DRIFT Travel magazine - - Life + Style - BY: TERRY COLBY

In this glitzy, sea­side re­sort town in Basque Coun­try, lo­cals in black berets min­gle with tourists along the nar­row, stone streets edged by the gleam­ing Bay of La Con­cha, just 12 miles from the bor­der with France.

You know it’s a mecca for food­ies be­cause there are cur­rently five Miche­lin-starred restau­rants in this city of fewer than 200,000 peo­ple, in­clud­ing Arzak and Ake­lare, both hon­ored with the premier three stars for 2013.

But you don’t have to drop a bundle and re­serve your spot far in ad­vance to ex­plore some of the finest Basque cui­sine. That’s be­cause you’re in the birth­place of the pin­txo (pro­nounced pin-cho) and there’s no short­age of places where you can sam­ple this ul­ti­mate fin­ger food.

Pin­txo bars aren’t as up­scale as the starred restau­rants, of course. But they of­fer an ap­peal­ing gas­tro­nomic ex­pe­ri­ence that melds tra­di­tion and in­no­va­tion with the Basque love of fresh, lo­cal in­gre­di­ents and the ca­ma­raderie that comes from shar­ing food and drink in a ca­sual at­mos­phere with friends and fam­ily.

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