Olasagasti Anchovies a la Basque (Donostiarra)


Dan’s Tasting Notes: “Superb. When I cracked open the lid the aroma was pure that knowing half laugh Judi Dench delivers in Chocolat the first time she experiences the drinking chocolate. The level of red pepper (1) and garlic (1 clove) and oil and salt and fishness was impeccably balanced. I saved the oil for later use. These are ‘in the Basque style’, which for anchovies means they’re not tightly packed as we usually see with tinned fishies. They’re loose, to give the olive oil the ability to fully saturate every bit. The larger tin also allows for longer pieces of anchovy. The pleasures abound and compound.  I can now, from experience and without reservation, unequivocally recommend Olasagasti Anchovies a la Basque. Save the oil. For salad dressing, for croutons, home fries, for fried onions, for to cure all that ails you.”

Olasagasti, located in the Basque region of Spain, has been in business since 1929 and produce their products using traditional Spanish methods. Unlike the vinegar-marinated white “boquerone” style of anchovies, these anchovies are fried in olive oil “a la Donostiarra” with garlic and cayenne pepper.

One unique aspect of these anchovies is that the tins are not packed tightly to the brim with fish. This is a trademark of Olasagasti, who feel that using a larger tin gives the anchovies space to move and become covered in the marinade of olive oil, garlic, cayenne, wine vinegar and salt. The leftover oil is a flavorful bonus you can use for sauteing vegetables or shellfish.

190g tin

Pictured with potato pancakes and chive sour cream.

In stock


Ingredients: Anchovies (53%) (Engraulis encrasicholus), olive oil (45%), a clove of garlic, cayenne pepper, wine vinegar, salt.

Olasagasti Markina-Xemein

Sicilian Salvatore Orlando first set foot on the Basque coast of Spain in the late 1800s and pioneered long-standing Italian salting techniques along the Cantabrian Coast, where he also fell in love and married a Basque woman,
Simona Olasagasti. Today, the grandson of Salvatore and Simona, Matteo Orlando, is in charge of the factory at Markina, Bizkaia, maintaining centuries-old tradition and flying the flag for his grandmother’s surname, Olasagasti.

Check out SlowJabroni exploring this tin of anchovies.

See what Matthew Carlson has to say about these anchovies.


  1. Jeff (verified owner)

    As a bit of a warning if you’re not in good company with folks who enjoy such an olfactory experience, cracking this tin open immediately filled my kitchen with a strong garlic and fish aroma – a beautiful thing for me, but not for all.

    As with other Olasagasti offerings I’ve tried, these fish are in an oversized tin so that they are not tightly packed together. The anchovies are swimming a fragrant oil alongside a full clove of garlic and small red pepper. Picking them out of the tin they feel firm and hold together – similar to the white anchovies I’ve tried from Patagonia Provisions.

    These are just about the most delicious tinned fish I’ve ever had straight of the tin. They are firm and have a good chew to them, and the garlic is pervasive but not too sharp. If I had another tin or two on hand I think I would have had a problem holding back from opening them right up.

  2. fibersides (verified owner)

    Just to be very clear, these are not the style of anchovy fillets that, if you’re lucky enough, you might find on a nice, juicy pizza. Heaven’s no. These anchovies are presented with skin and bone, more like you’d have with a tin of canned sardines. They’re firm, meaty, salty, and spicy, and you’re going to love them, so go getcha some!

    If you’re reading this, then you have had quite the review from Dan and Jeff already. I’m here to say, that I agree with everything they said from the fishy fragrance to the firm flesh. The presentation is indeed noteworthy in that these anchovies have space in the can. This ensures the fish have a fantastic final swim before you dive in. Have to say, if you’re into anchovies, or even if you’re not, these anchovies are a delight to be sure.

  3. Hream McDan (verified owner)

    Anchovy game changer, these are the most impressive (not salt-cured) anchovies I’ve ever had. Better than the Patagonia anchovy tin with roasted garlic. The Olasagasti flavor is nuanced quite a bit beyond just fish and oil, impressive depth even when eating straight from the tin at room temp. The anchovies are firmer than most sardines, there is no “melt in your mouth” factor here and that’s ok! The texture is halfway between a standard sardine (e.g. King Oscar) and standard canned tuna … ordinarily that wouldn’t be a compliment in my book, but this just works. Filets are huge, the tin feels like it is a really substantial portion. I loved eating this by itself but also think this would be fantastic on toast with a little bit of avocado, maybe a squeeze of lemon.

    If you’re interested in trying a sardine-style anchovy that won’t just make you say “oh, this just tastes like a dry sardine” … look no further. It would be hard to imagine a better version of this anchovy style. Unique and fantastic.

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