Tintos Restaurant is Now Closed

This was the official website for the Tintos Restaurant located in the River Oaks Center, Houston, TX. In 2010 it was rated at #8 in the list of the Top Ten Restaurants in River Oaks.
My husband and I frequented this delightful Spanish cuisine restaurant a number of times. The tapa plates both traditional and modern are tasty and inventive. I loved the ham-wrapped asparagus and the peppered cod, and the goat cheese and artichoke glazed snails. If you love paella, Tintos was fabulous, stuffed with generous portions of seafood, chicken, and chorizo. We went there late in the evening to top off my birthday. It was just months before Tintos closed. My husband surprised me with a final birthday gift, three unique rings - statement rings to be specific. These are large and gorgeous rings that won't be ignored. They were a bit edgy and certainly unique designed by Anita Jacob. Two of the rings were a chain link accent bands. One was brass plated in Rhodium and the other in 14K yellow gold. Chunky and intricate looking. They were great. The third was a rather large rectangular ring that was hammered, brass plated in 14K yellow gold with emerald and jet crystals and black enamel. It definitely made a flashy, statement. Emeralds are my favorite stones and although this was a faux gemstone, it didn't matter. I was really impressed by my husband's selections. He certainly knew my tastes. What a wonderful way to end my birthday evening. I'm just sad that Tintos is still not around for my next celebration.
Content below is from the site's archived pages. Unfortunately, as of 2016, Yelpers have reported this location has closed.

2015 West Gray St.
Houston, TX 77019

Tintos Spanish Restaurant & Wine Bar

At Tintos plan on having a posh and relaxing experience. With two separate dining rooms to choose from, and a shady and tropical patio availabe, you will enjoy delicious Spanish inspired tapas and sip on a great glass of wine from your favorite Spanish region.  You may also choose to purchase your favorite wine from our distinguished wine selection as we are a full wine retail restaurant.
So go ahead.. call a few friends and come and see us.  Let us help you celebrate life and friendship.  Salud!

Alberto J. Alfonzo - Chef/Owner

A native Texan who grew up in Venezuela, he spent the majority of his childhood within its large Spanish immigrant culture, tasting and cooking the foods of his parents homeland with family and friends. 
To create his menu, Alberto traveled to Spain, one of his favorites places in the world, to visit with family and friends, restaurant owners and chefs to not only enhance his family recipes, but to explore the latest food trends in Spanish cuisine.  With resources in hand, combined with a lifetime full of dreams and over 15 years of experience, Tintos Spanish Restaurant & Wine Bar was born.


There were times when it might have seemed that I lived here. When I was first dabbling in seo, I worked as a reporter for Search Scape and interviewed a lot of coders, webmasters and would be seos right here, enjoying Alberto's cuisine. I even managed to snag an interview with Bob Sakayama, the celebrity search guru of NYC, while he was here visiting clients in Houston. I conducted that interview over a drawn out dinner of multiple tapas and beers. When Alberto learned what Bob was able to do, he tried to hire him on the spot. Ever notice that the site ranks #1 for all the important searches? Now you know why. Someday there will be songs about this place.


Events/Happy Hour & Announcements


Join Us for Happy Hour 

Every Monday - Friday from 5-7 p.m. 

                                   $5 Happy Hour                                    


Tortilla Con Serrano : Spanish potato and onions omelet topped with serrano chips and romesco  

Pure de Garbanzos: Roasted garlic hummus  with smoked paprika and piquillo. 

Almendras y Aceitunas: Assortment of marinated olives and roasted almonds 

Albondigas Pinxto: Veal and beef meatballs skewers with Rioja Demi   

Garbanzos y Vegetales: Chickpeas, roasted tomatoes, zucchini, and squash in a saffron-curry broth  

Patatas Bravas: Potatoes tossed in a spicy tomato sauce and piquillo aioli

Champiñones al Ajillo: Crimini and button mushrooms in a spicy garlic and wine sauce  

Piquillos Rostizados: Fire-roasted,sweet Spanish red peppers in caper garlic olive drizzle  

Queso de Cabra Andaluz:  Baked local goat cheese, romesco and sofrito with pine nuts

Bocadillo: Serrano and Manchego pressed mini  wheat sandwich with fig mermelade

Basque Fries: Fried Sweet potato fries, smoked pimenton , sea salt and truffle oil with piquillo aioli

Coca de Chorizo y Queso: Spanish style baked flat bread "pizza" with chorizo and melted cheese

Montaditos: On baked pita  ($3)

Cured lomo , manchego roasted piquillos

Fig and Goat cheese with roasted almonds 

Seared Beef with piquillo aioli and cabrales

Cheese Tastes: Served with membrillo, fruit and toast points choice of: 

Red Wine Cured Goat Cheese

$ 5 Happy Hour Wines

2009 Callia Alta Torrontes San Juan, Argentina  $5/15

2010 PenescalTempranillo Rose  Rioja, Spain $5/15

2009 Tres Ojos Grenache Calatayud, Spain  $5/15

Gran Passion Cava N.V. Penedes, Spain $5/15

Red Sangria  $5  


Brunch:  11 a.m. - 3 p.m.


Tintos Spanish Restaurant and Wine Bar writes...
Tintos offers a wide variety of traditional and modern Spanish tapas. We also offer a large selection of Spanish wines as well as wines from all over the world that are also available for ratail purchase. Weekends will feature live entertainment and music. Come join us for paella, music and great wines on our patio. Sunday Brunch from 11-3 pm featuring: paella, empanadas, sangria and many breakfast dishes.

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Cuisine: Tapas / Small Plates, Spanish
  • Neighborhood: River Oaks
  • Cross Street: Shepherd
  • Menu: View menu on restaurant's website
  • Price: $30 and under
  • Phone: (713) 522-1330
  • Hours of Operation: Lunch & Dinner: Monday-Wednesday: 11:00am - 10:00pm, Thursday - Saturday: 11:00am - 12:00am. Sunday: Brunch 11-3 pm open till 9 pm
  • Payment Options:
  • AMEX, Carte Blanche, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Executive Chef: Janel Witt
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Entertainment, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking Area, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Smoking Area, Smoking Area (patio only), Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
  • Public Transit: Houston metro
  • Parking: Public Lot
  • Parking Details: We offer complimentary valet Thursday through Saturday and self parking is available.
  • Catering: We cater to private house parties, graduations,and special events etc. We also have a private room for up to 50 people.
  • Private Party Facilities: We offer areas of the restaurant that can be sectioned off for private events.
  • Private Party Contact: Matt Dawid (713) 522-1330
  • Entertainment: Live Music Thursday through Saturday : show starts at 8 pm Sunday Live Brunch music form 12-3 check out website tintosrestaurant.com for additional information



More Background On Tinto's Restaurant

Tintos Spanish Restaurant & Wine Bar, once a culinary beacon in Houston's River Oaks area, brought a slice of Spanish cuisine and culture to Texas. Alberto Alfonzo, the brain behind Tintos, embarked on this venture after a distinguished career in the restaurant industry, spanning over a decade with the Landry's group followed by a stint at The Tasting Room. Driven by a passion for the flavors of his youth and a desire to create a unique dining experience, Alfonzo opened Tintos with the aim of serving both traditional and innovative Spanish tapas. The restaurant's offerings reflected a blend of Spanish culinary traditions alongside influences from Central and South America and the Caribbean, a testament to Alfonzo's Venezuelan roots and his extensive travels across Spain and beyond.

At Tintos, guests were treated to an array of tapas that included classics like mushrooms in spicy garlic and wine sauce, snails with goat cheese, and the quintessential Spanish dish, paella. The menu also featured more adventurous selections such as roasted octopus (pulpo), squid ink rice (arroz negro), and morcilla (blood sausage with a quail egg), catering to both traditionalists and culinary adventurers alike. The restaurant's commitment to authenticity and quality was evident in every dish, making it a favorite among Houstonians seeking an immersive Spanish dining experience.

Beyond the food, Tintos was known for its inviting ambiance, characterized by warm, Mediterranean-inspired decor that complemented its culinary offerings. The restaurant's philosophy was rooted in celebrating life and friendship, a sentiment that resonated well with its patrons. Whether it was for a casual meal, a special celebration, or a leisurely Sunday brunch, Tintos offered a welcoming space for guests to gather and enjoy the rich flavors and traditions of Spanish cuisine.

Despite its closure, the legacy of Tintos Spanish Restaurant & Wine Bar lives on in the memories of those who experienced its hospitality and culinary excellence. Through his venture, Alfonzo not only shared his love for Spanish cuisine with Houston but also left an indelible mark on the city's dining scene, reminding us of the power of food to bring people together and create lasting memories​​​​.



Tintos Spanish Restaurant & Wine Bar was the brainchild of Alberto Alfonzo. With a rich background that intertwined his Venezuelan roots and Texas upbringing, Alfonzo was inspired by the Spanish immigrant culture he was immersed in during his childhood. His journey in the restaurant industry began with managerial positions, including an 11-year tenure with the Landry's group and a couple of years at The Tasting Room, before deciding to venture on his own. The decision to open Tintos was driven by his desire to rise to the challenge of owning a restaurant during tough economic times, leveraging his extensive experience and passion for Spanish cuisine. This entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to sharing the culinary traditions of Spain, as well as Central and South America and the Caribbean, were at the heart of Tintos' identity and operations​​.



Tintos Spanish Restaurant & Wine Bar enjoyed popularity among Houston's dining community, largely due to its authentic and diverse range of Spanish tapas, welcoming atmosphere, and thoughtful wine selection. The restaurant was highly regarded for its ability to offer both traditional and modern interpretations of Spanish cuisine, catering to a wide range of tastes and preferences. Dishes like the mushrooms in a spicy garlic and wine sauce, snails with goat cheese, paella, and for dessert, churros with a chocolate shooter, were particularly noted for their authenticity and flavor, indicating Tintos' commitment to high-quality, Spanish-inspired cuisine.

Moreover, Tintos was not just a place to dine; it was a venue where patrons could experience the richness of Spanish culture in a cozy, inviting setting. The inclusion of modern tapas alongside traditional dishes showcased the versatility of Spanish cuisine and reflected Alfonzo's personal journey and professional experiences in the culinary world. The restaurant's ability to attract both the adventurous foodie seeking novel flavors and the traditional diner longing for the classic tastes of Spain contributed significantly to its popularity.


Press & Media Coverage

Tintos Spanish Restaurant & Wine Bar received coverage in the Houston Press, where it was highlighted for its authentic Spanish cuisine and the personal journey of its chef and owner, Alberto Alfonzo. Alfonzo's story, from his early days in Venezuela to his ascent in the Houston culinary scene, underscored the passion and authenticity he brought to Tintos. His dedication was reflected in the menu, which combined traditional Spanish tapas with influences from Central and South America and the Caribbean. The restaurant's dishes, especially the mushrooms in spicy garlic and wine sauce, snails with goat cheese, paella, and desserts like churros with a chocolate shooter, were praised for their authenticity and flavor. This coverage suggests Tintos was not just a place to eat but a venue where patrons could immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of Spanish culinary tradition, all the while supported by Alfonzo's extensive industry experience and personal heritage​.



Tintos Spanish Restaurant & Wine Bar catered to a diverse audience in Houston, ranging from culinary adventurers keen on exploring authentic Spanish tapas to those looking for a cozy, sophisticated dining experience. The restaurant's offering of both traditional and modern interpretations of Spanish cuisine, alongside its inviting atmosphere and thoughtful wine selection, appealed to a wide range of patrons. This included:

  1. Food Enthusiasts and Culinary Adventurers: With a menu that featured traditional dishes like paella and innovative tapas, Tintos attracted those eager to explore the depths of Spanish cuisine. Dishes such as mushrooms in spicy garlic and wine sauce, snails with goat cheese, and churros with a chocolate shooter catered to this group's desire for authentic and adventurous dining experiences.

  2. Wine Aficionados: The restaurant's emphasis on a distinguished wine selection, with options to sip on glasses from favorite Spanish regions or purchase bottles from a full wine retail setup, made it a favored spot for wine lovers. This aspect of Tintos appealed to those who appreciated the finer nuances of wine pairing with Spanish cuisine.

  3. Casual Diners and Social Gatherers: The welcoming atmosphere of Tintos, highlighted by its posh and relaxing dining rooms and a tropical patio, made it an ideal location for casual meet-ups, celebrations, and social gatherings. The happy hour offerings and live entertainment during weekends further broadened its appeal to those looking to enjoy a leisurely meal in a vibrant setting.

  4. Cultural Enthusiasts: Patrons interested in the rich cultural tapestry of Spain and its culinary traditions found Tintos to be a cultural haven. The restaurant's commitment to authenticity, reflected in both its menu and ambiance, attracted those looking to immerse themselves in Spanish culture.

The audience's diverse interests and backgrounds contributed to the restaurant's vibrant dining scene, making Tintos a beloved establishment in Houston's River Oaks area. Although specific demographic data is not provided, the range of Tintos' offerings and its appeal across various patron types suggest a broad and inclusive audience base.


Known For

Tintos Spanish Restaurant & Wine Bar was known for several key elements that made it a standout establishment in Houston's River Oaks area:

  1. Authentic Spanish Cuisine: Tintos was celebrated for its authentic and diverse Spanish tapas, which included both traditional dishes and modern innovations. Favorites among patrons included mushrooms in spicy garlic and wine sauce, snails with goat cheese, paella, and desserts like churros with a chocolate shooter. The menu's authenticity and variety made Tintos a go-to destination for Spanish cuisine lovers​.

  • Wine Selection: The restaurant boasted a distinguished wine selection, offering patrons a chance to explore a wide range of Spanish wines alongside international options. This focus on quality wines, available by the glass or for retail purchase, catered to wine aficionados and casual drinkers alike, enhancing the dining experience with perfect pairings​.

  • Atmosphere and Dining Experience: With its posh dining rooms and a tropical, shaded patio, Tintos provided a relaxing and inviting atmosphere that was ideal for both intimate dinners and larger gatherings. The ambiance of the restaurant, combined with live entertainment on weekends, created a vibrant setting that encouraged socializing and celebration​.

  • Culinary Creativity and Innovation: Beyond traditional tapas, Tintos was also recognized for its culinary creativity, offering modern interpretations of Spanish dishes that drew on influences from Central and South America and the Caribbean. This approach allowed the restaurant to cater to a wide range of tastes and preferences, appealing to both traditionalists and those seeking new culinary experiences​.

  • Community and Cultural Engagement: Tintos was not just a restaurant; it was a community hub that engaged with its patrons through events like happy hour, live music, and special celebrations. This engagement helped foster a sense of community and cultural appreciation among its diverse audience, making it a cherished part of Houston's dining scene​.

These factors combined to make Tintos Spanish Restaurant & Wine Bar a memorable part of Houston's culinary landscape, known for its commitment to authenticity, quality, and the overall dining experience.



Tintos Spanish Restaurant & Wine Bar's history is closely tied to its founder, Alberto Alfonzo. Born and raised within a large Spanish immigrant culture in Venezuela, Alfonzo grew up tasting and cooking the foods of his parents' homeland. His culinary journey led him to Texas, where he attended high school and graduated from A&M, beginning his professional career in the restaurant industry. Alfonzo's path included managing a Pizza Hut and spending over a decade with the Landry's group, followed by a couple of years at The Tasting Room. This diverse experience laid the groundwork for his venture into restaurant ownership​​.

Alfonzo's decision to open Tintos was driven by a desire to showcase the Spanish cuisine he loved, combined with the modern culinary trends he observed during his travels in Spain and his extensive experience in the industry. Tintos featured a menu that blended traditional Spanish tapas with innovations influenced by Central and South American and Caribbean cuisines, reflecting Alfonzo's heritage and his culinary explorations. The restaurant quickly became known for its authentic Spanish dishes, extensive wine selection, and inviting atmosphere, earning a spot among the top restaurants in Houston's River Oaks area​​.

Throughout its operation, Tintos was a beloved venue for experiencing Spanish culture through food, wine, and social gatherings. Despite its eventual closure, the legacy of Tintos and Alfonzo's contributions to Houston's dining scene continue to be remembered by those who experienced its offerings. The story of Tintos is a testament to Alfonzo's passion for Spanish cuisine, his commitment to authenticity, and his success in creating a unique dining destination that celebrated the flavors and traditions of Spain​​.


Cultural & Social Significance

Tintos Spanish Restaurant & Wine Bar held a significant cultural and social role within the Houston community, particularly in the River Oaks area. Its contributions can be appreciated on several levels:

  1. Cultural Bridge: Tintos served as a bridge between Spain and Houston, allowing patrons to experience authentic Spanish cuisine and wine without leaving Texas. The restaurant's commitment to traditional Spanish dishes and its inclusion of modern interpretations reflected a deep respect for Spanish culinary traditions while embracing the diverse culinary landscape of Houston. This blend of authenticity and innovation helped introduce and educate the local community about Spanish culture and cuisine.

  2. Social Hub: The restaurant was more than just a place to eat; it was a gathering spot for celebrating life's milestones, friendships, and family occasions. Its warm and inviting atmosphere, combined with live music and special events, fostered a sense of community and belonging among its patrons. Tintos was a venue where people could come together, share a meal, and create lasting memories, thus playing a vital role in the social fabric of its community.

  3. Culinary Inspiration: By showcasing the depth and breadth of Spanish cuisine—from tapas to paella and beyond—Tintos inspired both patrons and other restaurateurs in Houston to explore and embrace Spanish flavors and cooking techniques. This contributed to a broader appreciation and understanding of international cuisines within the local culinary scene, encouraging diversity and experimentation.

  4. Economic Impact: As a business, Tintos contributed to the local economy by creating jobs, purchasing from local suppliers, and attracting visitors to the River Oaks area. The restaurant's success demonstrated the viability of culturally focused culinary ventures, encouraging further investments and developments within Houston's dining and hospitality sectors.

  5. Legacy and Influence: Even after its closure, the legacy of Tintos continues to influence Houston's culinary landscape. The restaurant set a high standard for authentic Spanish dining and cultural immersion, leaving a lasting impression on those who experienced its offerings. It also paved the way for future restaurants to explore and celebrate other world cuisines, contributing to the diversity and richness of Houston's restaurant scene.

Through its authentic cuisine, welcoming atmosphere, and cultural engagement, Tintos Spanish Restaurant & Wine Bar made a lasting impact on Houston's cultural and social landscape, underscoring the power of food to bring people together and celebrate shared heritage.