Where to get the best taste of the SW in Santa Fe?
My boyfriend and I will be taking a romantic getaway trip. We hope to stop at the Sand Dunes Park (CO), Santa Fe, Taos, and take a loop back through Grand Junction. We'll be leaving from Denver.
He's planning the camping sites and hotels. My responsibility is the food. I'd like to hit local good spots for breakfasts and lunch in these areas, and perhaps have one or two excellent fine dining experiences. I've read good reviews about Santa Fe. Any thoughts?
I'll gladly appreciate any suggestions you can give me!
I always recommend Cafe Pascuals downtown Santa Fe for a unique breakfast with quality ingredients...http://www.pascuals.com Usually a wait, but well worth it. Some locals think other places are better, I disagree. It has festive atmosphere and it is expensive for breakfast , you get what you pay for, prime downtown location and quality ingredients.
You might want to check out this very popular website - http://www.nmgastronome.com/
If one the way to Taos, take the alternative high road and visit Penasco and have lunch at Sugar Nymph's Bistro, a great place with incredibly good food in the middle of nowhere.
As for a fine dining experience, nothing really compares to Geronimo on Canyon Road in Santa Fe. You really should do a search on the top of this page and type in Santa Fe....as there are so many reviews and recommendations. the subject of Santa Fe restaurants gets repeated over and over , so best to search for the reviews. Have fun!
I second Cafe Pascuals and will add two of my favorites, one SW influenced to a degree, and the other SW through and through:
O'Keefe's at the small Georgia O'Keefe museum spot (not pure SW, but influenced)
Coyote Café. I realize that some on this board are not Mark Miller fans, but I happen to be one and have had wonderful meals on every visit.
Pasqual's is definitely good. It's relatively pricey but their recipes are unique. We had a really nice breakfast recently at Tia Sophia's, just off the Plaza. It's much less expensive than Pasqual's and popular with locals. The menu says they "are not responsible for too hot chiles." Sopapillas with every meal. Great sopapillas are also to be had at the Plaza Cafe, (as the name would suggest) right on the Plaza. Very diverse diner menu. I've always liked the food but it's sometimes said to be too pricey and touristy for the coffee shop atmosphere (no doubt the rent is higher on the Plaza).
Great Mexican (not "New Mexican") food at the Guadalajara Grill, out Cerrillos Road amidst the chain motels and strip malls. Wonderful guacomole made tableside. Also, a unique Santa Fe dive experience is the green chile cheeseburger at Bobcat Bite off the beaten track out Old Las Vegas Hwy. Lots of places have green chile cheeseburgers but this may be the best.
Everything in this town seems to be exceptional.
Our experiences in Santa Fe are limited but here goes: Guadalupe Cafe - outstanding breakfast with good, very hot chile. For lunch, the best salad ever (Southwest Chicken).. inexpensive and includes awesome homemade bread.
Tomasitas: went on a recommendation and had a combo that included posole... everything was outstanding and inexpensive.
Santa Fe Baking Co: wonderful coffee and very good breakfast burritos.
Coyote Bite: Excellent and BIG green chile burgers.
Hope this helps. None of the above are upscale.
re: Doug in Mesa
I believe Doug in Mesa means "Bobcat" Bite for green chile cheeseburgers. cwujd1 mentions it above, too. It is excellent - out on old Las Vegas Highway, just East of another pretty good bet for you and popular on the board here: Harry's Roadhouse. I second the Guadalupe Cafe, across the street from the Capitol Rotunda ... great breakfast/lunches. Ginormous breakfast burritos.
A couple other options are The Shed family. The Shed is on Palace, just NE of the Plaza ... good red chile, great atmosphere. If you go for lunch get there early to avoid the wait. La Choza, north of intersection of Cerrillos and St. Francis, is the Shed's sister restaurant - much easier in/out and more local. Not as quaint, though. Just down the street is the Tecolote Cafe and it has good breakfast/lunch grub.
re: Doug in Mesa
"Everything in this town seems to be exceptional."
Nice town (I live here), but, trust me, plenty of mediocre to bad food around.... Sigh.
On the good side, nobody's mentioned Tecolote Cafe for breakfast yet, so I will. Good to excellent Mexican and American breakfasts (love the bakery bowl!), cheerful service, reasonable prices. Long lines on the weekends, for good reason. On Cerillos, at Baca.
As stated above, there are lots of recs here on chowhound.
For breakfasts, we like the Taos Diner in Taos and the Pantry Restaurant in Santa Fe. Of all the good dinner spots in both towns; we happen to enjoy Harry's Road House in Sants Fe and Rancho de Chimayo in Chimayo - a small town between Taos and Santa Fe.
If you plan to do some camping out, be sure boyfriend looks at Sugarite Canyon State Park outside Raton, NM. And in Santa Fe, one of the best hotel values is the El Rey Inn on Cerrillos Road, right next door to the Pantry Restaurant.
My favorite was Guadalupe Cafe. I also liked La Choza (sister to Shed). I do not recommend Tomasitas which is big, busy, family-oriented and food not as good. I also liked Rancho di Chimayo which is near to the famous church.