Hays Take On: Tinto Kitchen
Hays Take On is a blog series where we explore the Twin Cities in order to find the best and most interesting food and drink stops. Check for updates every Wednesday and follow along to see what we find!
While Tinto is inspired by the culture and tastes of Latin America, this isn’t your regular hidden “Mexican Food” place. There’s no margaritas in a big glass, big old steak burrito, or anything like that, but what they do have is a focus and emphasis on flavor.
Having just moved into their new location at 50th and Penn in Minneapolis, their menu and style fit perfectly into a neighborhood that also includes the legendary Broders. Right on the corner of the street, Tinto has an inviting feel right from the parking lot with large windows as well as a big garage door leading to their well sized patio. Inside they don’t waste any space, putting tables in every inch around their centered bar. At the bar you get a great view through a square holed wall that reveals the hard work in the kitchen. There really isn’t a bad seat in the house, whether you’re at the bar, at one of the tables by the windows with a great view down 50th, or at a cozy booth on the opposite side.
While the location is great (not too far from the office) the food is the real superstar here. With a menu that has a wide variety of entree items, a great and diverse wine list, and more, there are plenty of different options to explore. First, you can’t sleep on the starters they offer, especially the Barbacoa Empanadas. They’re tightly packed with plenty of meat and topped with a phenomenal chipotle aioli as well as the perfect amount pickled onions to complement. Being a Latin American based restaurant, we had to try at least one order of tacos, and we were advised to go after the Carnitas and we were not disappointed. Again, Tinto doesn’t skimp on the meat, as this is one stuffed taco. Another big highlight on the menu is their huevos (egg) section, mainly the Chilequiles. Two sunny side up eggs over crispy pork, refried beans, salsa verde, queso fresco, crema, over house made tortilla chips that are the soft enough to cut with a fork but still maintain the crunch you’d expect. Tinto also boasts a fantastic vinegar based hot sauce that has great flavor and doesn’t overwhelm you with heat, so make sure you put it on everything. Finally, while Tinto may not have the classic margarita, don’t be afraid to pair your food with another old friend, the Corona and lime.
Tinto has the atmosphere of a casual hang out spot but the food has the size and flavor to compete with any other sit down restaurant. With heavily packed tacos and large plates, you’re definitely getting some bang for your buck. If you were a fan of the old restaurant at Lake and Bryant, you’ll be treated to more of the great taste from before as well as some great new features. If you haven’t tried it yet, this should jump up into your must try list to satisfy your Latin food craving.
Check out Tinto’s website here: http://tintokitchen.com/
Check them out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tintokitchen/
Or in person for yourself at 4959 Penn Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55419
Make sure to check back next Wednesday for the next adventure and if you have any suggestions on places we need to check out let us know in the comments!