Logroño, La Rioja: Pintxo-Hop Like a Local

Upon sitting down for a drink near our centrally located hotel on Calle Bretón de los Herreros in Logroño, capital of the autonomous community of La Rioja, Spain, we struck up a conversation with some friendly locals who literally read us their list of go-to spots for pintxos around town. Shout out to those two ladies – we’d be lost without ya. Here is their list of hot-spots to pintxo-hop like a local, which we dutifully followed.

But first – a note on how to order wine in La Rioja, which our kind friends also explained to us. When you’re in La Rioja, it’s basically a given that you’ll be ordering Rioja wine, and, more specifically, red wine, or vino tinto, for which La Rioja is best known. So, when ordering around these parts,  you gotta be specific. People tend to order three types of Rioja red wines: Joven, Crianza, and Reserva. “Joven” literally means “young,” so these categories essentially refer to how long the wine has been aged. When pintxo-hopping in Logroño, drinking Crianza is the move – almost everyone orders it. We didn’t hear many people ordering vino Joven or Reserva in the local bars. In fact, during our wine tasting at the bodega Marqués de Riscal, our guide explained that Crianza is best for casual settings, when you’re eating tapas and pintxos and can easily drink 3-4 glasses. In contrast, a Reserva or Gran Reserva is best for a larger meal, when you’re going to sit down in a more formal setting. He added that having 3-4 Reservas may feel like having a “cement ball in your stomach,” lol.

Next, let’s talk about how to order beer in Logroño, which our Riojana gal pals also explained to us. The insider way to order beer when pintxo-hopping in Logroño is to order a  corto,” which literally means “short.” A corto resembles a caña but is actually a little smaller. It’s almost like a big shot of beer, lol. I really enjoyed drinking cortos because they keep cool and go down smooth. 

And now, time for the list of greatest hits for pintxo-hopping in Logroño. Most of these spots are on Calle Laurel, a buzzing lane of pintxo bars in the heart of town. That means everything on this list is in close walking distance, or sometimes right next to each other. Calle San Juan is also popular for pintxo-hopping. It’s common for each bar to have one speciality or a few go-to pintxos. That way, you end up trying quite a few treats by the end of the  night.

Pintxo-Hopping Route in Logroño

La Casa de Los Quesos. This little cheese shop serves up a different spread of cheeses every day – the server essentially picks for you and explains each cheese type in detail. This is a good way to kick off your pintxo route in Logroño. We recommend getting a small platter, which came with three different cheeses, along with gorgonzola truffle cheese cones – see the main pic for this post above. Yum!

El Muro. This may have been our fave pintxo bar on this route. The go-to here is the Cojonudo, which literally translates to “awesome,” haha. And it was – def one of the tastiest pintxos we ate. The Cojonudo is a bun filled with a picadillo de chorizo and topped with a fried quail egg (I think, lol – didn’t get the exact recipe). The key to eating this is to press a knife into the fried egg and close the bun so that the yolk stays inside. Delish. We also enjoyed the “Ferrero Rocher” pintxo, which is essentially a ball of morcilla (blood sausage) filled with a bit of cheese and covered in almond pieces, thus giving it a “Ferrero Rocher” appearance. The torreznos were also good here!

Bar Donosti. Here, the move is to order the Embuchado, which is a small plate of thinly sliced, fried, crispy meat (I believe it can be prepared with goat or sheep’s meat as a base). At Bar Donosti, the dish is served with a spicy sauce. We thought this tapa was unique and tasty.

Bar Soriano. This is def one of Logroño’s most famous pintxo bars. It’s a family-run restaurant that’s been around since the ’60s. I’m pretty sure the only thing served here is a pintxo of garlicky mushrooms topped with a small shrimp on a piece of bread. The mushrooms are stacked on the bread like a tower, with a skewer holding it all together.  If you wanna look like a real pro, you gotta know how to eat this thing: the key is take bites from the top, pulling the  skewer down as you go. That way, you’re left with a piece of bread full of yummy sauce and don’t make too much of a mess. When it comes to ordering here, all you have to do is say the number of pintxos you want and they know that you mean the mushroom pintxo. For example, ordering “dos y dos cortos” means two mushroom pintxos and two cortos de cerveza

Tío Agus. The call here is the Pintxo Moruno with chimichurri sauce. This pintxo is essentially a hot dog bun filled with chicken, sausage, or another meat – there are a few options to choose from – slathered in tasty chimichurri .

Perchas. The classic here is the oreja de cerdo (yes, pig’s ear, lol), usually prepared in two different ways: rebozado (lightly breaded and fried) or picante (spicy). This is not for the faint of heart, lol. I love this stuff, but not everyone does. I personally liked the rebozado better, but both were tasty!

Pata Negra. The go-to bite here is a bocata de jamón con Queso Tetilla – a small sandwich of Spanish ham and a delicious cheese from the autonomous community of Galicia. The cheese is served melted on soft bread. The place also serves up proper cortos – they’re practically like shots of beer!

Bar Blanco y Negro. The famed pintxo here is the matrimonio – a serving of anchoa and boquerón (essentially two different types of anchovies.) This is a popular tapa throughout Spain.

Additional Suggestions: While in Logroño, grab a bollo preñado, which literally translates to “pregnant bun,” since it’s a bun filled with chorizo sausage, haha. You’ll find them in almost any bakery. We had some for breakfast. You’ll see locals lined up for these!

Enjoy pintxo-hopping in Logroño!