Fino, established in 2003, was the first of the contemporary Spanish tapas restaurants opened in London by brothers Sam and Eddie Hart (also owners of Barrafina, Quo Vadis and other London and UK-based establishments).
Located on the well-known, restaurant-lined Charlotte Street, the decor of the restaurant is very classic, up-market, city restaurant, which is not my favourite. It starts the restaurant off on the back foot for me, because I assume its pretentious and then expect it to impress me and earn the reputation that its trying to force upon me.
Overall, the food did a pretty decent job of living up to my expectations. For a table of five, we ordered pan con tomate, pimientos de padrón, ham croquetas, crab croquetas, classic tortilla, grilled quail, stuffed courgette flowers and a bunch of other things that I cannot remember anymore because they're no longer on the menu, which is seasonal and changes often. The crab croquetas and the stuffed courgette flowers were definitely my favourite of the dishes that we had, both being full of flavour and fried well, without being greasy. Everything was cooked well though, and it was all tasty.
I should probably explain that, while I really enjoy the foods that are often involved with tapas, I am always skeptical about tapas because I feel like you end up paying quite a lot due to the number of dishes you have to order. For me personally, the mark of a good tapas restaurant is leaving full (not stuff, just full), and Fino left me slightly wanting.
I convinced a friend that we should split donuts and ice cream for dessert, and I think that was the best part of the meal.
I am definitely open to giving Barrafina a go, but I'm not sure I'll be rushing to come back to Fino.
Ratings: (numbers out of 10, £ out of 4)
Overall experience: 7