I can’t say personally that I’ve saved the best for last, but it’s true that more locals in Logroño prefer Calle San Juan because their are less foreign tourists than Calle Laurel and many bars have lower prices. With that being said, there are plenty of Spanish tourists on this street, and at the entrance closest to Calle Sagasta there’s a tourist map with the bars and their specialties. Just sayin’.
It should be noted that the bars and restaurants on Calle San Juan open a bit earlier and close earlier than Laurel, at least for lunch (12-15:00 rather than (13-16:00). Again, I just have to mention as I do in each of these pintxo hopping posts that the best thing about these streets is that you can pop in anywhere an not go wrong. Explore, taste, enjoy the atmosphere! Here’s three of my favorite pintxos on Calle San Juan!
El Envás Pulpería y Jamonero Calle San Juan 36
We can all just take this time to admit that La Rioja probably isn’t the place to have the most authentic pulpo (that’s Galicia!), but that doesn’t mean Logroño doesn’t have high quality options. I prefer this bar to the other pulpería on Travesia de Laurel. They specialize in really cheap pintxos of ham as well as pintxos or raciónes (larger portions) of octopus.
- Pulpo a la feria is a large serving of boiled octopus, covered with hot olive oil, paprika, pepper, and sea salt. El Envás serves their portion on top of cooked potatoes, which I really love, along with a full basket of bread.
La Tortilla del Albergue Calle Portales 33
This is my favorite place for Spanish tortilla in Logroño. However, it wasn’t voted the best tortilla in the city this year, that title belongs to Bar Ensenada (Calle del Político Marqués de la Ensenada, 23). Of course we’ve been over there to try it, but I like tortilla a little thicker and runnier. Everyone in Spain’s got their preference. It’s a true staple to a Spanish diet.
To reach Bar La Tortilla, you must walk off of Calle San Juan and onto Travesia de San Juan. The bar is located at a corner with Calle Portales, right in front of Logroño’s cathedral. You can squeeze into the bar with everyone else, or if you want to sit on Portales you can order through the “take out” window. A slice of tortilla, spicy or not, will be about 1,60 euro– amazing price for something so filling!
- La tortilla de patata is one of the most traditional Spanish foods. It’s basically an omlette made with pieces of potato. I love this bar’s version because it’s softer, thicker, and seeps into the slice of bread it’s served on top of. With just three classic ingredients (potatoes, eggs, olive oil), other items can be added to make things more interesting.
A Tu Gusto Calle San Juan 21
The complete opposite of La Tortilla, the flashy Gastrobar A Tu Gusto serves high-quality seafood options. I think this shows you can find anything on Calle San Juan. They put a bit more effort into their dishes, similar to Bar Laurus on Calle Laurel. From shrimp to barnacles, they’ve got pintxos of whatever seafood you could want, along with typical menu items like a bocadillo de jamón. I think it’s fun to go here and try out their creative “arrangements” paired with a nice glass of wine.
- Ensalada de gambas reminds me of a creamy, chilled potato salad. The dressing has bits of vegetables, small shrimp, and bits of ham mixed in. It’s a tiny portion served in an actual sea shell.
Interested in more cheap eats in Logroño? Once you’re fully satisfied with Calle San Juan, move on across Gran Vía to Calle Maria Teresa Gil de Garate.
Spaniards love a nights of pintxos and socializing so much that even if money is tight you know they’ll find a way to make it out. This pedestrian street is full of bars, and is well known around town as the “poor Laurel.” Your dish definitely won’t be as pretty, but it’s a great option for tasting traditional pintxos from around La Rioja. You’ll know you’re “where the locals go,” and you won’t believe the inexpensive prices! I’m looking for a partner to explore this street more with, any takers?