A while back, we wrote a review of El Quinto Pino and deemed it “suitable” for a First/Early in the Game Date. This Spanish restaurant/wine bar from the folks that brought you Tia Pol, Txikito, and La Vara is very good, but we always had some reservations due to the tiny space and the fact that the thing El Quinto Pino has been best known for, the uni panini, can be your own first date worst enemy. Yes, it’s delicious, but it’s also packed with so much wasabi that it’s impossible to eat without tearing up and making ridiculous faces. And nothing says “get me out of here” like a girl who appears to be crying for no reason.
But now we’re happy to tell you that we can fully recommend El Quinto Pino as an excellent spot for a date, food-induced waterworks or otherwise. The reason for our newfound enthusiasm is that they have recently expanded into the space next door and set up a proper dining room with real seats. The menu has also been expanded to better suit two people looking for a sit-down meal, and they even take reservations. We’ve had dinner in the new room a few times now and have been really impressed with everything from the food to the service to the wine and sangria. “El Comedor at El Quinto Pino,” as it’s being called, is also doing lunch and brunch, in case you’re just looking for a first date with a really good sandwich. At least the sandwich won’t talk about its mom the whole time.
This is basically a Spanish meat and cheese plate, with big hunks of chorizo, some excellent spreadable sausage, and cubes of za'atar-marinated manchego. Order it and get things started.
These potatoes have long been a beloved menu item at El Quinto Pino. It’s basically just a dish consisting of potatoes and a spicy aioli, and it’s delicious.
A rightfully celebrated stroke of sandwich genius. This is a thin baguette stuffed with sea urchin and what tastes like wasabi, but is actually a Korean mustard oil of sorts. It’s punchy but also delicate, and it rules.
A paella dish, made with thin, angel hair type noodles instead of rice. This Fideua is also stuffed with tons of squid and shrimp. We love it.
OK, so this is a “bikini” sandwich, which consists of cheese and something called “corn smut.” You’re not going to not order that.
An excellent chick pea and spinach stew, served in a small dish. The garbaznos are smoky and delicious, and this should be on your table.