Bilbao Berria Pintxos, Barcelona – Spain

I had taken a weekend trip to Barcelona with Mrs Travel Freak.  Our flight had landed on time, our car had picked us up from the airport as arranged and the hotel check-in had gone well.  We had asked the barman for somewhere we could go for some traditional Spanish food (it was now already 11pm) and he recommended Bilbao Berria.

We had jumped in a cab as instructed.  The journey from the Me hotel to the restaurant took about 10 minutes and cost 9€.

As soon as I entered here I knew I was going to enjoy myself.  There was a large bar / counter which had rows and rows of Pintxos.  The barman had described these as “small snacks on bread” but I hadn’t really understood what he meant.  There was maybe around 30 different types of Pintxos split into three main sections: fish, dessert and everything else.

We took a seat and the waiter came over and asked us for our drinks order.  As it was our first night in Spain we ordered a glass of Cava each (2.85€).  We were handed a plate each and off we went!

Everything here was on bread; imagine a slice of a French baguette. On top of the bread were toppings; cheese, ham, croquettes, meatballs, fish of many varieties, tomato to name a few.  A large cocktail stick / spike (or Pintxo) was then put through everything to keep it all together.

I had way too many Pintxos to explain them all but my favorites were a spicy Italian type sausage, manchego cheese and iberico ham and of course, the chicken and ham croquette (although I will add that the croquettes were good, but not as good as I make when I do a tapas night…).

As you consume the food you place the sticks in a small holder on the table.  We had another glass of Cava each and then a couple of the desserts that were pretty good too.  I found it amusing that the Cava was simply topped up – i.e. we kept the same glasses – how health and safety spoils all the fun at home!  Mrs Travel Freak particularly enjoyed the strawberry gateau dessert.

When we were ready to leave we called for the waiter who appeared as soon as we needed him.  He counted the sticks in the holder on the table and gave us a bill based on this.  I thought this was such an easy way to charge people for everything.  I then reflected on how it would never work in the UK; people would break / steal / eat the sticks… sad.

Each Pintxo was 1.65€ and we managed 18 between us.  All in the cost of the meal was 41€ which I thought was fantastic.  What an excellent introduction to some of the gastronomic delights that Spain has to offer.

I later found out that there is another branch of Bilbao in Barcelona too.  We went to the one on carrer Argenteria.  Get off the yellow Metro at Jaume 1.  It’s a three minutes walk from the station.  Website.  Check out the promotional video here – its gives you a really good idea of what its like!



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