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Oct 5, 2006 03:48 AM

Nice Christmas Dinner in Santa Fe with Toddlers??

I have read chowhound feedback about Santa Fe restaurants for weeks now, and thanks to everyone who has posted. I think I have a good handle on the places to try..... from The Compound to The Shed (with a little Bobcat Burger visit for lunch and Telesque Market, et al for breakfast). My question is this, we are going to be in Santa Fe over Christmas, with our two small boys..... ages 1 and 4. We need a good place for Christmas dinner, and without my kids I would be booking at The Compound right now. But with kids where would you recommend I go, that is open on Christmas, delicious, festive feeling, and would be ok with kids as part of the dinner party?

I have a compulsive need to organize and reserve in advance, so that we don't just drift around on Christmas Day, with "no room at the inn" for a family with kids at every good/festive/fun restaurant. Any feedback will be gratefully received and thoughtfully considered!

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  1. While I might not prefer a table adjacent to a family on a Holiday (just kidding), don't worry too much. There will be children out with parents and grandparents everywhere. Depending on your assessment of what the kids can handle in terms of time/need-for-distraction, SantaCafe on the high-end or Pranzo for Italian would all work. Even the Compound.

    The hotel dining rooms in Santa Fe are among the best restaurants everday. That said, Holidays DO stress every restaurant. Many offer less selections or do price-fixed meals so they can better accomodate everyone. Seriously consider all options.

    Many years in the past when I was a visitor, we would go to La Casa Sena because I loved the old-Santa Fe "feel" to the place plus the food and wine was good. Snow flurries getting to the restaurant at 5 p.m. was a bonus. They do a set menu of four or five courses - took some time - but there were alway families enjoying, kids fretting and I never saw anything that would keep me/us (a happy-to-be-childless couple) from returning another year. That said, now I'm just as glad to light a fire and cook at home and drink my own wines.

    Whatever you decide, do NOT miss (trust me here) the Farolita Walk up Canyon Road Christmas Eve. Every building decorated and outlined in Farolitas (candles in brown craft paper bags). Luminarias (small bon-fires) curbside to fend off the chill. Carolers up and down the street. Provided it is not raining or very icy from a previous storm, it will be a defining memory of Santa Fe. Note it gets VERY crowded. You will park blocks away and walk some just to get to Canyon Road.

    Hope this helps.