Barcelona has two main areas for trying tasty Pinchos, but which is best?
Before we get ahead of ourselves, it is important to understand just what pinchos are. Pinchos actually come from the Basque region in Northern Spain and are small bite-sized morsels of pretty much anything, but almost always placed on top of a slice of bread. They are instantly recognisable by the cocktail stick which holds the precarious stack of food together. The name comes from the word pinchar which means to prick. Traditional pinchos include chorizo, tortilla, jamón and croquettes. In pinchos bars you can pick and choose however many you please and your bill is then calculated from the number of cocktail sticks left on your plate.
In Barcelona there are two main areas to go pinchos bar hopping – El Born and the street Carrer de Blai in the Poble-Sec area. El Born gives a more traditional approach to the typical pinchos, whereas Carrer de Blai is well known for providing cheap pinchos for just €1, but can they compete with those on offer in El Born? Let battle commence!
In ‘El Born’ corner are Sagardi BCN Gotic, Golfo de Bizkaia and Euskal Etxea.
In ‘Carrer de Blai’ corner are Koska Taverna, La Tasqueta de Blai and Blai 9.
Sagardi BCN Gotic (62 Carrer de l’Argenteria) vs Koska Taverna (8 Carrer de Blai)
Sagradi BCN Gotic gets off to a strong start with high quality pinchos for €3. However, Koska Taverna strikes back hard with pinchos at just €1. Sagardi BCN Gotic may have a higher price but the quality and variety are worth it. But don’t rule out Koska just yet with its family feel and friendly staff, and despite a smaller selection than most places, there is a good range on offer.
Euskal Etxea (1 Placeta de Montcada) vs La Tasqueta de Blai (17 Carrer de Blai)
Next up, we have Euskal Etxea weighing in with its warm, open atmosphere and regular offerings from the waiters with the pinchos of the day. I would recommend coming here for the atmosphere alone. La Tasqueta de Blai fights back with one of the cheapest options for pinchos at just €1. Despite the low price, the quality isn’t bad and also offers a huge variety including scrumptious dessert pinchos.
Golfo de Bizkaia (12 Carrer de la Vidrieria) vs Blai 9 (9 Carrer de Blai)
Last up we have Blai 9 vs Golfo de Bizkaia. Blai 9 kicks off with more a creative take on the traditional pinchos. Think less of the traditional chorizo or tortilla pinchos and more of spring rolls and unusual creations stacked on top of one another in a delightful morsel. Golfo de Bizkaia packs a punch with the service being one of the highlights as waiters and bar staff offer you freshly made pinchos almost every five minutes. Strong willpower is required to turn some of them down, especially if you’re planning to visit several bars throughout the night.
Personally I always enjoy Carrer de Blai, I can eat a lot more for a lot less and try a variety of traditional and non-traditional pinchos. I may be slightly biased, however, as I love a bargain and am still a poor graduate. Having said that, El Born is still really good value for money, excellent quality pinchos and all in a lively, historic area. So really, it depends what you’re after. If you want to save your money and try something a bit different go to Carrer de Blai. But if you want more traditional pinchos head to El Born. Or why not try both! Whatever you decide, you can’t really go wrong as wherever you end up you’ll be guaranteed some delicious pinchos!