New Mexico Restaurants
1281 San Felipe Ave., Santa Fe
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.
121 Don Gaspar Ave., Santa Fe
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.
333 W. Cordova Rd., Santa Fe
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.
Coyote Cafe Cantina
132 W. Water St., Santa Fe
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.
El Meze (Closed)
1017 Paseo Del Pueblo Norte, Taos
At this 165-year-old restored hacienda in Taos—which boasts amazing views of the mountains at sunset—influence of the centuries-long Moorish occupation of Spain takes center stage. Embracing the culture’s impact on northern New Mexico cuisine, the menu is a mixture of Old World Spain, New Mexican, and Mediterranean foods. The result: uniquely American, rustic comfort food, prepared with organic, locally grown produce sourced from Taos’s small farms. Note: El Meze is open for dinner only, and reservations are recommended.
228 E. Palace Ave., Santa Fe
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.
724 Canyon Rd., Santa Fe
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.
551 W. Cordova Rd., Santa Fe
Chef Paulraj Karuppasamy and his wife Nellie Tischler had been serving Indian food at private parties and pop-ups for a year when popular demand convinced them to open a brick-and-mortar of their own. Though the only Indian restaurant in town, Paper Dosa's cuisine certainly holds up against what you'd find in bigger cities. We hear the regulars order white truffle masala dosa and the chicken curry. They only take reservations for parties of six or more, so come early if you're with a small group.
Radish & Rye
548 Agua Fria St., Santa Fe
Head straight to the bar at this aptly named New American restaurant, where the cocktail program (curated by mixologist/sommelier Quinn Mark Stephenson) offers more than 50 varieties of bourbon. If that wasn't reason enough for a visit, chef David Gaspar de Alba’s menu of fresh, seasonal fare, inspired by finds from the local farmers market, is an equally powerful draw. Be prepared for some tough decision-making—their small plate offerings include corn chowder with bone marrow and green chili, smoked black ribs, and steak tartare with alabria chili, lime oil, and quail yoke.
State Capital Kitchen
500 Sandoval St., Santa Fe
A relatively recent addition to Santa Fe’s revitalized Railyard District, State Capital Kitchen offers a refreshingly unpretentious fine-dining experience. Peruse their classic menu, or see for yourself as the wait staff continually rolls around its seasonal, elevated New American fare on dim-sum carts—it's great fun for those who like variety. Exposed brick and reclaimed wood add to the restaurant’s warm, rustic vibe, which is echoed by its commitment to using ingredients sourced from sustainable fisheries, small farms, ranches, and the local wild. Expect good wine and a unique cocktail program—they get creative with their beer-and-wine-only license.
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