Bar Pintxo: Tapas With a Side of Envy

— by Caroline on Crack

After the Great Los Angeles Walk and its Britannia Pub after party, H.C., Khoi and I still felt like partying it up, OK, I mean winding down, so we stopped off at Bar Pintxo (a Basque word that means “pinches” of food or snacks and is pronounced “pin-cho”) in Santa Monica to check it out.

I’ve been meaning to try out this Spanish wine and tapas bar ever since it opened last year around Christmas but every time I happened by it was packed, and that’s a small venue with only an occupancy of 30! But this time, on a Saturday early evening it was nice and quiet with only 10 or so people in there, including staff. I’m guessing this was due to it being before dinner time.

Even though there were plenty of seats near the back of the restaurant we chose to sit at the counter with our backs to the window so we wouldn’t be in the walk way and we could watch the cooks. OK, they only seemed to be cutting jamon more than actually cooking stuff but still a nice place to sit. We were also right next to the display case of delicious-looking tapas. Of course, this didn’t help our cause of coming here only for a glass of wine. Before we knew it we were ordering yet another glass of wine, tapas and dessert.


The Guide:

A tiny tapas bar with real Spanish flair. Just a few tables and lots of standing room. Still, the small bites go way beyond what you’d find at a neighborhood joint in Madrid.

Our waitress was very friendly, helpful and had ample wine suggestions which were spot on. She directed H.C. and Khoi to wine that they loved. Silly me, more of a cocktail lover than wine drinker, opted for a glass of red sangria which was just OK, not like the ultra yummy full-bodied sangria I had at Whist’s holiday class.

So for my next glass I chose the tempranillo ($7) that was H.C.’s first pick. But then I instantly regretted that when I tried his second glass of an off-the-menu rose cava called NV Cavas Hill Rosat Cava ($8) which went sparklingly well with my dessert of pot of chocolate. Blasted!

And then H.C. one-upped me again with his order of bacon-wrapped dates with cabralas cheese ($4). I was going to order that but had my mind set on getting dessert since I just had a shepherd’s pie at Britannia not half an hour before. Should have went with my ever-expanding gut instead. He and Khoi split the plate (there are only two dates a plate) with glee while I spooned the thick chocolate cream into my mouth. The dessert was not overly sweet and yet satisfied my sweet tooth but at this point I would have preferred the dates. Ah well.

I found out that Bar Pintxo has a super awesome happy hour Mondays through Fridays 4 to 7pm where you can get six tapas for only $6! And to wash it down, happy hour sangria is only $3 and Stella is an amazing $1.50. So I’ll definitely have to come back. Next time I wanna order my own plate of dates, creamy goat cheese croquettes with mushrooms, chorizo and fried quail eggs, roast suckling pig glazed with figs, dungeness crab wrapped with smoked salmon…and maybe another order of dates. Heh.

Bar Pintxo
109 Santa Monica Boulevard
Santa Monica, California 90401 (map)
(310) 458-2012

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