El Pinto

4.4
2230 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 2230 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.4
service
4.6
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
88% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
Las Vegas
18 reviews
Dined 7 hours ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Have never really been disappointed here. Service and food were excellent as always.

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TW
1 review
Dined a day ago
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 3

5 ladies standing around the front area and not one greeted us when we walked in.
Waiter was slow, no personality and unattentive. Small portions for $20 a plate. Food did not have much flavor and was completely disapointing. Drink station was 10 feet away and we repeatedly had to ask for refills. Green chili was like the salsa, very bland. The plate was not even smothered in chili. For a $60 lunch, we were expecting a lot more!! Over priced for sure!!!

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N
Las Vegas
2 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

The service was terrible. Took 35 minutes to get a drink. The waiter didn’t bring everything ordered even though we asked twice. The food was average. I expected so much more.

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EE
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Steak was fantastic ! Chili ribs Great ! Of course the Ambiance is so beautiful 😍 whether indoors or outside 🌻
This is a special place and the Salsa to buy should be savored 👍

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SJ
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My go to place when I want New Mexican. It's also my favorite place to take out of town guests.

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BL
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Had a wonderful dinner with my out of town family . Enjoyed seating outside

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YS
Atlanta
4 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 1

Stray dog and cat inside the restaurant! Mosquitoes flying around the patio. Not the environment of a good restaurant.

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l
New Mexico
9 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

I enjoy El Pinto and bring friends and family frequently. But I dined last Monday around 11:45 pm and was disappointed. The enchiladas were dried out and not saucy. The tamales, which I think are the best in town, we’re also dry and a bit heavy— when their soufflé- like quality is what usually sets them apart. The chips were quite greasy—and they usually are not.

To top off what must have been just a bad day in the kitchen, as I was enjoying my sopapilla ( which was light, airy and not greasy at all:) cigarette smoke came into the dining room. I was seated on the south side near the door to the veranda. It took away my appetite so I didn’t finish my dessert. Somehow people are smoking near enough to the dining area that smoke comes in. Hopefully management will post no smoking signs and hold people accountable.

Again, this is the first time I have experienced such a diminished quality in the normally excellent lunch buffet... and I did go back for a small plate off seconds and the half green enchilada and the tamale I had were back to great! The red Chile cheese was still dried out.

I still highly recommend El Pinto.

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RC
1 review
Dined on May 13, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

Having been here a number of times now, I can say that the restaurant has gone downhill somewhat. The consistently good food and nice atmosphere still make it a place to visit, but the service has been pretty spotty as of late. This visit seemed to be a particular struggle for our server. Granted, the restaurant seemed a little busier than usual for a Monday night, but it took over an hour for our food to arrive after the order was placed. The server also seemed somewhat disoriented and rushed, maybe because of being overloaded in her section? I would definitely suggest that the owners/managers look at retraining wait staff and how they operate with the bussers/runners/kitchen on a daily basis.

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M
Kansas City
4 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 5

We love El Pinto, but were surprised that they were struggling with the Mother’s Day crowd. They did not have either of the entrees we ordered and we had to find something else we might like (which isn’t hard on their large menu). Unfortunately my husband’s salmon came over cooked a bit and the baked potato was undercooked a bit.

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J
New Mexico
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 3

The food was SUPER dry and took about an hour to receive. The server only came once to refill water. We had to ask them for a high chair three times. We also had a reservation at 11:45, got there at 11:30 and didn’t get sat until 12:05.

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DS
New Mexico
20 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Best outdoor outdoor seating in Albuquerque. Nice Mother’s Day Brunch!

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OT
New Mexico
5 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious. Perfect for Brunch and Big groups. The blue corn pecan blueberry pancakes were divine. Lovely garden setting.

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JC
New York Area
1 review
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 2

Food upset our stomachache

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DB
1 review
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We went for mother’s day and it was the first time I have seen it packed to capacity. This place is huge and always good food. Even though it was packed our waiter was attentive and treated us well, it was a nice relaxed meal. The restaurant is so big and broken up that even though it was packed it was still cozy. I recommend this restaurant to anyone wanting a relaxing night out with good food.

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LW
New Mexico
2 reviews
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 3

We have been to El Pinto many times but this evening was the worst we have had. Service was good but the food was dry and the chili was very bland. Rolled tacos were very dry. Overall I was very disappointed.

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SA
1 review
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our waitress was amazing. She made the experience wonderful. Thank you

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J
1 review
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful experience! We had a large group and were sat in a beautiful area that we had to ourselves. Our waiter was wonderful making us feel well attended and the food was excellent! Thanks for a wonderful night!

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Savannah
15 reviews
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 3

My wife and I were in the area for a conference, and had heard that this place was a good, not great, but a good choice for lunch. My take is the food is not amazing, and for it’s moderate price, it definitely lacks in presentation and flavor. The enchiladas were bad, especially when considering for about 2 dollars more, you could go up the road to Corn Maiden and have the same dish, but unbelievably prepared and presented.

Additionally, they have what amounts to three check-in areas: one for OpenTable, one for “regular” reservations, and one for no reservations. We went to the OpenTable area, and were told that we had to wait for a regular reservation party to be seated, and we should have just gone and waited behind them. (Sorry, first time here, I guess I should know not go to the big sign you have hanging up that says, “OpenTable,” even though that is how I booked the reservations.)

We were never asked about what name our reservation was under, then seated in the outdoor area, even though we specifically asked for indoor seating. This was unpleasant as it was raining and about 55 degrees at the time. I did not raise an issue, because I figured it wouldn’t do any good, based on the reception we had just received. The overhead heaters outside weren’t doing their jobs, and the loose canvas covering this porch/patio area was allowing a good amount of wind and water in. I would have understood the seating if the place was packed. The problem is, the indoor area next to us was 75% empty. And it remained only half full until we left. An overall disappointing experience. Then, I get an email from OpenTable about an hour later saying we didn’t honor our reservation. Nope, we were definitely there, and it wasn’t good.

Plus side: Our server was pleasant and the food was edible. The margaritas we ordered (one hibiscus, one cucumber) were very good.

So, your bartenders and servers are doing a fine job, El Pinto. Your hosts and your kitchen have some serious work to do.

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CC
Phoenix
3 reviews
Dined on May 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent service, great food. The tomahawk pork chop was so tender and the ribs really are worthy of every accolade

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JG
Pittsburgh
1 review
Dined on May 5, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 3

For ambiance if you require outdoor seating. The meals were lackluster for flavor IMO... Definitely not worthy of $20 per enchilada plate....

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TM
1 review
Dined on May 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Guacamole appetizer was great. The chicken enchiladas were delicious. Red chili was tasty. Had a great outdoor atmosphere. It was very enjoyable.

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l
Seattle
64 reviews
Dined on May 5, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 4

We ordered half plates and they were ridiculously large. Split a half plate instead of throwing all the food out.

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HC
New Mexico
5 reviews
Dined on May 5, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 5

El Pinto used to be one of our favorites because of the gardens. This time our waitress was friendly, but not very efficient. She forgot to bring several items ordered and was just either preoccupied, or not trained well at all. The food was mediocre at best and we will not be back!

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A
1 review
Dined on May 5, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

This is a nice place when you want to feel at home.. If you have a chance to dine outside it feels like you could be in your back yard. It's great when family comes from out of town because the atmosphere is awesome and you can sit and visit in comfort.

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MS
1 review
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

Food was cold server was grouchy
Had to ask for utensiles couple times

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OT
1 review
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 2ambience 1

We waited a long time for about an hour and when we got the the food it was cold. The prices are very expensive and quality is not great.

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DW
New Mexico
1 review
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

We had 7 people in our group and we were seated promptly on the patio as we requested. The ambiance was great, very comfortable and clean. The wait staff was friendly, professional and attentive to our needs. As for the pricing, the food quality and quantity did not quite meet our expectations, it was somewhat pricey compared to other Mexican food restaurants in Albuquerque.

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CN
1 review
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 3

When very busy, you need more help to prevent the Line backing up!

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DM
New York Area
19 reviews
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Entertaining out of town clients. Sat outside and weather was perfect for evening meal. Food was quite tasty as usual. This is our go to restaurant for biz with new people.

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FB
New Mexico
1 review
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and service! Beautiful setting in patio,

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J
1 review
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is a wonderful place and an experience not just a meal. You must eat here when you visit Albuquerque but be sure to make reservations!

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OT
New Mexico
1 review
Dined on May 1, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 1

We were sat out by the dog area when we requested outdoor dining onOpenTable- we did not need to see dogs relieving themselves while we ate. (We has a party of 7). At least 2 of our orders were not correct. And our water glasses had to be begged to be filled.

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LJ
1 review
Dined on April 30, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 4ambience 2

This historic landmark in Albuquerque needs some serious attention. We brought out of town guests expecting a true NM experience and we ended up apologizing to them by the end of the night. Areas, where there is old carpeting, had several old and new food stains. There were areas in the general walk ways were dropped food hadn't been cleaned. The wallpaper in the bathrooms is peeling off.
Our server was attentive and helpful, however, drinks took a long time to arrive. We ordered our main entrees fairly promptly after being seated at 6, probably no later than 630 but by 730 our food still had not arrived. We were finally served at 735 and most of our food was lukewarm at best. Most dishes tasted good although they definitely missed the mark on their enchiladas.
I hope the owners start to make improvements on the interior as well as the quality of the food overall.

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SG
1 review
Dined on April 28, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 5

Absolutely delicious my date loved the food. It's a very large place but it is amazingly beautiful. Staff was great!

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M
1 review
Dined on April 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Brought guests from Japan and they enjoyed food and atmosphere

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R
New Mexico
11 reviews
Dined on April 28, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

We enjoyed a good meal before the concert at Sandia.

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OT
New Mexico
1 review
Dined on April 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent choice to take out of town guests to eat and show them beautiful NM at its best of food, ambiance, and history!

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CC
1 review
Dined on April 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was excellent. Would definitely go again. Prices a little on the high end but super food.

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JZ
Richmond
1 review
Dined on April 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Gabby and Nicole were fabulous hosts. Our meal was fantastic and the made to order margaritas were lovely. We sat outside in the courtyard and dined alfresco. Make El Pinto’s a must on your dining calendar.

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