Logroño: city of pinchos and pilgrims – Part 2

Pinchos are like tapas.  In Spain, tapas is the name for a great variety of small savoury dishes which can now be found anywhere in the world.  It is not an exaggeration to say that “tapas” cuisine and tapas bars are endemic world-wide and fast catching up in number to sushi food bars.  In northern Spain, the word used is “pinchos” and in the Spanish Basque country, “pintxos“.


Pinchos derives its name from the fact that pincho means either a “spike or small wooden stick” used to pick up small pieces of food – see photo.  Another meaning, but culinary related is: un pincho de tortilla – here pincho meaning a “small portion of omelette”. 

Ración – a portion of food or a small plate of a particular food and raciones in the plural, are other ways to eat small quantities but allowing you to try many more other dishes and foods.   You may have on the menu una ración de albóndigas – a plate of meatballs.

Here below is a list of pinchos, tapas, raciones and other various finger food Spanish names which you can find in the various bars and taverns in the two dominant food zones in the old part of Logroño.  Often, these Logroño eating places specialise in one, two or three pinchos as indicated below.

  • tostada de jamón con tomate – ham on a toasted piece of bread with tomatoes
  • foie fresco a la plancha – fresh liver pâté grilled on bread
  • navajas y Berberechos a la plancha – cockles (edible mollusc) cooked on a hot grill
  • calabacín relleno de hongos y foie – zucchini/courgette filled with mushrooms and pâté
  • setas en pincho – mushrooms with wooden sticks
  • solomillo con salsa de roquefort o reducción de vino – small pieces of sirloin steak with Roquefort (soft blue ewes’ cheese) sauce or in a reduced wine sauce
  • pulpo a la gallega – octopus in the Galician stlye; the octopus is boiled, garnished with red paprika, salt, olive oil and considered Galicia’s signature dish and found along the Camino Francés pilrimage route. When on the Camino Francés and you finally get to Melide; nearly two day’s out walking to Santiago de Compostela. There is a restaurant specialising in octopus.  The 30 all-weather walking maps of the Camino de Santiago details this invertebrate mollusc (octupus) eating house.
  • bacalao desmigado y sardinilla con chili – salt cured Icelandic cod – presented as irregular strips, there are no bones, before serving it has been desalted; sometimes called ‘wetsalted cod strips’ and small sardines with chilli.  In Spain, sardines are highly regarded and respected as a regular food source from the sea.  The Spanish sardine (big or small) has a firm texture, a good sardine is never overly soft and always with a very shiny looking silvery skin.  Sardines sourced from Galicia are considered the best in Spain.
  • bocatitas de ibéricos, raciones de ibéricos y quesos – small pieces (therefore little mouthfuls of ham) of the better quality and more pricey Iberian cured ham compared to jamón serrano (cheap and ubiquitous along the Camino track) and various Spanish cheeses (e.g. queso manchego)
  • pincho moruno y embuchados a la plancha – Spanish style kebabs and stuffed pinchos with minced meat cooked on coals or grilled
  • pincho de champiñón y brocheta de sepia – a mushroom pincho and a cuttlefish (a mollusc with soft white flesh; similar to an oyster or mussel) pierced with a skewer
  • caparrones con caramelo de guindilla – this is one of Logroño’s signature dishes – here are some of the ingredients: caparrones – a Spanish stew made of caparrón, a variety of red kidney beans, and a spicy sausage chorizo, onions, oil, a Spanish spice called especias, chilli hot peppers, and black ‘caramelo’ like sauce made from guindilla (chilli hot peppers)
  • tortilla de patata – the ubiquitous Spanish potato omelette found throughout Spain and the number one dish to choose when on the Camino de Santiago and very hard to tire of it
  • patatas bravas y bocadillos – this dish is always present in bars serving pinchos or tapas: crispy spiced potatoes usually served in a flat round brown bowl with ketchup and mayonnaise; nearly always served warm in bars, sometimes chopped parsley and often accompanied with bread
  • huevos de codorniz variados – a variety of quail eggs and reasonably expensive


  1. D.Matthew says:

    Great write up!

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