Ahh Logroño. Tucked away in the heart of the wine region of Rioja surrounded by vineyards, mountains, and winding rivers. The north of Spain is seriously the most beautiful..trust me people. Not only does Logroño have stunning views, insanely delicious wine, and friendly people, but the food scene is out of this world. Signature pinchos accompanied by great wine and a lively atmosphere soaking it all in is enough to make me want to take a drive every weekend. It’s probably a good thing that I don’t have a car otherwise I might actually do that.
In the main city of Logroño which is the capital of this region you’ll find a stunning old town. It’s very easy to navigate your way around and by the end of my 6 hour day trip I was able to wander around the narrow streets without taking my map out once. On the west side you’ll find Calle Laurel which is the famous street well-known for having most of the best bars/restaurants. Every other door is a bar so it’s very easy to do a typical pincho crawl. Pinchos if you don’t know are northern Spain’s version of tapas. Pinchos, however, are not free. Expect to pay around 1-3 euros on a pincho in addition to your 1,60 wine or beer. Even though you do have to pay they are definitely worth it and since you are also sipping on your drink of choice talking with your friends about the stats on the Champions League ..or that you only have a month left of the auxiliar program (insert crying emoji here) you’ll usually only end up needed two or three pinchos and it won’t be that expensive.
With all that being said I’m going to show you a few of the star dishes that you’ll find on or near Calle Laurel so get a notepad ready because you’ll want to remember them all.
1.”El Champi” Travesia de Laurel 2
This I believe is the most famous pincho in Logrono. I saw it plastered on a few bar fronts and loads of people carrying them around. The place you want to go for it? Bar Soriano. Usually I try to go to places that don’t have a ton of travel company window stickers but this place was actually recommended to me by a local. Inside was PACKED with Spaniards and a few tourists. The specialty at this bar (and maybe the only thing they serve) is grilled mushrooms in a secret garlic sauce on top of bread. It’s sooooo good. My mouth is watering as I write this. You absolutely must go here. I ordered a Rioja wine (I should just probably let you know that I had a glass of wine with every single pincho that I am about to show you so you can bet that I was feeling good after) and one stack of these guys which took me straight to heaven.
2. “Matrimonios” Calle de Bretón de los Herreros, 48
I saw this one on a blog post done by the Spain Scoop when they interviewed Liz Carlson. She talks about the bar Blanco y Negro where they have two main specialties. She recommends to try the pincho of goat cheese, jamón, and raspberry sauce which is definitely good but that’s not what this place is well-known for. If you aren’t afraid of anchovies or sardines then ask for the matrimonios which is a warm little sandwich of those two types of fish, a green pepper and olive oil. It sounds so simple but it’s so good. You could just do what I did and get both kinds of pinchos.
3. “Piña y langostino” Laurel 9
When I heard that another famous pincho in Logrono was a skewer of shrimp and pineapple I thought…you´ve got to be kidding me. Although it sounds weird it’s not. I mean think about it; we put ham and pineapple together back home which can kind of work so I thought why not. You have to get it at Juan y Pinchame and it’s posted very clearly on the wall or you could just point to the raw skewers on the bar. You get one skewer with three large shrimp (prawns) and three pieces of pineapple. Everything gets caramelized and the salty, sweet, and sour flavors marry perfectly together.
4. “Bocatitas” Albornoz, 6
Little sandwiches are what you’ll find in Las Quejas. My favorite was the one with mushrooms, jamón, and cheese which I forgot to take a picture of.** I’ll get this right one day.** Anyway, this place is a little walk from the main Calle Laurel and it mainly serves sandwiches. You can find the one I had or a sammie of jamón or chorizo both with some cheese. I just grabbed one for my bus ride because I think that there are better options for your pincho crawl.
5. “Tortilla Española” Calle Albornoz 7
One can’t possible go through an entire day in Spain without having a tortilla. As you all hopefully know a Spanish omelette is an egg dish with potatoes, maybe onions, and a plethora of different options as fillings. The place you need to go to in Logroño is Bar Sebas. Here you can get the tortilla with a topping of “spicy” sauce. Now, I’m Puerto Rican so I can handle really spicy foods and I’m used to laughing at the fact that Spain even uses the word spicy. I mean, some of them think that black pepper is spicy so I wasn’t expecting to be blown away but let me tell you that this sauce definitely has a kick. It’s not pour a whole carton of milk on your tongue spicy but it’s got more cojones than your standard sauces here. You can of course get it without which is just as awesome.
My 2,546th pincho of tortilla in Spain
I can not for the life of me remember where my last stop on my pincho journey was but it was definitely my most memorable. I am all for trying new things and stepping out of my comfort zone so when I saw that this place’s specialty was “sweetbreads” I felt obligated to try it out. If anyone has seen Andrew Zimmern’s Bizzare Foods episode where he travels to Spain you’ll know why my mom asked me if I felt smarter after eating this dish. I ate …..brains people. It must have been the wine that gave me the balls to try this one but it sure didn’t help me eat all of it. The taste wasn’t bad at all actually. They were flavored with garlic, salt, olive oil, lemon, and parsley so they tasted really good but it was the problem with texture. Imagine the outside layer of a sautéed scallop with the inside texture like semi-soft butter that sticks to your teeth but then melts away after a while. Yeah…it’s weird. I’ve had pigs ears here in Spain and I can’t tell which one is more strane.
I know that there are soooo many more bars on Calle Laurel so I can’t possibly try them all in only 6 hours without spending half my paycheck and passing out from over-consumption so these were all I had. Here are a few honorable mentions from some of the other bars on this street.
- Bar Jubera – patatasbravas
- Torrecilla- grilled foiegras
- Bar Donosti- crab filled peppers
- Ribera- grilled pork cheek
- Juana la Loca- grilled squid
- La Abuela Encarna- paella
- Las Cubanas-cochinillo
- Bar Angel- marinated lamb
Have you eaten your way through the streets of Logroño? Which place/pincho was your favorite?
Also, if you are a vegetarian my awesome friend and fellow blogger Ashley from Como Pederse en España has written a post about vegetarian hot spots in Logroño so you too can get your grub on!