“Pintxo” translates literally to “spike” or “thorn” and Pintxos is a bar snack consisting of a small slice of bread topped with a couple of items all held together with a toothpick or skewer.
Similar to Tapas, Pintxos are typically found more in the North and Basque Country. Like Tapas, Pintxos are eaten as a snack or appetizer at a bar with a glass of sherry or rose. Traditionally as an afternoon snack but more commonly these days as the centre point for an evening out with friends.
In the rest of Spain they are referred to as Pinchos (same pronunciation) or simply lumped together with Tapas. But the easy way to think of it is: spike – Pintxo, no spike – Tapa.
In addition to the toothpicks holding the food together, they are sometimes used to keep track of the number of price of the Pintxos you have eaten.