NAVARRA - PAMPLONA - IRUÑA - PINCHO BAR CRAWL
Pamplona/Iruña is the historical capital city of Navarre/Navara in the former Kingdom of Navarre. It was a medieval Basque kingdom until it was annexed by Castile in the 16th century.
The city is famous worldwide for the running of the bulls during the San Fermín festival, which is held annually from July 6 to 14. This festival was brought to literary renown with the 1926 publication of Ernest Hemingway's novel - The Sun Also Rises.
We stayed at,
CASA OTANO BAR RESTAURANTE
bajo, Calle de San Nicolás 5, 31001 Pamplona, Navarra
+34 948 22 26 38
This hostal is right on Calle de San Nicolás. It is also home to Bar Otano below, which is one of the oldest pincho bars in Pamplona.
The bar is located on one of the liveliest streets for drinking and pinchos.
They prepare croquetas, chistorras, and tortillas of all kinds, as well as mini hamburgers. In addition, it has a great restaurant on the upper floor with a balcony overlooking the street below.
Upper floor restaurant.
it also offers a selection of special pinchos at the bar. These include zucchini stuffed with shellfish or fresh foie with raisin bread and Modena sauce.
We started with the Bar Otano chistorras.
We then moved onto,
LA MANDARRA DE LA RAMOS
Calle de San Nicolás, 9, 31001 Pamplona, Navarra
+34 948 21 26 54
This is a modern tavern designed in traditional style with beautiful decor that has become one of the busiest here. Its pepper pincho is a favourite among lovers of fried food, but its selection includes other delicacies such as the boletus (mushroom) pincho, fresh vegetable croquetas, or toast with piquillo peppers, and anchovies from Santoña. The place is also one of the best pincho bars in Pamplona to eat a good ham tapa, which is what we had.
Excellent Jamón de Cebo Ibérico 50% Raza from Huelva.
Next up was,
Calle de San Nicolás 32, 31001 Pamplona, Navarra
+34 674 67 29 53
Here you will find more modern design pinchos like the Boombeja, which won the Pincho 2017 and is made with bread from sheep’s milk, truffled lactonesa (a type of sauce) and cod ceviche and foie, champagne and truffle. You can continue this experience for the senses in their avant-garde restaurant.
We had, croqueta Semana (mushroom croquette).
Frito sin gluten.
Exo Talo (crab wrap).
We then move onto Cafe Roch, which was unfortunately just closing.
Pictures are from a previous visit.
Calle Comedias, 6, 31001 Pamplona, Navarra.
+34 948 22 23 90
This family affair was originally established, on the very same street it now resides and dates back to 1898. The history and culture of Pamplona have been preserved in full here.
With its old-style traditional décor, from years past, and its strong desire to stick to tradition in the way they make their coffee and food, this small café has become world-famous for its Fritos (a large type of croquetas) with a wide variety of fillings. There's normally a selection of at least half a dozen, depending on what time you get there. All are crisp, soft in the middle and are perfect to be eaten with a fork.
We then walked up the steps and onto Plaza de Castillo and popped into
Plaza del Castillo 44, 31001 Pamplona, Navarra +34 948 22 20 64
Café Iruña is one of the most famous bars in Pamplona and a great spot for a true taste of culture, and great quality café con Leche. Time stands still here, established in 1888, it is one of the most symbolic corners of the old town.
After Ernest Hemingway immortalised Café Iruña and Pamplona in his novel The Sun Also Rises, many visit the café, not just for the coffee but to experience Pamplona as Hemingway did in his literary travels. It was the first establishment in Pamplona to have electricity and exudes Spanish style and tradition. It is like a ghost from the 19th century, vast polished mirrors are fixed to its walls, Arabesque pillars rise to the ornate ceiling, the tiled floor scuffed by decades of chair-legs scraping backwards.
It still has a local feel. On weekday mornings, sipping café con Leche you are still surrounded by elderly matriarchs, huddled in pairs at rounded tables. And Hemingway is also here, he's a swarthy statue standing by the bar in a side room that, until Spain enforced a ban was the smoking area.
This is the Fifties Hemingway, full of face and the scowl upon it conveys what would surely have been his opinion on Spain's new tobacco ban. We visit here for the atmosphere and a drink but there is better food elsewhere.
CAFÉ BAR GAUCHO
Calle de Espoz y Mina 7, Plaza Del Castillo, 31002, Pamplona, Navarra +34 948 22 50 73
Pinchos are always on the bar here, although, it is best to have the freshly made hot ones.
Huevo Trufado con patatas fritas (truffled Egg with French Fries).
Carrillera de cerdo (pork cheek).
Paquete de pato y bechamel. (duck and bechamel parcel).
Bombita dos salsas (meatball with spicy tomato sauce).
This small bar has charm aplenty and is an obvious local favourite, set in the ambience of a city that still echoes the medieval era in its defensive walls. As in most bars, we top the food off with the excellent local wine from the Navarre region.
To finish off we went to,
Plaza del Castillo 20, 31001 Pamplona, Navarra
+34 948 22 20 12
When we arrived, a group of locals were providing some midnight entertainment.
This is where Hemingway drank in 1959, it is similarly boisterous and still there. The bar is always busy with tourists and locals alike. It is famous for its award-winning chistorras.
We eat our chistorra and, drink up, and drift off into the night.
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