Fino Restaurant, Austin, TX /Dining experience from Thursday, 9/3/09
Dined at Fino for the first time. Not thrilled with my choice. Ordered the chicken entree, with garbanzo beans and spinach (very salty), did not have the wine choice I requested, alternate white wine was good. My dining companion ordered the Halibut, he was pleased with his selection. We noticed there was really no ambiance, or substance to this restaurant. Nothing really stood out about the restaurant, except it being a bit pricey. Dinner for 2 was around $80.
Review: 1 star. I will not return, nor recommend.
Pros: Lots of Parking and Seating
Cons: Food not all that appetizing
I can't say anything about dinner there, but I have been for happy hour on a few occasions and the drinks were top notch. They also had some happy hour priced appetizers that were good, and I remember the deep fried anchovy stuffed olives as being particular standouts. Sorry to hear you had such a bad experience, especially for the price you paid.
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Sorry to hear about your less-than-stellar experience at FINO - I'll start by stating that this restaurant is in my Top 5 Austin restaurants, and have had few, if any, disappointments at this fine venue. My wife and I love the 'small plate' concept, and how the menu offerings are constantly changing....we personally love the pinchitos, perfect little bites of well-seasoned pork, the fried goat cheese, mussels & frites and the calamari is among the best I've ever enjoyed.
But, I can understand how some of the menu items (which are heavily Mediterranean in their influence) might not appeal to every palate.
However, I have to take exception to your comment about FINO having "no ambience or substance"? FINO has a wonderful al fresco tree-top dining and lounging area - no better place to enjoy a drink on a beautiful Austin evening. Plus, the interior of the restaurant is beautifully designed.....I just don't get this comment from you.
Finally, FINO has arguably the best bartender in the city.
Sorry that you and your companion didn't enjoy it.....
Gotta say that I had a miserable experience at Fino too. And it wasn't because "some of the menu items (which are heavily Mediterranean in their influence) might not appeal to every palate". I lived in Italy for 3 years, traveled extensively in Spain, Greece, and Turkey, and have had lots of good Mediterranean food. This food wasn't bad b/c my palate wasn't accustomed to or sophisticated enough to enjoy Mediterranean flavors, it was bad because for whatever reason the preparation was a failure across the board. Particularly bad was the calamari, which tasted like it had been frozen for the last couple months and then fried at a low temperature so as to retain maximum amount of grease. No prepared dish was especially delicate or flavorful. The only thing that was worthy was the cheese.
Regarding the "al fresco tree-top" dining being "the best place in Austin to enjoy a drink": this is the 2nd floor of a retail center off of Lamar.
The only reason my post has vitriol is because I find the tone of marfaboy's post disdainful and dismissive.
I didn't find it that disdainful. I mean, I don't agree either but the tone was fine by me. FWIW, they are supposed to have one of the best bartenders in town....but that doesn't make or break a restaurant for me.
I agree with your comments about the lack of ambiance. I personally found it cramped myself, and the menu, while interesting, lacked execution.
Well, I thought this person jumped all over me kind of needlessly - I mean, I've been to FINO more times than I can recall, and it sounds like he/she only went once before forming their completely negative opinion. And, if my tone was either "disdainful or dismissive", I certainly apologize for that - it wasn't intended as such.
But, we're all entitled to our civil opinions, which is why we have this forum.....