7.26.2011

Tinto Tapas España

7511 Santa Monica Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90046
(323) 512-3095
www.tintotapas.com

Parking: Metered street parking (some even free after 6pm, a rarity in the Hollywood area!) – be sure to read the signs
Days: Monday-Saturday

Happy Hour DRINKS
Days/Times:
Monday – Thursday – 5-7pm

Drink Deals: $5 Cocktails, $4 Beer/Sangria

Happy Hour FOOD
Days/Times: Mon, Tue & Wed – 5pm - 11pm; Thu, Fri & Sat – 5pm - 7pm

Food Deals: Large Selection of $5 Tapas


It’s actually sometimes refreshing to discover a not-so-great Happy Hour. Going to so many different restaurants and bars in Los Angeles and beyond, I feel actually quite spoiled by all the great deals and good drinks and eats I come by! So when I visited Tinto, with its very cool Spanish décor, cozier-than-cozy leather bar chairs, and all-night Monday Happy Hour – I kinda thought they’d have a good Happy Hour in the bag.

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be! Like I said, the space does have a lot going for it: it’s at a good location on Santa Monica Blvd. in the predominately Russian neighborhood of East West Hollywood; parking is easy to find; the décor is really sweet with lots of warm reds and dark wood; the waitstaff is very nice and attentive; and the chair (very cushioned leather) – though slightly hard to climb into – was one of the most comfortable bar seats I’ve ever had!

But when it came down to it, the food was just rather… bland. And the Happy Hour drink I thought I ordered was not Happy Hour priced, though this was more my fault because I didn’t pay close attention to the various deals and times. Still, bummer on all counts.

It was a Monday night, Booze’s birthday, and we had just visited the Tim Burton exhibit at LACMA (wonderful message to all aspiring artists: Keep making your art! Be creative!). We were looking forward to a Spanish tapas dinner, one of her favorite cuisines, and we were immediately taken in by the look of Tinto and decided to sit by the bar, one of two places where Happy Hour was offered. Choice #2 was the patio which looked more like an inside hallway with tables and chairs (and not the comfy ones).


Pointing to the $4 Sangria on the Happy Hour menu, we asked the bartender what kind of sangrias they had. The bartender told us “red, white, or Cava,” a sort of sparkling sangria that a nearby patron was enjoying. It looked delicious, so we ordered one apiece and also enjoyed its mimosa-like bubbles very much. But imagine our surprise when the bill came and the Cava sangria was actually $8/glass because Happy Hour drinks only run from 5-7pm. I guess that the top of the menu does state this in small print – I just thought that drinks would be Happy Hour on special as well. Note to read the fine print!

Then the food… we ordered a sampling of $5 Happy Hour-priced tapas, which was all delivered separately. As each dish was delivered, we noticed that each item was just as bland as or blander than the previous:

• Pa Amb Tomaquet – Bread w/ tomato & olive oil (only $2) – slightly soggy bread with tomato-y paste

• Setas Al Ajillo – Mushrooms with garlic chips, white wine, and parsley – the chips were not potato-y chips, but little chips of garlic cooked into the mushrooms. Basic mushroom dish might have tasted better if the mushrooms had been simmered longer to enhance the flavors a bit more
• Patatas Bravas – Spicy Fried Potatoes w/ Aioli – typically one of my favorite tapas dishes, this was probably my fav of the items we ordered, but that doesn’t say much. Try Bar Pintxo in Santa Monica or Bar Celona in Pasadena for tastier options

• Pimientos Dulces – Roasted mini sweet peppers cooked in olive oil – actually loved the texture and caramelization of the skin, but they could have benefitted from being stuffed with a nice cheese or something to add a little flavor

• Datiles Rellenos De Queso Cabrales Con Bacon – Madjool dates stuffed with Cabrales cheese & wrapped in smoked bacon – this was by far Booze’s favorite dish, so it was a shame my vegetarian ways kept me from partaking

Honestly, the food left me so hungry that Booze & I stopped by 7-Eleven afterwards, where I was able to buy real and actual garlic chips and as well as a Red Velvet Cupcake for Booze’s birthday (I’m bougie).

I do think Tinto would be fine for a quick Happy Hour glass or two of HAPPY HOUR-PRICED sangria and ordering something like the bacon-wrapped-cheese-infused-dates (if you eat meat :), just be wary of the time for drink Happy Hour and be prepared to leave a little hungry.

-- JB

Rating: 2.25 Martinis (I can't give it only 2 since it's so cute, but I can't really give it 2.5 either)

Tinto Tapas on Urbanspoon

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