit. Estado Puro is in NH Paseo del Prado, right opposite the famous national art gallery with the same name.

Btw, if you finally grasp the difference between tapas and pintxos, you should know Spanish tapas are also served in raciones (big platter to share), and that they actually get many different names along the country, like tostas or montaditos. Enjoy the delicious mess!

Photo credit: Freddie H


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