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Tuesday, 23 April 2013

WestEndGirl Eats: Fast Fiesta Fix at Pinto

When I'm in the city centre shopping (which tends to be pretty regularly), or some other activity that calls for a quick lunch there are lots of places a girl can go. Glasgow is heaving with choice and you can't turn a corner without being presented with a meal deal or lunchtime offer. Most often when I'm looking for a bite to eat without sitting down for too long, I rock up to Pinto on Queen street for a fast fiesta fix.

There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, the location. It's very conveniently central to the centre of town and right in the middle of the two main shopping areas of the city centre. I normally pop in when heading from one end to the other and last Thursday was a perfect example of that when The Boy and I stopped for a bite to eat during a shopping trip. Now, perhaps a Mexican fast food outlet may not be everyone's idea of a romantic meal but I had very high hopes of us both starting at each end of a super-sized burrito and our lips locking in the middle like a modern-day urban Lady and the Tramp while Enrique Iglesias crooned softly in the background. OK, maybe just in my imagination then...

The first thing that always hits me (along with the yummy smell of fresh salsa) when I enter Pinto is how bright and clean it is. The lime-green, yellow and red colour scheme is very warm and inviting - especially on disastrous windy days like last Thursday when you feel like you've been blown up and down the streets and failed miserably at keeping your dignity (sorry to everyone that accidentally seen my underwear that day...). It is the kind of open-plan, casual seating environment that is comfortable  to eat in whether in a pair, a group or even alone - and I've done all three.

The atmosphere is friendly and laid back, and the staff are always very nice. They know their stuff and it comes in handy if you haven't tried something before. The first time I went to Pinto I went by myself and didn't know what I wanted. The person behind the counter at the time took me through the different choices, the fillings and the toppings - helping me pick something that suited my taste. I don't like things that are too spicy, but their chicken burrito is smokey without being too hot so is now my firm favourite.

Which brings me nicely onto the food. The food is fresh and prepared in front of you after you pick your own ingredients - kind of like Subway, but (as the staff have pointed out), that's where the similarities end. After choosing what you want (whether a burrito, bare burrito, tacos, nachos or salad) you have a choice of fillings and toppings to create your own Mexican feast. There are also specials such as chilli bowls and chicken tortilla soup and sides to choose from. You won't go hungry in this place! Drinks-wise, they have the usual soft drinks, bottled water, beer and fresh lemonade and margaritas (both made and mixed in-house). My 'usual' order is a chicken burrito, some nachos and a lemonade. Delicious! There are also bottles of hot sauce of varying spice for customers to help themselves to - for those daring to turn up the heat!

Charging just over a fiver for one burrito might seem a little steep to the uninitiated but when you see the sheer SIZE of them, you realise it is value for money and one burrito consists of so much food that it is a meal in itself, no sides required! I actually need to use both hands to tackle one, they use super-sized wraps and pack them with lots of tasty fillings. Although Pinto are essentially a fast-food kitchen, the food and presentation are higher quality than the usual burger or sandwich joints and as such I generally think of them as being a little classier.

My Pinto meal certainly did the job last Thursday and I felt fuelled up and ready for round two at the mid-season sales. In fact, I was feeling so good that I ended up buying three dresses! Pinto are proving so popular with the locals that they have recently opened a new smaller branch on Gordon Street and a much-tweeted about third branch is to be opened for the Summer. I'm looking forward to seeing them continue going from strength to strength.

Have you  ever been to Pinto? What is your shopping snack of choice? Do you ever fantasise about recreating a Disney love scene?

Thanks for reading!


  1. I do like it but I wish the offered rice and guacamole without coriander for those of us who are allergic

    1. Ah I understand, that must be pretty frustrating. They seem to respond really well to feedback - you could always suggest it to them? x

  2. I love pinto! Queen Street for margeritas and burritoes; Gordon St for quesidillas or breakfast!

  3. That looks delicious, I can't get over the size either!

    1. The size is like having a baby in your hands, a tasty baby made of Mexican deliciousness! x