About El Pinto
Nestled in the ancient cottonwoods in the North Valley of Abq, El Pinto was founded with eight tables in 1962. Twin brothers John and Jim Thomas carry on the family tradition and have expanded El Pinto into the quintessential "Spot" for healthy and fresh made New Mexican cuisine. Come experience an authentic Taste of New Mexico.
Freshness is throughout El Pinto with the cuisine made from scratch each morning. El Pinto uses chile from Hatch, NM that is fire-roasted and hand-peeled, new beans from southern CO, healthy sunflower oil when making chips and frying, Celtic sea salt for seasoning, and numerous local organic ingredients when in season.
A vermiculture project on site processes food scraps creating a nutrient rich "tea." The bokashi composting project processes 600 lbs of food waste weekly. The “tea” and compost are combined with effective microorganisms for a herbicide and pesticide free fertilizer for El Pinto chile fields and organic growing.
Mexican / Southwestern, Mexican
Hours of Operation:
Lunch: Monday - Saturday: 11:00am - 5:00pm.
Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 9:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm.
Sunday Brunch: 10:30am - 2:00pm.
Alameda Blvd NW
$30 and under
AMEX, Carte Blanche, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Ample parking available on site for individuals and tour buses.
Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Entertainment, Farm to Table, Fireplace, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Takeout, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
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El Pinto Ratings and Reviews
We were looking for something special du ...
We were looking for something special during a recent trip to Albuquerque, NM and we found it at El Pinto! Great food, great surroundings and is definitely on our go back to list. My wife had a Mexican combination plates and I had a really excellent rib eye steak that was cooked to perfection.
A New Mexican gem
In a lovely North Valley setting in Albuquerque, El Pinto offers traditional New Mexican cuisine, friendly and efficient service, and a relaxing and congenial atmosphere. The restaurant is able to accommodate groups both indoors or on the patio. In addition, for a more intimate setting, quiet corners are available. The buffet, when available during the week, is a favorite, the various appetizers and entrees are served in generous portions, and the desserts are outstanding. There is always adequate parking under the beautiful, grand cottonwood trees.
Great New Mexican food. Green chili coul ...
Great New Mexican food. Green chili could have been hotter, but was still very good. Lived here for 30 years, gone for 14 years, back for a visit and the food is as good as I remember.
We have been going to El Pinto for over a decade, and it is nearly always good. Previously we have had less than stellar service, and the food was cold, but this time was back to better than average. We take out of town guests here, so we tested it before the arrive. It seems much better now.
overrated - food wasn't all that great
wouldn't recommend to anyone food was not all that great - 1st and last dining there
You are going to lose your wallet at thi ...
You are going to lose your wallet at this restaurant, as their simple carne adovada burrito is $17 and their nachos are $12 without meat. If you need value, get the nachos, they feed a table of 4, huge plate! The margaritas are $45 for a pitcher. So, you aren't going to get away from this place cheap. There are MANY other quality restaurants that serve same exact food for $8-$12 a plate. This high expense seems extravagant to me and I don't go there very often. And, after being charged $17 for my son's plate that I pay $8 for elsewhere, I won't go back again. If it is a special occasion or you are rich, this is a definitely a place for a nice experience. The sopas are hot. The service is great. The ambiance is very nice. Clean facility. Good food. And, their margaritas are good. They also allowed separate checks, a policy change for them, and they had online reservation booking which put my mind at ease. I don't go there unless I have $200 free and ready, for a table of 6, with tip. So, if you are like me and cost is a care, don't go. If you care more about being smoozed and the area being pretty, go! It is definitely a nice restaurant and you won't be let down.
Good Lunch Buffet
The buffet provided many choices for a variety for different tastes and eating requirements for the five people that that I took for lunch. Service was great,
Enjoyed eating on the Patio with wonderf ...
Enjoyed eating on the Patio with wonderful live music! Hunter, our server was awesome. There were 4 of us, ever3ordered something different and all were excellent. The Levante dessert is the perfect end to a perfect night!
Service: the young lady that served us w ...
Service: the young lady that served us was excellent, friendly, efficient, professional, attentive. However, the hostes (reception desk) needs training, not very friendly, never said "welcome" or even "hello", and let us standing for 5 min eventhough we had a reservation.
Mediocre food-Fun atmosphere
We have eaten at El Pinto numerous times over the years, and after this last family get together there, we all concurred that we would no longer go there for the food; atmosphere is fiesta-like & accommodating large groups is good, but the food is just.......blah. There are definitely better restaurants in ABQ for authentic Mexican food. BUT there bottled salsa is some of the best around!!
Great restaurant! Great Mexican food!
Awesome experience all around! A++ Very good and authentic mexican food.
THIS REVIEW SHEET IS ALSO CONFUSED. When ...
THIS REVIEW SHEET IS ALSO CONFUSED. When we arrived for our 6pm reservation for nine, the receptionist said we had a 9pm reservation for 6!! Than when that got straigtened out, we were told our table was not ready when my niece arrived early was already seated at our table. The way we found that out is that her Dad called her and she said she was already seated. When the hostess proceeded to seat us, she tried to put us with another party unrelated to ours. The food is so-so, our server was very good and attentive. This is not the first time I've had issues with reservations and other issues. This is a beautiful restaurant in a beautiful section of town but that is about all I can say.
Amazing Salsa, Great food, and friendly staff!
I'm from out of town and would ask people from the area where they would recommend we go for dinner. Six different people, including some local firefighters, all recommended El Pinto as their first option. Beautiful building, the staff were very friendly and helpful with recommendations, and the food was amazing. I've already recommended it to several people back home, and if I get the chance I will definitely go again myself. Thank you!
Dining in ABQ
We had heard that El Pinto was the place to go in ABQ. We found the atmosphere to be very nice and relaxing, but we found the food to be mediocre. We walked through the bar area after our dinner and found it to be lively, with live music. We plan to return to and asked to be seated in the bar.....
Our server's name was Faith and she was ...
Our server's name was Faith and she was very attentive and answered all our questions.
Amazing eating experience!
We were in ABQ for a work conference and had El Pinto recommended by a local contact. We went to dinner on a Monday night and had a fantastic experience. The ambiance was fun, the server engaging, and the food was simply amazing. I recommend the red chile dry rubbed ribs, the guacamole, and the con queso! My colleagues loved their ribeye steak! It was so good we all returned for another taste two days later before leaving town. El Pinto is the number one restaurant I would recommend to anyone I know traveling to ABQ! Oh, and don't forget to try the fresh margarita!
El Pinto is Great for Out-of-Town Guests
El Pinto is one of our favorite places to eat and we always bring out out-of-town guests. It gets rave reviews - and we enjoy it. Cuisine is excellent, service is friendly (and they don't hover), and the margaritas are the best in Bernalillo County.
Great food and pitcher of margaritas
The server was very nice. She was helpful, and allowed us to split the ticket. The only thing I didn't like was the dark corner we sat. We had to use our lights on our phones to read the menu.
Paying for ambiance
I got a grilled chicken salad. It was just OK compared to so many similar salads in this city. Nothing outstanding about it. The chicken was grilled but seemed a little dry and not juicy. I let the waitress know I was waiting on my two friends and gave their names. Even though I actually saw my name on the computer monitor with reservation, by the time my friends were there, my name was deleted. And even though I told the waitress the names of my two friends, and she assured me she would let the front desk know; yet, my friends said no one knew my name, did not know their names, and they were waiting around. I finally got a text from the friends saying they were at the restaurant, and told them I was in the back room. It took a while for them to be escorted back. I didn't know the restaurant, and they were led to many back rooms. Oh well... Our waitress was very sweet and nice. This is the 4th time I've been here over 18 years, and I've not been wow'd yet despite great reviews from others. The prices are high - a dinner burrito for $17. The green chili sauce/salsa/whatever has flecks of black from the roasting, and they give a burned taste to me. Unless I am invited for a specific occasion to meet someone there, I probably won't return.
The PRIDE of ABQ
We lived in ABQ for 2 years and were only introduced to El Pinto with 1 year left. We were visiting after 2.5 yrs away and El Pinto was our #1 MUST while in ABQ for just 2 days! I go with the Chile Con Carne Enchiladas which are amazing. The Red Chile Ribs are also great and my wife's fave. I tell anyone and everyone going to ABQ about El Pinto!
Another great dinner at El Pinto!
El Pinto is definitely a go to place for all occasions. There is plenty of seating, great service, and diverse menu selection for any appetite. Clients and customers have a great time!
Great Food and Ambiance
We love taking our family out to dinner here, usually good service except for last Saturday night. 1st went to the bar for a drink and took forever to be waited on and then when we did receive our drink no one ever read came back to check on us. When it was time to be seated we got our drinks and order taken right away but took 50 minutes for or our dinner to come out, not a big deal if you don't have two 2 year old twins getting restless . When we received our food it was good but again service was terrible. Maybe just a bad night.
I loved the atmosphere and the specialty ...
I loved the atmosphere and the specialty drinks were spectacular. The food was okay. Nothing special and not a lot of vegetarian options.
Used to like
It has been a while since my last visit. We reserved beforehand. Still waited 25 min once we got there. Service was great. Menu selection was limited. 2 tacos small enchilada small tamale beans $18. Value not there. Atmosphere very nice but I was used to good food and good variety and good value. Did not happen this time.
The only reason I eat at El Pinto has di ...
The only reason I eat at El Pinto has disappeared. The have enclosed their gorgeous, heavenly outdoor patio and left a much smaller portion of the patio in its place. It was paradise during the spring and fall. I have never been more disappointed in an eating establishment. I don't think I can go back...
Food almost inedible and overoriced
Ambiance and service were great. Entrees were almost inedible. Drinks and appetizers were fine. Good for happy hour. Bad for dinner and overpriced. Food has steadily declined over past 5 to 7 years . Sad
An ABQ establishment
Fun atmosphere with a variety of dining areas. Food is very good with a huge list of tequila offerings. Service was efficient and quick. Nice place to take out of town guests. Parking lot needs some attention- bad potholes.
Favorite for locals
I know busloads come to El Pinto for large group dining but locals like it, too.
New Mexican at its Best
If you are looking for authentic New Mexican fare, look no further than El Pinto. The ambience of the place is Old World; there are a number of dining rooms and patios. Fountains, bird feeders and plants provide a luscious atmosphere. There is a nice selection of entrees on the menu with a number of vegetarian choices. Our wait staff was prompt and attentive. The premium margaritas are worth the extra money! Delicious! Portions are large so you can either share an entree or take the leftovers home.
The ambiance here was outstanding and their salsa as well as their margaritas area good. Unfortunately, everything else was lack luster. The service was slow despite not being busy. Although some of our party cancelled, so perhaps they were waiting for everyone to arrive. The food was okay if you aren't a local and don't know any better. The "hot" chile had no kick, the sopapillas were small, and the cost of the meal is exorbitant for what you get. There are much better places to get good New Mexican fare.
My second time here. I really want to li ...
My second time here. I really want to like El Pinto. However, the food is way too salty and really not much different than any of the other restaurants in town. Why pay premium prices for very sub-premium food. Even the sopapillas are not very good. They taste like raw dough. I have been to some excellent Mexican restaurants. They do exist, but are rare. El Pinto is not one of these excellent Mexican restaurants. I come to Albuquerque several times a year and will continue to search for good New Mexican food that does not taste like salt.
Good, but not spectacular
Three couples had dinner at El Pinto. The food was good and the service was excellent. None of us felt anything was exceptional.
We always love El Pinto. The food and s ...
We always love El Pinto. The food and service is always consistently good. However, we can't wait for consistently warm evenings so we can be seated outside where the noise level is lessened. Also......we hate ordering main courses too quickly after appetizers as El Pinto notoriously and historically brings out your entrees well before you are done with apps or salads.
Took friends to lunch
The ambiance is relaxing and nice for a New Mexican restaurant (not to be mistaken for Mexican; NM food is not the same). Took friends to lunch. They enjoyed the food. It wasn't over and above other fine food restaurants, but it was on par with fresh food and tasty. The lunches were in the $12 range were shareable (generous portions). Four or 5 or 6 (lost count) indoor eating areas that seem to wind around and have much character. I saw and killed a couple ants crawling on the table while we were eating. We weren't sitting outside, but the door to the outside was near us.
Had a great time!
The atmosphere is always great. The service was wonderful until they got extremely busy. Prices were ok and the food was excellent. The noise level is pretty high when it is very busy, but I guess you can't do anything about that.
Out of Towners, Group Dinner
We wanted to show our guests from various states, a New Mexico dining experience. They loved the food, the atmosphere and especially the service. Our waitress, Monica, was a joy and her service, top Notch. We look forward to dining again with you soon.
They really do have outstanding guacamol ...
They really do have outstanding guacamole! Great local food
return customer from 30 yrs. ago
While on business in Albq. 30 yrs. ago my team ate at El Pinto. It was much smaller and much less commercial. The food at that time was excellent. I think, for me, it has lost its charm because it is so commercial. It is still a beautiful site and the service was excellent. We felt the food was overpriced based on its quality. I was disappointed but would recommend it for a group. Maybe that is their target audience now.
Inflexible re poor table location
A week in advance, we made reservation for Sun brunch for 6, and requested a nice table because we were celebrating a special birthday. On Sun, we were led to a table in a dark room with no outdoor view, and next to main traffic path for waitstaff and customers. It was also very noisy -- we had to shout to be heard. We requested a table change but were told that that simply was not possible -- hard for us to understand! So we made the best of it. But i'm unable to write a good review after our brunch started that way. We expected better. El Pinto should have responded to our table change request -- we were not being unreasonable. We may try El Pinto again some day, but next time, will be so clear re our table request that it cannot be misunderstood or ignored!
We were promptly seated when we arrived ...
We were promptly seated when we arrived and our waiter was quick to take our drink and appetizer orders. The margaritas here are to die for. The queso was more interesting than the guacamole and definitely worth ordering. They had decent gluten free offerings. Service was so quick that I would've believed they knew what I wanted before I did. Portions are beyond generous. My wife and I could've easily split one plate of food.
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