Santa Fe Restaurants
821 Canyon Rd., Canyon Road
This neighborhood spot at the end of Canyon Road is a favorite for their selection of teas, which line the walls of the small entry. You can almost always bet on the sweeping patio and windy indoor spaces to be packed with locals from open to close on the weekends. Even if you don't have a full meal here (they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner), definitely make time to pick up an iced tea and pastry before you make your way through the galleries.
1281 San Felipe Ave., Southwest
Chef/owner Noela Figueroa just opened Bodega Prime after moving back from a stint in Colorado, and it's fast become a local favorite. The brunch and lunch menus change weekly depending on what Figueroa's farming partners have on hand, but she really specializes in old-school sandwiches with quirky tweaks, like a sharp grilled cheddar cheese with kimchi, miso-marinated steak with kaffir aioli, and saffron-brined chicken with romesco and fennel relish. All day (and, blessedly, after the kitchen closes at 3pm), you can pick up sandwiches and other prepared foods to go from their deli case. The little retail section at the entry also has a cute buy of handmade home goods like beautiful cutting boards and aprons.
210 W. San Francisco St., Plaza
This downtown diner-style spot is a must for grabbing an easy but impressive breakfast. The affordable, kid-friendly restaurant serves pancakes and French toast, but the real draw is of course the classic New Mexican fare they’ve been serving in Santa Fe for more than 40 years. Their breakfast burrito—a hearty combination of bacon and hash browns wrapped in a soft flour tortilla and topped with a poached egg, chiles, and melted cheese—is reason enough to get out of bed.
1115 Hickox St., The Railyard
Husband/wife pair Charlotte and Jesus Rivera run this cozy neighborhood spot, where they make everything by hand. Jesus grew up in El Salvador—which explains the papusas on the menu—but the menu is full of great New Mexican food, including their delicious, lightly battered chile relleno. Our favorite is the enchilada, which you can order Christmas-style (local slang for something topped with both red and green chile sauce).
709 Don Cubero Alley, Plaza
Vinaigrette is farm-to-table in the most direct sense: owner Erin Wade grows most of the produce served here on her own land. The menu is filled with light salads and vegetable-centric dishes, a welcome relief in a town where everything seems to come under a blanket of melted cheese. That said, her homemade pies are dangerously delicious.
121 Don Gaspar Ave., Plaza
The first thing you'll notice about Pasqual's is the interior, defined by turquoise paint and New Mexican bits and bobs. The menu here is long, with a healthy mix of salads and classic New Mexican dishes, plus a few fan favorites like the famous quinoa burger. They're open three meals a day, but locals will tell you that breakfast is the best. If there's a line, ask for a seat at the community table in the center.
Coyote Cafe Cantina
132 W. Water St., Plaza
Coyote Cafe is good for a more traditional, dressed-up meal downtown with a white tablecloth, steak, an elk tenderloin, or lobster tails. But it's more fun to go upstairs to their rooftop cantina, which has the food from the same kitchen (and the same famous margaritas) in a less fussy ambience—including live music and sunset views. Remember to call ahead and double-check hours, as it's only open in the warmer months.
724 Canyon Rd., Canyon Road
Nestled into a quiet section of Canyon Road, with a sophisticated dining room that's subtly Southwestern without being over the top (including a fireplace in the corner), Geronimo is our pick for celebrating a special occasion. The formal plating of the meals suits the dining room, with traditional dishes like elk tenderloin and ahi tuna on offer. They also have a lounge with great cocktails and a smaller menu for something a bit more casual.
333 W. Cordova Rd., Southwest
This sweet little French bakery and café right outside downtown has a breakfast menu that's blessedly pared down to a few egg dishes, crêpes, and waffles. If you don't have time to sit down for a full meal, there's a case in the front with excellent croissants and other baked goods; it's the perfect place to stop for snacks and coffee if you're on your way out of town for a day trip or hike.
228 E. Palace Ave., Plaza
When Chef John Rivera Sedlar of the acclaimed (but since closed) Latin American restaurants Playa and Rivera in LA returned to his hometown of Santa Fe a few years ago, it was a warm homecoming: His latest venture, Eloisa, is a successful homage to his Northern New Mexico roots. Named after Sedlar’s grandmother, who was Georgia O’Keeffe’s personal chef for 15 years, the menu is full of traditional favorites including Frito pie, rellenos, calabacitas, and carne adovada. The space in the Drury Plaza Hotel is bright with gray and white touches of exposed brick, hardwood floors, and marble. Definitely consider ordering a drink—local bartender Dede Roybal’s cocktail program is on par with Sedlar’s culinary excellence.