El Pinto

4.3
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2645 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Mexican / Southwestern
Nestled in the cottonwoods, El Pinto was founded with eight tables in 1962. Twin brothers John and Jim Thomas, known as the Salsa Twins, carry on the family tradition and have expanded El Pinto into the quintessential "Spot" for healthy and fresh New Mexican cuisine. Experience an authentic Taste of New Mexico.

The Salsa Twins are pairing tradition with innovative healthy nutrition at El Pinto. El Pinto is proud to have the first and only Animal Welfare Approved laying hen program on property. 200 hens lay pasture raised eggs for daily use. An onsite green house produces over 5,000 lbs of organically grown greens.

Freshness is throughout El Pinto. El Pinto uses chile from Hatch, NM, dryland beans from CO, healthy sunflower oil for frying, Celtic sea salt for seasoning, and local ingredients when in season.

It has been featured on Food Network, Travel Channel and the BBC among other places.

Dog friendly. Ask for the "Puppy Patio."
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What 2645 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.3
service
4.6
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
86% of people would recommend it to a friend
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WV
New Mexico
6 reviews
Dined 19 hours ago
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent food and service! Extremely busy Saturday evening raised noise level a bit.

S
New Mexico
39 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Chris is great as bartender and Ronny personable and nice- Chicken wings so yummy and love the tequila and the new barrel of Patron delicious!! Thanks

OT
New Mexico
9 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 2

Was seated at an outside table after dark.. then told the heaters were out of gas. Thought of moving inside but was told there was a wait for those tables. So we froze! Ordered green chili, hot. Had no spice at all ! We have been here multiple times now and usually really enjoy our experience, but this time was a definite let down.

BB
New York Area
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 3

Good New Mexican food, but the reservation was not accurate from the Opentable website to the restaurant. We chose indoor standard seating and the restaurant said the res didn’t specify and they tried to put us outside, plus it was very slow checking in at the OpenTable reservation station, we were all there before our res time and didn’t get seated until at least 10 minutes after our res time.

KJ
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Tuesday night on the back patio with red chile rubbed ribs, silver coin margaritas, piñon wood stoked fireplace and a sweet concert performance by The Real Matt Jones. Absolutely fantastic evening.

MS
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 2ambience 3

Only complain while 2 of is in the party we're waiting to be seated, 3 of the girls at the open table counter ignored us until I interrupted, then only pointed to the general area of our table which was way on the back area instead of walking us to the table. Poor hostess service!

EW
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

El Pinto has been our "Go To Spot" for many years when out of town visitors want to sample authentic Southwestern Cuisine. Our Family Members have been frequenting the Restaurant as far back as the Days of "the Crying Room".

NM
New Mexico
105 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We had a first time visitor with is and the waiter was so educational about the difference between NM food and Mexican food, explained about the Chile, brought samples to taste, made recommendations- Tovin was awesome! Our food was delicious as well as the margaritas.

TZ
New Mexico
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 3food 5service 4ambience 5

El Pinto is such a fantastic restaurant, and other than this experience I’ve always had such an amazing experience. From what I understand one of the ovens went out and caused a tizzy with the staff, which is understandable, but they were turning away people with reservations which didn’t seem right. I was fine with the wait and thankfully I was right before they started the cut off, but I think everyone should’ve had the option to stay.

OT
Oklahoma City
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 2

Had a 7:30 reservation was seated at 9:00. Service was nice but disappeared. Took to long to get through the restaurant to receive good service. Got my drink about the time my food arrived. Should have stayed in the bar. To late to eat heavy and was miserable.

BH
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 1food 3service 1ambience 3

I reserved a table for 9 in the bar area via the internet and received confirmation. On arriving at your restaurant I was told "We don't reserve tables in the bar area, but you may if you wish push some tables together and fix it up yourself". I had visitors from Ireland and Australia, they were not too concerned, but I was embarrassed. I had to insists that we not arranged El Pinto's tables that was ridiculous.

Then we had the 1.5 hour delay in service because if some failure in your kitchens, for which there was a continuous stream of excuses. At he end of it all my son who picked up the tab was offered a derisory $1.50 discount. Adding insult to injury for your atrocious performance.

Needless to say the next time I have $200.00 or more to spend on a meal it won't be in your restaurant.

DH
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 2

our visit was late in day and was too dark to take in the grounds . servers were tired and ready to go home. Go early evening or afternoon to enjoy the atmosphere and walk around to see the sites.

CB
Cincinnati
2 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Good food, good service wish less ice and more margarita especially since ordered top shelf.

OT
Columbus
2 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

The food was so very tasty. The chicken in the enchilada was fantastic!

H
Tampa
5 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Don't miss the RED CHILI RIBS! Even if you don't like ribs - these could change your mind

AV
1 review
Dined on October 13, 2019
Overall 3food 1service 5ambience 5

Server and service was amazing. Food was super expensive, $3 higher than advertised on brunch menu as well as it wasn't very good. Quality seems to have gone downhill. This is sad.

SF
New Mexico
3 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Dining with young grandchildren- food met the needs of the adults and children. The wait staff were attentive to the children and brought crackers and chips to help keep them quiet during the meal. The food was delicious and to go boxes were offered. Always pleasant to dine at El Pinto!

OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 5

The ambience was awesome. The waitresses were sluggish, slow and not interacting. And those ladies with headphones walking around and yelling zone 4 were very funny.

JM
Oklahoma City
4 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 1ambience 4

Service was extremely slow. Food was lukewarm upon arrival. Atmosphere was very nice. Hopefully it was an off night but being during the balloon fiesta it was unfortunate. On the question of "Would you recommend El Pinto to a friend?", I would rather answer "maybe". I grew up going to El Pinto starting over 40 years ago. I don't want to give up on you.

OT
Los Angeles
7 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 4

The service was horrible, we waited 15min before we were acknowledged. The food was cold when they served it and items that we ordered that they didn’t have were not taken off the bill. I would not recommend going there for food, there are so many better places in Albuquerque. Very disappointed as we heard good things about the restaurant.

BB
New Mexico
2 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wait staff was awesome!

KA
1 review
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 3

We were really disappointed with our recent visit. Our waiter was not friendly. Last time we went our waiter was awesome and took us to the chicken coops. We asked for the tour again for our kids and the waiter said "um yeah" and he never took us.

OT
Denver
1 review
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Outstanding unique and beautiful setting. Excellent NM cuisine and superior margaritas. Will definitely come back whenever we visit ABQ.

DB
Richmond
4 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I already have referred people I met in ABQ. Would definite return. Outstanding service! Love the uniqueness

KL
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had friends in town for the Balloon Fiesta. They said they would come back to New Mexico, just to have dinner there again. Everything from start to finish was awesome. Really enjoyed the Mariachi Band. I am an Executive Chef out of Santa Fe, and I never am completely satisfied with my meal. Great job Kitchen Staff

MH
1 review
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The table setting was for 11 instead of 12 and it would have been nice to have one long table instead of four different size round tables together. It was a little difficult to eat at but we worked it out. Walter was fabulous and catered to us. Keep him on board!!!

OT
Oklahoma City
1 review
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 1ambience 5

After eating at El Pinto for the past 32 years, I was embarrassed that I suggested to friends we go to El Pinto. The food was cold, and bland, definitely not New Mexico spicy. The service was terrible, and other waiters /waitresses just waked past our table and ignored our empty glasses, chips etc

AC
1 review
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

Hmm... we had the buffet bc the server said it was "excellent"... food was luke warm at best, not fresh at all, ZERO spice, little flavor AND EXPENSIVE... my server was too busy sweeping the floor and chatting with other servers that he didnt stop sweeping when I was trying to pass him to go to the restroom. He almost hit me with the sweeper... rude. I have only been to Albuquerque twice . I go in search of fresh hatche chili spiced foods and havent been able to find ANYTHING worth recommending to anyone. Very disappointing. I will just stay in Texas and keep going to Chuys. BEST SAUCES EVER at Chuys. Full of flavor, always fresh and great prices and consistently excellent service!! You could learn something from them. Good luck.

LP
Denver
4 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Beautiful place, great food and service. One caveat, When we checked in with the hostess, it was an hour wait. I noticed a checkin sign for open table reservations, went on open table right there in the lobby, and got seated immediately.

p
Orange County
6 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved our lunch! Guacamole yummy! Friendly staff and happy to share the restaurants past. Cultural experience of the two artisans making Chile ristras outside!

MZ
Denver
3 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I’ve gone to El Pinto for over 30 years, and it continues to have some of the most outstanding New Mexican food!

JM
Montana
1 review
Dined on October 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We loved our meal and the entire experience.

CS
New Mexico
2 reviews
Dined on October 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

Food was good, our waiter was very good, very friendly and personable. We waited quit a bit for our food (almost an hour) but it is Balloon Fiesta time.

K
Denver
9 reviews
Dined on October 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Delicious food served by some of the nicest folks you’ll ever meet!

KT
1 review
Dined on October 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our family met at the restaurant and immediately loved the outside Decour and quaintness of the building. There were five in our party and we all ordered a variety of food which was splendidly delivered and delicious. We will definitely return to this restaurant if we come back to Albuquerque.

DH
New Mexico
1 review
Dined on October 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Our server Rico was amazing! It was the week of the Balloon Fiesta and El Pinto was slammed with out of town folks. The service was perfect as always. Hats off to the staff for keeping it together even when overwhelmed.

OT
1 review
Dined on October 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Sensational !!! We lef it so much we ate there 2 nights in a row !!!

j
New Mexico
1 review
Dined on October 9, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

Very nice setting for a restaurant however the food at best is average and mixed drinks are over the top.
I would say that success has been their best enemy. Tables are not very clean, waitstaff are not that attentive and we did not receive what was requested on the Open Table website, an outdoor seating and a birthday recognition. I keep hoping the food would improve however they seem oblivious because the cash register noise drowns out any potential for improvement.

OT
Portland
1 review
Dined on October 9, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 5

Traveling and met friends -it was recommended but I will never recommend

CV
Detroit
1 review
Dined on October 9, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

I came from Michigan to celebrate my 65th birthday at El Pinto! The entire family had a great time. The food was fabulous.

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