Editor’s Note: FINO closed at the end of March 2015 after 10 years in business.
Hidden in a second story nook, atop several Austin shops between West Campus and Lamar, lies FINO Restaurant Patio and Bar, a modern Mediterranean restaurant and sister to well-known Austin eatery, Asti Trattoria.
After cruising past the colorful FINO sign too many times to count, a trip to this familiar restaurant was a must.
Once you reach the top of the stairwell, you step foot into a beautiful wrap around patio, craving attention in the long summer days. Half of the patio is a lounging and socializing area, with welcoming couches, brightly colored pillows and tables perfectly heightened for your cocktail of choice. The other half of the patio is set up for outdoor dining, equipped with heaters for the cooler evenings.
The warm colors and décor extends inside, giving the restaurant a very laid back feel in an upscale environment. Throw in the friendly staff, and a great experience is made.
Our convenient arrival during happy hour (the three beautiful hours between 3:30 and 6:30 when FINO trims 2 dollars off all tapas, cocktails and beer) allowed us to indulge in delightful offerings. Also during happy hour, all sparkling and rose wines are half off. My champagne taste was fulfilled at FINO, to say the least.
FINO has a uniquely crafted cocktail menu with House Cocktails and Classic Cocktails. My friend tried the Brooklynite, a slightly sweet mixture of Jamaican rum, lime, honey and bitters. According to our waitress, the Summer Sangria and Roll With The Punch are summertime favorites. In addition to cocktails, FINO also offers several local Austin beers and a lengthy wine list.
Tapas, small plates, salads, soups and paellas line the Dinner menu at FINO, all of which have you second guessing your final ordering decision.
Chef Andrew MacArthur blends an array of Mediterranean flavors, with dishes inspired by Spanish, Greek and North African cuisine.
With a helping hand from our waitress, we ordered several Tapas, including the Hummus, Muhummara, Falafel and Pork Pinchitos.
The Hummus and Muhummara, both traditional Mediterranean dips, were served with housemade pita. I thoroughly enjoyed both. However, the unique combination of flavors in the Muhummara (a mixture of red pepper, walnut and pomegranate) resulted in my friend and I alternating dipping turns.
Up next was the Falafel, a traditional Middle Eastern dish made of ground chickpeas. The slightly fried patty was topped with cucumber salad, sesame and a drizzle of tomato pomegranate sauce. The crispy cucumber salad and sauce resulted in a great texture and flavor balance. FINO’s twist on a classic was a great one.
Our last Tapa was the Pork Pinchitos with Sea Salt. According to our waitress, the pork is soaked in marinade for quite a long time, allowing the meat to absorb all the flavors and spices. Served on miniature skewers and sprinkled with sea salt, this simple, yet intricately flavorful pork dish was quite tasty.
Because dessert is a necessity when trying new restaurants, I happily accepted the all-so-familiar dessert invitation from our waitress. Without question, we ordered the Peach Cake, an individual cake topped with fresh peaches and served with a scoop of ice cream. It was definitely a delicious decision.
The Verdict (and a Word to the Wise)
While it may be easy to overlook this location, the environment and meal at FINO Restaurant Patio and Bar is well worth the hunt.
Also, Tuesday evenings, FINO hosts their ‘Paella Night,’ a night when all of their well-known paellas are half off from 5-7 PM and 25 percent off between 7-10 PM. The initial sadness that I missed Paella Night immediately dissipated, as I now have a great excuse to plan a return trip, pronto.
What is your Tapa of choice at FINO?