El Quinto Pino

In a small storefront just off Ninth Avenue, El Quinto Pino has the feel of a special find, very much like its tapas-bar forefathers off the main plazas in any number of Iberian towns and cities. You can stop by in the morning for an omelet and a café con leche, then later on in the afternoon for a quick plate of garlic shrimp and a glass of beer, and then—why not?—circle back around at evening’s end for a digestif. Owner and chef Alex Raij has created the kind of classic neighborhood bar the Spanish use as extensions of their own living rooms: congenial, welcoming, the spot where you might find an old friend nestled into the crowd, tinto in hand, with one elbow on the white marble bar and eyes fixed on the big chalkboard menu. Disfruta! Even if you don’t live anywhere near Chelsea, you’ll want to become a regular.

sweet seats

In Spain, it’s typical to stand in bars. Here you can also get a small table along the wall, or a stool at the bar. Grab the one with a view of the tiny kitchen, which is also a good vantage point for watching the ebb and flow of the clientele.

chew on this

Alex Raij also owns and runs Txikito, a stone’s throw away on Ninth Avenue, which could be the start of a beautiful circuit—a tapeo in Spanish, a txikito in Basque. Make like a Spaniard, gather some friends and go from one to the other.


breakfast and lunch: Mon.–Fri. 8 AM–2 PM
tapas: Mon.–Thurs. 5 PM–12 midnight; Fri.–Sat. 5 PM–1 AM; Sun. 5 PM–11 PM
no reservations

price range for menu items

$5 (ham croquetas) to $15 (sea urchin sandwich)


Mon-Thu: 5 PM-12 AM
Fri-Sat: 5 PM-1 AM
Sun: 5 PM-11 PM