It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten something amazing for a dollar, but at 1 euro/each, the unbelievably delicious pintxos at Irati is the best value in dining in this and possibly parallel universes.
First off, the atmosphere very much feels like a locals-only environment. Packed, lively, and fun. Being from the US and with a raucous group of 4 red wine-guzzling Chicagoans, we did get a fair share of “who are those people and why are they talking so damn loud” style glances, but hey, we talk loud.
That being said, the staff at the restaurant could not have been friendlier. Even with the place packed to the brim, they still found us a spot to chill and eat our pintxos (I’ll get to them in a second) but also recommended some great wine and explained the process of ordering.
As far as ordering goes, there are pinxtos in rows lining the bar. At first glance, you see the bright colors, fresh looking fish, and exotic ingredients and your first thought is “wow, I would really like to just grab that thing and eat it.” Then to your astonishment you realize dreams really do come true and that you can do exactly that.
Each pintxos has a toothpick. You save the toothpick. At the end of the night the server counts the toothpicks and you get charged 1 euro for each that you consumed. Amazing. The sheer variety is what makes this place stand out. Homemade sausages, exotic cheese with bright delicious sauces, all different kinds of fish (the salmon was a standout winner), and stuff that you have no idea what it is, but when you eat it your brain reels in delight.
Four hungry, drunk Americans ate like It was our last meal on earth and including a decent bottle of wine the tab was 67 euros. Astonishing. A must-go.