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El Pinto

10500 4th St. NW Send to Phone
505-898-1771 | Make Restaurant Reservations | Menu
This sprawling institution serves as a safe starting point for introducing chile-shy newbies to New Mexican fare.
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Local Deals: 120 * 90

Lunch Mon.-Sat., Dinner nightly, Brunch Sun.

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  • 3.5 star rating
3.5 rating over 6 reviews

El Pinto Restaurant Review

: This decades-old, family-owned restaurant that locals once proudly touted has grown in size, and jars of salsa bearing its name are in every grocery store in the state. But while El Pinto is now run with corporation-like efficiency --- meaning the kitchen often operates by rote --- the bar still serves some of the best margaritas in town, and the lunch buffet boasts a folded taco bar and tamale pie (which is otherwise off-menu). Sunday brunch also makes for a refreshing change of pace, offering American classics with local twists, like eggs Benedict on a green chile biscuit with red chile hollandaise. The North Valley setting is still special, especially if you score a spot come sunset in the sprawling walled garden, a lovely living room where roses compete for attention with the vast menu of old standbys: quesadillas and nachos, burritos and enchiladas, steaks and burgers. You’ve had it all before --- only better --- so graze lightly in anticipation of more interesting desserts, including fruit empanadas and biscochitos prepared tiramisu-style.

User Ratings & Reviews for El Pinto
Average rating    1
Reviews 1 - 1 of 11
El Pinto Restaurant Review
by NMFoodCritic on Fri Jul 18, 2008 6:33 am
First, let me explain that the State of New Mexico would not be known for anything if it wasn’t for green chile. Way too much hype is made by the state for its unofficial motto: red or green? (referring to chile sauce), and if that’s the best this state has to offer, you’d better realize what you are in for when dining here.

You can't throw a stone more than a block without hitting a New Mexican restaurant – and while some absolutely elevate the basic ingredients – corn, chile, beans – into a quazi art form – for the most part what you get is something marginally better than Taco Bell.

The El Pinto Restaurant has been an Albuquerque "institution" since 1962 and if not for the atmosphere of several beautifully designed patios by the owners– it would fade into the melting pot of cheap eateries galore.

Unfortunately, the food at El Pinto is quite unremarkable – bordering on boring. The chile (both red and green) is fresh made, but there’s just so much you can do with the same ingredients (see the aforementioned Taco Bell menu – i.e. taco/gordito/chalupa).

Now on to the food review.
The El Pinto signature dish is Red Chile Ribs – and while the pork ribs are indeed tasty, the red chile seeds add a waxy counterpoint to the meat – be prepared with a tree trunk worth of tooth picks after your meal.

The atmostphere at the El Pinto Restaurant is pleasant – especially on warm Summer nights; however, don’t sit near any of the outdoor water fountains – unles you enjoy the gentle spray of brackish water falling upon you and mixing into your carne adobada.

If you’re simply looking for well prepared New Mexican food try visiting Los Cuates in Albuquerque or Tomasita’s in Santa Fe. You’ll thank me for it.
Reviews 1 - 1 of 11


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