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Graze on delightful Basque bites
Jean Phi/Press Image
In a small, uncharacteristically green corner of Northern Spain, you’ll not only find the most Michelin-starred restaurants per square kilometre in the world, but a city whose parte vieja (old town) is reputed to have the most bars per square kilometre, too.
That seaside city is Donostia, known to everyone but the Basque as San Sebastián. And it’s the name for this Vila Madalena pintxo (Basque-style tapas) bar. Don’t be misled by the word ‘bar’ though, for in here it’s as much about the eating as the drinking. Legs of imported jamón Ibérico (R$125 per serving) and jamón serrano (R$56 per serving) as well as artfully presented plates of pintxos – juicy garlic prawns, thick wedges of tortilla, stuffed roasted peppers and the like – top the L-shaped wooden bar.
The way to go here is to pull up a stool and graze your way, one by delicious one, through the varied options on the menu, or just take whatever catches your eye on the bar.
The brocheta de gambas (R$8.50) – grilled prawn skewer – was a winner, while the warm goat’s cheese with caramelised onions (R$10) was under-melted but tasty nonetheless. Croquetas de jamón – a classic – were sadly oversized and greasy, while a bite of foie gras on bread was pricey (R$15) but sublime.
With six different red wines by the glass, and cava at R$9 per glass, the evening’s only challenge is what to choose first.
By Catherine Balston
small bottle beer R$12
Major cards accepted
Open 7pm-midnight Tue-Wed; 7pm-1am Thu-Fri; 1pm-1am Sat
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