Pintxo Pote, a Spanish tapas bar in Los Gatos, feels like a well-kept secret. Small plates dining has taken off in recent years, but the restaurant, almost hidden in a modest strip of stores, keeps it authentic with Basque-style tapas.

The small plates leave guests wanting more, and that’s a good thing, because the menu offers many temptations, from an artful spread of Spanish cheese and meat ($26) to codfish croquettes ($6), perfectly crisped with a buttery center.

In Basque, the word pintxo, a variation on tapas, refers to the toothpicks that are speared through each snack, which are often served at the bar. At the end of the meal, the bartender counts the picks left on the plate and charges accordingly. At Pintxo Pote, the tapas can be enjoyed as a quick snack over a glass of wine, or combined with other dishes to create a full meal. Two of the best options include the albondigas de cordero ($6), peppery lamb meatballs, and brocheta de setas ($6), a skewer of grilled mushrooms dusted with sea salt. There is ample room to pull up a stool at the long bar, which dominates the space in true tapas bar fashion, while a few booths and tables provide a spot to settle in for a longer evening.

Pintxo Pote excels at simple dishes such as the tortilla, an omelet of egg and potato. Here, the classic Spanish dish is prepared to order and served as a warm, saucer-sized cake, available plain ($9), or with chorizo ($9) or mushrooms ($11). The chef knows when to step back and let the quality of the ingredients shine, as in the queso de cabra a la plancha ($8), a dish of grilled goat cheese, passion fruit sauce, and a sprinkle of crushed pistachios. Likewise, the pulpo a la plancha ($13), tender coins of grilled octopus over a creamy cauliflower puree, is more than the sum of its parts. The restaurant understands simple pleasures.

Servers, including affable owner Hector Figuero and his wife, are happy to steer diners who are unfamiliar with tapas-style dining through the menu and the excellent wine list.
Desserts, such as a brownie served with gelato and topped with almond slices ($7) are available, but with tapas this good, the cheese board—featuring a selection of Spanish cheeses ($26), or the excellent fried goat cheese—is the best way to finish a meal.­

Pintxo Pote 424 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos. 408.797.8688.