Small plates from the Basque country arrive near Rittenhouse Square
Tinto is the highly anticipated second restaurant from rising star Chef Jose Garces, whose first restaurant, Amada, has been a smashing success in the Old City neighborhood of Philadelphia and now ranks among Philly’s hardest-to-score reservations.
Tinto showcases the extraordinary tastes of the Basque country, the coastal and mountainous region that blurs the lines of demarcation between Spain and France.
Tinto features an intimate atmosphere reminiscent of a rustic wine cellar and an incredible wine list of more than 100 Spanish and French varieties that complement the restaurant’s exquisite menu.
The space features handcrafted wooden grids, which house thousands of wine bottles that completely surround the room, a 22-foot bar constructed with reclaimed orange-stained lumber, and black and white Spanish tile, and high-top tables. Floor to ceiling bi-fold glass doors open onto 20th Street, where you can enjoy alfresco dining, weather permitting.
Downstairs, Tinto offers a lounge atmosphere, with cozy dark brown and mustard colored vinyl upholstered sofas, and black laminate tables.
Tinto features a mouth-watering (literally) selection of “pintxos” (pronounced PEEN-choes), the Basque equivalent of tapas. Along with pintxos, Tinto will offer a tempting array of charcuterie, cheeses, mariscos (shellfish), brochettes and bocadillos (sandwiches).
Here’s a sampling of the exquisite offerings you’ll find on Tinto’s menu: duck confit montadito, with wild black cherries and Bleu de Basque; gambas brochettes, shrimp with grape tomato and sherry espelette chili sauce; roasted rack of lamb au jus, with truffled artichoke puree and candied lemon; marmitako de ventresca, tuna toro, parsley oil, migas and shaved mojama; txanguro montadito, Dungeness crab, avocado and espelette; and mousse de queso, with goat cheese, calabaza, orange, olive oil, caramel and lavender tuille.
Basque cusine is neither elite, complicated nor lavish. Its merit is based upon the bounty of fresh ingredients readily available throughout the region and expert preparation.
Nestled between the Pyrenees Mountains and the Bay of Biscay, the Basque region teems with superb seafood, magnificent meats, fresh fruits and vegetables and exquisite cheeses through all four seasons. The area is also home to a rich wine culture as well as a long-established tradition of cider making.
By successfully recreating all of these elements in Philadelphia, Tinto is an homage to the long-standing benchmark of excellence set by Basque tradition.
Reservations are encouraged. But even you don’t make one for in advance, it doesn’t mean you can’t get lucky and score a table at the last minute.
Call or stop by early in the evening to see if there has been any cancellations for the night. (And be sure to try OpenTable too.)
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