About El Pinto
In town for Balloon Fiesta? Visit iconic El Pinto which is the spot to be during Fiesta. Although reservation times maybe full, we limit them to allow for walk in guests. While you wait, enjoy green chile roasting fresh outside, free music nightly, local artists to visit with, a beautiful nightly fire, and amazing margaritas!
Nestled in the ancient cottonwoods, 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. 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.
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, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Entertainment, Fireplace, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Outdoor dining, Private Room, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
Send a Gift Card
Buy now and send it instantly by email, or print a card to give in person.
El Pinto Ratings and Reviews
The food and service were less than medi ...
The food and service were less than mediocre- truly left something desired for the price point. We didn't feel very important as patrons. We were hardly acknowledged at the hostess desk and our server hardly came around to refresh our drinks or to clear our plates, even when he saw that were done with our meal. This was a miss.
The atmosphere is fun and the food is de ...
The atmosphere is fun and the food is delicious. We had only been to El Pinto once before, for the lunch buffet, and were pleased, so we were excited to try it for dinner. We booked our reservation online, so didn't have to wait, but once we were seated, we were completely forgotten about and ignored. After 17-18 minutes (literally), I finally approached someone to tell them that no one had been by to get our drink orders or otherwise check in on us in any way. I honestly think it would have been much longer before we were helped had I not brought the matter to their attention. Once they were aware of the problem, we were attended to, but it ended up being about 45 minutes until we even met our server. We enjoyed the food, but were extremely disappointed that we were essentially ignored for almost 20 minutes, with no offers for even complimentary drinks or appetizers for our party of three. We will have hesitations in returning here, unfortunately.
Brought an out of town guest. No mentio ...
Brought an out of town guest. No mention of the ban on honey at the tables outside due to the bee problem. Would have appreciated the info up front so we could have got a table inside. The outdoor table was unstable and guests kept spilling their water. Again, a table inside would have been better.
Very disappointed in experience. Reserv ...
Very disappointed in experience. Reservation for group of 14. We were seated in a funky enclosed patio (rio patio?) way in the back of the restaurant which seemed more like storage area than place for tables. Handicapped person with walker had to walk way to back of restaurant. Had many OT guests with us for a memorial service. Ugly circular metal patio tables pushed together made it awkward seating. Thought we'd get better location with a reservation.
Also, brought a different group of 20 people (from Idaho) the week before this (who were in town for UNM-BSU football game) and service was extremely slow.
My food not good on either occasion. No more El Pinto for OT guests.
The couple we were dining with arrived b ...
The couple we were dining with arrived before we did and the reservation was in my name. The restaurant erased our reservation with the assurance to them that when we arrived we would be seated with them. When we arrived we were told we had no reservation but it was no problem they had a table for us. After about an half an hour we went searching the restaurant and found each other. Not good! This restaurant seats 1100 people , very large, many rooms so quite a search! They should be told.
Other than that, really love the ambience and the food!
The food was very good - especially the ...
The food was very good - especially the dessert. The service was pretty good. The server didn't do a very good job of clearing dishes off the table in a timely manner. We stacked the dishes ourselves to get them out of the way and had to prompt him when he showed up again to continue to clear the used bottle and glasses. I had asked to be put in a quiet area of the restaurant as I was meeting with famly I had not seen in over 10 years. The room was more than noisily. There were at least two tables of 15 people or more celebrating famly birthdays. We had to shout at one another to be heard. If I come next time. I will definately ask to be reseated if I am unhappy with the arrangements. I did not feel that someone honored my request in a sensitve manner. I should not have to ask to be reseated and we should not have had to prompt our waiter to clear dishes and bottles off the table.
Painless reservations for modestly large ...
Painless reservations for modestly large group, no wait to be seated, prompt attention from server, great appetizer selection (especially green chili strips), perfect margaritas, wonderful menu, terrific food, ideal service, all in a quintessential Albq setting. Even the parking lot with huge shade trees had ambiance.
We regretted going there for a special " ...
We regretted going there for a special "last supper" with guests who were departing the next day. Our waiter never asked about our food. He should have. The rice seemed to be left over from lunch and not edible. The dinners were very bland unless you poured salsa over them. Our guess was that the waiter was new because of his limited knowledge of dinner items and inattentiveness at a place we had loved on previous occasions. The carpet seemed warn and dirty and walls in need of paint touchup. The bar was closed for a special occasion so we were unable to enjoy that margarita bar experience. We thought we were saving the best for last but it was an embarrassing disaster. We will never take visitors there again and probably will not return ourselves either. Didn't come close to living up to its reputation.
Our second visit...daytime. Noticed an o ...
Our second visit...daytime. Noticed an overall fraying around the edges. Dirty, worn out carpet in bar, funky dirty corners everywhere. Even the hanging ristras are old and dead.
Owners need to shell out for a spruce-up. The overall feel is one of neglect. It's been loved and scrubbed, but eventually you have to bite the bullet and repaint and repair or it's just plain funky.
We have children, so the outside patio is fantastic. It's relaxing and lovely. Our waitstaff was smiling and efficient. Everyone was nice and was working really hard. I felt sorry they had to work in a place so uncared for.
Two of us chose the buffet. At 12:45pm, nearly half the items were gone. I went back for the child about 15/20 minutes later and nothing had been refilled. I never did try their pozole, (it was empty) and I'd heard it was fantastic. I was on four year old duty, so I only got one shot at my own plate.
We ordered flan for dessert but were informed that the kitchen was currently out and it would be a 15/20 minute wait. Right, with a cranky four year old who's already been there an hour...not so much.
From where we sat, I could see a couple of random plumbing parts strewn in the garden. And the garden itself needed more and new plants and fresh top dressing...it reminded me of an undone project at my home. Not what you want to look at or think about during lunch. The patio is all about the beautiful garden, it should be more tended and less ignored.
The overall effect is of a formerly nice, but now down-at-the-heels restaurant running on autopilot and reputation.
Beautiful entryway. Enjoyed previous mea ...
Beautiful entryway. Enjoyed previous meal buffet style earlier in week. Our reservation got us seated immediately at 4:30 but we filled up on chips waiting a LONG time for our expensive meal which we no longer were hungry enough to eat. Presentation lovely. Chicken taco dry and tasteless. Brussels Sprouts good. Maybe an off night or nice but new waiter. He did offer us flan for our less than enjoyable experience, but we couldn't stay any longer. None of the six of us live in the area, but if I did, I'd go back for the buffet.
We had reservations, with a note that on ...
We had reservations, with a note that one diner was using a wheel chair. We were greeted and seated immediately. We were lead through a myriad of seating, disrupting seated guests with the wheel chair. To top it off, we were seated in the furthest area from the door. There was opaque plastic hung from the rafters, to enclose the area and hold heat. Overhead heaters were on and it was unbearable. It took what seemed forever to get the manager to turn them off. No ambiance. The waiter was asked numerous times for additional salsa and for soppapillas before they materialized. We had out of town guests, their first time there and they left with a not so good impression. Guess any restaurant can have a bad day.....
I really wanted to recommend El Pinto as ...
I really wanted to recommend El Pinto as I had heard some great things about it. Unfortunately the flavors were just okay and my wife got diarrhea for two days after we ate there. The ribs were tender but lacked much flavor. For the price I expected better.
I was visiting Albuquerque for the Ball ...
I was visiting Albuquerque for the Balloon Fiesta and El Pintp is regarded as a top Mexican restaurant. The ambience is incredible with ornate decor in each of the numerous rooms. I found the food to be a bit bland, perhaps toned down for tourists. We had enchiladas and tamales. Servers were attentive.
We come from Illinois to attend Balloon ...
We come from Illinois to attend Balloon Fiesta every year. El Pinto it top on our list to eat and sometimes we get there twice! We especially love the lunch buffet and it's a little quieter, less rushed atmosphere!
I returned to El Pinto because I remembe ...
I returned to El Pinto because I remembered what a great meal I had there on my last trip to NM. I wanted to share this special spot with my husband, to celebrate his birthday with friends who lived in Albuquerque. The night was a success - delicious food for all palates - from mild to extra spicy. However, the service although attentive to our needs was a little slow in returning to our table. We were sitting on the edge of the outside seating.
I'm from the DC area and was in town for ...
I'm from the DC area and was in town for the Balloon Fiesta! One of our Uber drivers recommended your restaurant. I'm happy he did!! I just loved the surroundings, took lots of pictures. The ribs were the best! Loved the wine too!! Our server was very nice! Will go again when in town!!
I have been to El Pinto many times - som ...
I have been to El Pinto many times - sometimes the service is stellar, sometimes (as this time), it's very poor. The food is unfortunately also a hit or miss. The 22oz bone in ribeye was fantastic in the past, but this time my chicken was overcooked and dry. Worth going back, but with some hesitation.
To the owners , managers and cooks, I h ...
To the owners , managers and cooks,
I have been eating real Mexican food for thirty years in Los Angeles CA. The style of food is different from New Mexico I agree, but by all accounts is superior in quality flavor and ingredients.
My bias for "Mexican" has nothing to do with this complaint. I ordered an enchilada "a la carte" and you know what I got-------a barely warm, uncooked corn tortilla with a splash of cheese in it-----and YOU call that an enchilada. It was astonishing that anyone anywhere in the country could remotely compare this to an enchilada. I'm still in shock. In fact, I held it up to the light and could see through this pathetic tortilla. All of you should be ashamed of pandering this kind of food through what New Mexicans think is haute Mexican food.
Went with the group from the balloon fie ...
Went with the group from the balloon fiesta. As locals we wanted them to get a taste of New Mexico. We remember El Pinto in the old days when the food was excellent and the service was special. This time the food was mediocre, the margaritas were great, and the bees were very hungry. Service was very slow and unattentive despite the fact that the restaurant was mostly empty. We still love the ambience but miss the old character of the old El Pinto.
I had relatives in town for Balloons. Th ...
I had relatives in town for Balloons. The kids at the front desk were distracted and didnt care. The food was dry and unappealing. We wanted to sit in the main Garden room but it was closed early so the staff could go home sooner! That alone was was very annoying. Wont be going back. A lot of bosses standing around doing nothing. Stuck us in a back room that was boring and no one was in the garden grand room.
El Pinto is the go-to place for taking o ...
El Pinto is the go-to place for taking out of town visitors, and our experience there didn't disappoint. From the hand-crafted margaritas to the tasty entrees, the warm sopapillas to the great outdoor ambience, our guests were thrilled with their experience!
Please sign in to record your input. Thanks!
Report this review as inappropriate?
If you believe this review should be removed from OpenTable, please let us know and someone will investigate.