We had savored tapas in Valencia on our two visits there. We had heard of "pinchos" in Bilbao but had not had them.

So, what are pinchos? Pinchos are small open-faced sandwiches which are pierced with a long toothpick. A good pincho chef can build a pincho that is artistic as well as delicious by stacking various layers of meat, fish, shrimp, vegetables, etc. on the single piece of bread.

Pincho with mushroom, pimento and ham (image from

We found out recently that one of the best pincho restaurants in Barcelona, Maitea, is only a 20 minute walk from our apartment. We have been there twice already and will certainly go there again before we head home.

Maitea's counter. Notice the pinchos behind the glass doors. When you see what looks good, just open the door and take one off of the plate.

The other night we had dinner at Maitea and consumed 10 pinchos at the amazingly low price of 1.65 Euro per pincho. At the end of the meal, the toothpicks are counted to know how many pinchos have been consumed.

The following 3 photos document our dinner:

Here are four plates of pinchos by Maitea:

We like pinchos very much because of their variety and great taste combinations. But in the cafes of Barcelona it is much much more common to find tapas than pinchos. What are tapas? According to the website "Tapas can be practically anything from a chunk of tuna, cocktail onion and an olive skewered on a long toothpick, to piping hot meat with sauce served in a miniature clay dish - or anything in between. Tapas are served day in and day out in every bar and café in Spain."

When we have a meal at a cafe it is almost always bocadillos, sandwiches on baguette style bread, or tapas. Just for a historical note, here are photos of the tapas we had, for lunch today:

Small green peppers, not spicy, grilled with oil and salted with coarsely ground salt - so good!

Half potatoes topped with a creamy sauce that we could not identify - but yummy!

A meat and vegetable salad with pickles

Delicious croquettes filled with spinach

Well that is our story about the food here in Barcelona. There are many fine restaurants and we have tried a few for seafood. But generally we are very happy with pinchos, tapas and bocadillos.

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