Now Playing

Pintxos Versus Tapas

Cuál es la diferencia?


Traditionally eaten in bars in northern Spain, pintxos (peen-chos) aren’t interchangeable with tapas. “A lot of people think of pintxos as tapas on a skewer,” says Aatxe’s Ryan Pollnow. “But it’s a whole repertoire of small one- or two-bite appetizers.” (Pollnow plans to welcome Aatxe’s guests with the gilda, a pintxo composed of an anchovy, a manzanilla olive, and a guindilla pepper.)

Their ingredients—typically meat, cheese, vegetables, or seafood—are usually speared with a toothpick to a piece of baguette. Tapas, on the other hand, generally refer to small plates that often come free with a drink in Spain. Think deep-fried croquetas, like the jamón-stuffed specimen found at Shakewell, or the braised meatballs called albóndigas—the Commissary’s version (pictured), made with pork, is excellent.  

Read more:
Viva España: SF's new Spanish restaurants
Know Your Swine: A guide to Spanish charcuteria
Pintxos vs. Tapas:
 Cuál es la differencia?
Bomba Is the New Black: A taxonomy of rice and noodle dishes
Big Fish: Behold the ubiquitous salt cod
Sherry, Baby: It's not just your Grandma's dessert wine
Happy Ending: Churros to rock your world


Originally published in the March issue of San Francisco

Have feedback? Email us at
Email Rebecca Flint Marx at
Follow us on Twitter @sanfranmag
Follow Rebecca Flint Marx on Twitter @EdibleComplex